Loyola Chicago’s NCAA Tournament Upset Over Illinois Good Result for Sportsbooks
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois Fighting Illini
One of the biggest liabilities in the NCAA Tournament is headed home early after the Illinois Fighting Illini became the first No. 1 seed to fall following their 71-58 upset loss to Loyola Chicago.
It was all Ramblers from the start, as they led from beginning to end Illinois en route to hitting at +255 on the money line as 7-point underdogs. Head coach Porter Moser’s scheme limited Illini All-American Ayo Dosunmu to nine points, plus it held the Illini to a season-low 58 points.
Overall, sportsbooks are happy with the result, as Illinois winning the national title was one of the most popular bets prior to the start of the tournament.
At BetMGM, the Illini were the most-bet team to win it all, while other books had them in their top five.
In addition to the futures market, Illinois was the most popular play of the day at BetMGM, taking 73% of bets and 75% of the money in the early matchup. No team had a higher bet percentage or handle than the Illini.
It wasn’t just the spread that proved profitable for books. More than 90 percent of bets were on over 133 points at DraftKings, with the total finishing at 129 points.
It’s important to note none of the action on the Illini was actually coming from the state of Illinois. It’s illegal to bet on Illinois games there, which has a great impact on the number of bets that would’ve come in on Illinois if it were legal. Instead, Illini fans in Illinois had to drive to Indiana or Iowa to place a legal wager on their favorite team.
Illinois was one of the national-title favorites all season, and was second behind Gonzaga on the odds board entering Sunday’s tournament play.