Drexel vs Illinois March Madness Odds, Picks and Predictions March 19

Updated: March 14, 2021

Clock Icon Mar 14, 2021 – 10:54 PM ET

Even leading into conference tournament week, people were questioning whether the Illinois Fighting Illini were deserving of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But after an impressive run to the Big Ten Tournament title, not many are doubting the Illini now.  

The No. 1 seed Illini begin their march to the Final Four in the Midwest Region as 22.5-point favorites against the No. 16 seed Drexel Dragons.

Check out our best Drexel vs. Illinois March Madness picks and predictions for college basketball betting action on Friday, March 19. 

Drexel vs Illinois odds

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Illinois opened this matchup as hefty 22.5-chalk, with a total of 144.5. Check back later for a full report from Patrick!

Check out the full line movement for this game

Drexel Dragons vs Illinois Fighting Illini betting preview 


Drexel: No injuries to report.
Illinois: No injuries to report.

Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

Illinois has covered in six of its last seven games overall. Find more NCAA betting trends for Drexel vs. Illinois.

Against the spread (ATS) pick

Illinois enters March Madness having won seven consecutive games, and 14 of their last 15 overall, going 11-4 ATS in the process. That includes defeating Rutgers, Iowa, and Ohio State on the way to their first Big Ten Tournament title since 2005. (Those are a 10 and two No. 2 seeds). Illinois is also just one of three teams in the country that ranks in the Top 10 in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency per KenPom.

On offense, the Illini are led by arguably the best guard-center duo in the country in Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn. Dosunmu averaged 20.9 points per game this season, which includes shooting 40 percent from deep while adding 6.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists. Cockburn meanwhile, 17.3 points while grabbing 9.6 boards. That combo is hard for the best teams in the nation to stop, let alone Drexel.

The Dragons entered the CAA Tournament losers of five of their last nine games, but got hot at the right time, rattling off three straight wins to capture the conference tournament title. Drexel was the CAA’s best shooting team behind guard Camren Wynter, who averaged 17.6 points per game. But they don’t play a lot of defense, ranking 247th in adjusted defensive efficiency and play at one of the slowest paces in the county. 

If you are looking for the next UMBC, look elsewhere. While the Dragons are a good shooting team, they aren’t great from 3-point range and do most of their damage on the inside. The Illini will get up early and the Dragons won’t have the tempo to keep up. Lay the points.

PREDICTION: Illinois -22.5 (-110)

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Over/Under Pick

The total for this matchup hit the board at 144.5, and right off the bat, I’m thinking Under. Mainly because if this one goes Over, the Illini will have to do most of the heavy lifting. While Dosunmu and Cockburn get all the headlines (and are certainly capable of putting numbers on the board) the Illinois defense gets a little overlooked.

As mentioned, they rank eight in adjusted defensive efficiency and have really stepped up the level of intensity. The Illini have allowed just 68 points per game over their last seven contests. Additionally, when Illinois is laying double-digit points this season, the Under is 5-3 overall and 4-1 in the last five games in that scenario. 

Drexel is going to have a tough time scoring in this matchup, and when you also consider their uber-slow pace, the Under looks like a good bet.

PREDICTION: Under 144.5 (-110)

Covers March Madness betting analysis

First Half Team Total Pick

Illinois was known for getting off to good starts this season. The Illini’s 38.2 first-half points per game were 17th best in the country, and they were really rolling in the Big Ten Tournament, upping that number to 44.3 points over that three-game run. Illinois looks like a focused team and won’t overlook Drexel. That will fuel a strong start against the Dragons, who ranked 220th in opponent field goal percentage this season. Take the Illini to go Over their first-half team total.

PREDICTION: Illinois Over 40.5 First Half Team Total (-120)

Drexel vs Illinois betting card

  • Illinois -22.5 (-110)
  • Under 144.5 (-110)
  • Illinois Over 40.5 First Half Team Total (-120)

March Madness parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s March Madness Drexel vs. Illinois picks, you could win $56.82 on a $10 bet?

Use our March Madness parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

Where can I bet on March Madness odds?

March Madness is one of the most popular times of the year for sports bettors, which of course makes it one of the busiest times of the year for online sportsbooks. Every betting site will offer March Madness odds but the top sites are safe and secure, offer a wide range of banking options, and give you a ton of markets for each game. Check out the best March Madness betting sites in your region.

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