Purdue vs. Rutgers: Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions (12/9/21)

Purdue vs. Rutgers Betting Odds

The whole Big Ten should be shaking in their boots. Purdue is looking like a special team, having already recorded four KenPom top-30 wins.

Unfortunately for the Scarlet Knights, Rutgers should be scared for Thursday’s matchup. Steve Pikiell’s squad has lost four of their last five games, including a 35-point blowout loss to Illinois last Friday.

As a result, Rutgers has dropped to 99th in KenPom’s rankings, good for second-worst in the conference. This Scarlet Knight team will play the clear favorite to win the Big Ten and likely the best team in the nation.

Predictably, Rutgers is catching double digits at home. Do the Scarlet Knights have it in them to cover the number? Or does this have blowout written on it?

Purdue Boilermakers Odds

As I’ve written on this site since the college basketball season started, Matt Painter has built the perfect all-around basketball team.

The inside-out offensive combination that the Purdue roster can accomplish is almost impossible to stop. The Jaden Ivey/Eric Hunter and Zach Edey/Trevion Williams combination, combined with spot-up shooters Sasha Stefanovic, Brandon Newman, and Caleb Furst, has led to Purdue leading the nation in effective field goal percentage (62.2%).

But combine that with a few more advanced stats, and the full picture of how Purdue is first in offensive efficiency comes together.

Purdue is second nationally in 3-point shooting (44%), seventh in 2-point shooting (59.5%), and 16th in free-throw rate (41.5% FTA/FGA). The Boilermakers get blocked at the fourth-lowest rate in the nation (4%) and record assists at the 19th highest rate (61.5% A/GFM).

Plus, Purdue’s posted the ninth-highest offensive rebounding rate (39.2%) and the 29th highest defensive rebounding rate (22.2%).

Purdue has no shortage of offensive weapons and shot makers, but the team plays with such great cohesion and poise, that it becomes impossible to stop them from scoring.

Defensively, it’s a mixed bag. The perimeter defense can be shaky, as Purdue rarely forces turnovers (326th in defensive turnover rate, 15.3%) and allows the 38th highest 3-point attempt rate (44.9% 3PA/FGA allowed).

Ivey has turned out to be a weak point defensively. He ranks in just the 23rd percentile in half-court points per possession allowed, and he heads a perimeter defense that’s 334th in points per possession allowed to pick-and-roll ball-handlers.

Luckily, Trevion Williams and Zach Edey are such elite rim-protectors and interior defenders, that they often compensate for gaps on the outside. Purdue ranks fourth in percentage of shots at the rim allowed (22.7%) and cracks the top-100 in field goal percentage allowed on those attempts (54.9%).

Plus, Purdue can out-score anybody.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights Odds

Things are as bad as they can be in Piscataway right now.

Losing buy games to Lafayette and Massachusetts in concert with gross losses to DePaul and Illinois paints a poor picture.

But even worse, Rutgers hasn’t been good in its other games. The Scarlet Knights failed to cover in three of their four wins, with all three of those non-covers coming against sub-250 KenPom teams.

When Rutgers is playing well, the defense is elite and Ron Harper Jr. is the top-scoring option. Neither of those things is happening.

Harper is leading the team in usage, but he’s shooting less than 40% from the field. His 14.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game look good, but Harper should have a better ORtg than 102.3. Plus, he’s turning the ball over twice a game.

As a result, Rutgers doesn’t even crack the top-150 in offensive efficiency. The team is 231st in 3-point shooting (27.7%), 299th in 2-point shooting (44.4%), and 280th in free-throw shooting (66.2%). Watching Rutgers basketball is akin to clawing your eyes out.

The defense has been lackluster at best. Rutgers has size on the perimeter, but those guys aren’t forcing many turnovers (242nd in defensive turnover rate, 17.9%) or preventing 3-point shots (60th in 3-point rate allowed at 43.8% 3PA/FGA, 241st in 3-point defense at 34.7%).

And believe it or not, the Scarlet Knights are 355th in spot-up points per possession allowed (1.123). That mark is only better than Winthrop, Nevada, and North Dakota.

Prediction and Pick

My pick: Purdue -12 or better

There isn’t a lot of value in Purdue as a heavy road favorite, but I’m not getting in front of the Boilermaker train.

Purdue is now 6-2 against the spread this season and they’ve been considerable favorites in every single game. Good teams win, great teams cover, and this Purdue team is legitimately great.

Meanwhile, Rutgers is broken. The team is a perfect 0-5 against the spread, and it has no legitimate basketball chance of keeping up in this game.

Rutgers swept this series last season, but Purdue gets convincing revenge on Thursday night.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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