College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Nebraska vs. Purdue (Friday, Jan. 14)
Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images. Pictured: Eduardo Andre (Nebraska)
- Purdue hosts Nebraska, which is looking for its first win in Big Ten play this season.
- Talented junior guard Trey McGowens is returning to the lineup for the Cornhuskers.
- Keg breaks down why the Huskers have some value in this conference affair.
Nebraska vs. Purdue Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Nebraska will once again hit the hardwood on Friday night as it continues to search for its first Big Ten win of the season. Unfortunately for the Cornhuskers, they will be making the trip to Mackey Arena to take on the seventh-ranked Purdue Boilermakers.
To make things even worse for Nebraska, Purdue is eager and ready to play after its game against Michigan on Tuesday night was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.
Matt Painter and his Boilermakers are the favorite to win the Big Ten this year, and have consistently been one of the best teams in the country since the season began.
In their last game, they posted an impressive win on the road against Penn State, a much-needed victory after suffering a 74-69 upset at home to Wisconsin. Against Penn State, the Boilermakers prevailed due in large part to their experience (17th in country, per KenPom).
Nebraska, meanwhile, is on a four-game losing streak and has not beat a single team ranked higher than 232nd, per KenPom.
But there is good news for the Cornhuskers. Trey McGowens was cleared to return to the team ahead of this game against Purdue. McGowens broke his foot against Creighton on November 16th. His return will be a welcome one, as the Huskers have gone 5-9 without him.
This will be the first (and only) meeting between Purdue and Nebraska this season, and the first time Nebraska plays at Purdue since the 18-19 season. Purdue currently holds a 11-4 lead in the series since Nebraska joined the Big Ten for the 2012-13 season.
Could the return of McGowens actually be enough to propel the Cornhuskers to their first top-10 victory since 2014?
The Cornhuskers are just 6-11 on the season. But when you take into account this game opened with a 20.5-point spread, we have to look at more than just wins and losses.
Purdue will be the fourth team out of Nebraska's last five matchups that ranks inside the top 25. Nebraska has lost those games by an average of just 14.5 points.
On offense, the Cornhuskers haven't been the worst, as they average 73.9 points per game. That ranks 88th nationally and eighth in the Big Ten. And while they have been less than ideal from deep (29.6%), the Huskers hit 2-point shots at the 87th-best rate in the country.
The offensive production has largely come from Bryce McGowens, who averages 15.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game for the Cornhuskers. And the return of his brother, Trey, from injury likely only improves the Huskers' attack.
On defense, the Huskers are allowing opponents to average 78.4 points per game. But there have been some bright spots that could pay dividends against Purdue.
Nebraska ranks 52nd nationally in turnover rate after ranking 205th in that category last year. It also leads the Big Ten in steals (7.9 per contest).
Creating turnovers would play a huge role in potentially limiting the offensive powerhouse that is the Boilermakers.
The Purdue offense is what most college basketball teams strive to be, as it currently ranks No. 1 overall, per KenPom, in both adjusted offensive efficiency and effective field goal percentage.
The Boilermakers are averaging the fourth-most points per game in the country (85.1), while also being a force around the basket by pulling down the 12th-most rebounds per game.
Purdue's offensive excellence has been led by Jaden Ivey, who currently leads the team with 16.1 points per game. He's been dependable from anywhere on the floor, posting a field goal percentage of 50% while hitting 48.3% from 3-point range.
But Purdue is far from a one-man show. Three other Boilermakers average double digits in points per game, while four have been able to provide five rebounds per game or better.
As a team, it is shooting 50.7% from the field, which ranks third in the country. The Boilermakers are making their 3s at the fourth-best rate (40.8%).
On defense, Purdue has been solid, limiting opponents to just 66.6 points per game. And more importantly, when discussing a 20-point spread, the Boilermakers post the seventh-best scoring margin at +18.5.
One factor that is likely to be a huge part of this game is Purdue's presence around the basket. Purdue is limiting teams to a college-best 27.9 rebounds per game. Nebraska, meanwhile, has been a bottom-five team in the country in rebounds allowed.
Nebraska vs. Purdue Betting Pick
Nebraska has shown some fight over this stretch of ranked opponents, and I think the return of Trey McGowens will improve the overall output of this team.
Pair that with the fact that 20.5 points is a daunting spread in conference game, and I think Nebraska can cover here.
It's also worth mentioning that Purdue has been a favorite of nine or more points in its last eight games. In those games, the Boilermakers are just 1-7 ATS.
Nebraska, meanwhile, has been an underdog of nine or more points in three of their last four games, all of which the Huskers have covered. That is why I'm taking Nebraska as a 20-point underdog or better.