The Purdue Boilermakers are quite obviously a primary contender for the national championship, as their #1 national ranking from the Associated Press indicates. And they are in the driver’s seat in the Big 10 at the moment. But could they encounter a rather pesky opponent in the Penn State Nittany Lions? That’s what BetOnline customers have to evaluate as these teams get together on Wednesday night at 6:30 PM Eastern time in West Lafayette.
Purdue comes into this game with a record of 21–1, with its only loss coming at the hands of a solid Rutgers team, and only by one point. Early in the season, they posted consecutive big wins over Marquette, West Virginia, Gonzaga, and Duke. And most recently, they completed a sweep of Michigan State.
What they bring to the table may be different for this day and age – a dominant big man. Zach Edey is 7–4, and he is an imposing figure on the glass. In fact, he might be the best player in the country right now; He’ll be one of the top players taken in the NBA Draft. That’s an absolute certainty.
In the NCAA basketball odds established at BetOnline, Purdue is listed as a considerable favorite at home:
Purdue Boilermakers -9.5 (-115)
Penn State Nittany Lions +9.5 (-105)
Over 134 points -130
Under 134 points +110
Edey just burned Michigan State for 38 points and 13 rebounds, with eight of those caroms coming on the offensive boards. That was the thrust behind a 77–61 victory on Sunday. For the season, Edey is averaging 22.1 points and 13 rebounds, shooting 61% from the field.
So Purdue does not have to throw a lot of triples up there for coach Matt Painter. They are extremely deliberate and very efficient on offense, ranking fourth in the nation in that category. And as you can imagine, they are ferocious on the offensive glass, pulling down 38.1% of missed shots.
But here’s what’s interesting; Penn State just might have a few qualities that could make things uncomfortable for the top-ranked Boilermakers.
For one thing, they take care of the ball better than anyone in the country, turning it over on only 13.1% of their offensive possessions. They are also one of the better three-point shooting teams in the nation, hitting 38.5% of their attempts. So they can make up a deficit in a hurry and are always candidates for the back door.
They also don’t leave a lot of points on the table, hitting 76.9% of their free throws. So it’s no surprise that they are the most experienced team in the country, with their roster averaging four years of experience.
They scored some upsets, beating Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana, and routed Michigan 83–61 In their last game, putting it away right after halftime. Seth Lundy had 22 points, and Jalen Pickett added 25, as the Nittany Lions rebounded from a 20-point blowout at the hands of Rutgers previous to that. They may be able to challenge Purdue a bit on the boards, at least on their defensive end. But you must note that this is a small lineup, and they will not get a whole lot of second chances. Having said that, the odds at top basketball betting sites will fluctuate as the game proceeds.
They met previously in Philadelphia. Penn State led 37-31 at the half but faded, giving up 30 points to Edey and losing by 13. They only got to the line three times, and that figure will have to improve.
Still, this kind of team could catch Purdue napping a little. So we will take the points with Penn State on the road.
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