The 5-12 matchup has been the cause of many problems for March Madness betting players, and this year is no exception as three of the four 5-12 clashes could pose issues for those who bet sports. In the South region, No.12 Western Kentucky will try to recreate last year’s magic from their Sweet 16 run when they take on No.5 Illinois as an online betting underdog.
Illinois vs Western Kentucky odds – Thursday, March 19, 9:55 PM ET
The Hilltoppers have won seven in a row, including the Sun Belt tournament, and while none of their national stats stand out, Western Kentucky is a well-balanced team. Junior guard A.J. Slaughter leads an attack that has four players averaging at least 11 points a game, and he could be ready to break out in this Tournament, much like ex-Hilltopper Courtney Lee did last year.
The Illini are third in the nation in points allowed, and they have to be, as they are one of the worst offensive teams in the country. Demetri McCamey, Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale are a talented group of sophomores that lead the team in scoring, but they struggled badly down the stretch, which is why the Illini lost three of their last four games. Illinois also needs to hit the boards harder, as they were 179th in rebounding margin.
March Madness odds as the Illini as a 4.5-point favorite in your sportsbook, and they’ve had success against the Hilltoppers in the Tournament before as they beat Western Kentucky 65-60 in the first round of the 2003 NCAAs. This should be a low-scoring game, but Illinois’ lack of a go-to guy is going to bite them at some point. Western Kentucky has already beaten Louisville this year, so you know they have the confidence to believe they can make it to the second round. Make Western Kentucky your pick for a March Madness betting upset on Thursday.
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