Each week, TheLines looks ahead at what’s on tap in the sports and sports betting worlds. With the calendar having flipped to March, college basketball is in the spotlight and there are plenty of big matchups in the final week of the regular season – including Tuesday’s Big Ten battle between Illinois and Michigan.
No. 4 Illinois vs No. 2 Michigan: Tuesday
Time is running out on the Big Ten regular season with the conference’s tournament starting March 10. But prior to that, two of the stacked conference’s top teams will be duking it out in Ann Arbor. Illinois finishes its season against Michigan and Ohio State – a brutal few days for any team. That said, the Illini have won nine of their last 10 games – including big wins over No. 23 Wisconsin (twice) and No. 9 Iowa. Michigan has still suffered just one loss on the season, dating back to Jan 16. The scary part is, the Wolverines are just beginning to play their best basketball. Michigan is +145 to win the conference title at DraftKings Sportsbook while Illinois is +700.
Arnold Palmer Invitational: Thursday – Sunday
Outside of the four World Golf Championships, the Arnold Palmer Invitational has the largest non-major purse on the PGA Tour at $9.3 million. The tournament, which takes place in Orlando, begins Thursday with a star-studded group. Rory McIlroy (+950) is the favorite this weekend, followed by Viktor Hovland (+1200), Bryson DeChambeau (+1300) and Tyrrell Hatton (+1700). Notable players absent from the field include Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, and Justin Thomas.
UFC 259: Błachowicz vs Adesanya: Saturday
Israel Adesanya (-265) is the favorite in this studded UFC card against Jan Błachowicz (+205). It’s a battle for the light heavyweight title, but that’s not the only title fight on the card. Amanda Nunes (-1165) puts her featherweight belt on the line against Megan Anderson (+800) and Petr Yan (-145) faces Aljamain Sterling (+115) for the bantamweight title. Adesanya holds the middleweight belt and is moving up to light heavyweight to try and claim the title in both weight classes.
NBA All-Star Game: Sunday
There was no NFL Pro Bowl this past January, but the NBA is back on track with its familiar exhibition format. The NBA changed up the way its All-Star Game is played a few seasons ago to help make the lackluster affair more interesting. LeBron James and Kevin Durant are captains this year and will make their team selections on March 4 – though Durant will sit out the actual game out with an injury. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the league is also showcasing its 3-point contest and dunk contest on the same day as the game.