College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Purdue vs. Penn State (January 8)
Quinn Harris/Getty Images. Pictured: Myles Dread (2) and Seth Lundy (1).
- After shockingly losing to Wisconsin at home as a 12.5-point favorite, Purdue travels to Happy Valley to take on Penn State.
- The Boilermakers have not lost to the Nittany Lions since 2014 and enter as -9.5 favorites.
- Keg breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.
Purdue vs. Penn State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Penn State Odds|
-110o / -110u
Penn State has not beaten Purdue since 2014, but it will look to change that on Saturday as it welcomes Matt Painter’s squad to Happy Valley.
And there’s reason to believe the Nittany Lions have more than a puncher’s chance. It may be just 7-5 on the season, but State finds itself on a two-game win streak with both victories coming against Big Ten opponents.
The Nittany Lions are also led by first-year head coach Micah Shrewsberry, who is more than familiar with Matt Painter and the Boilermakers, as he spent the last three years as an assistant at Purdue.
Penn State did face some challenges recently, being forced to take an unforeseen three-week break due to COVID-19 issues, but its impressive wins out of the stretch have erased any doubts had about this team.
Will Shrewsberry find a way to pick a win in his first meeting against his former team?
Purdue is led by a talented trio in Jaden Ivey, Zach Edey and Trevion Williams, all of whom find themselves on the Wooden Award watch list.
Ivey leads the team with 16.5 points per game, while Williams has been a commanding force around the basket, averaging 8.8 rebounds per contest.
The 7-foot-4 Edey will be a problem in both areas for Penn State, as he averages 15 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
The Boilermakers actually are behind Penn State in the Big Ten standings even though they boast a 12-2 record on the season. They’re 1-2 in the conference with losses to Rutgers and Wisconsin.
But the standings are just the standings. Purdue is one of the best teams in the country overall.
The Boilermakers currently boast the No. 1 adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom while also boasting the third-best scoring offense in the country, averaging 85.9 points per game.
Defensively, the Boilermakers have been solid as well, allowing opposing teams to average just 66.6 points per game. They’re also limiting the opposition to a shooting percentage of just 40.6%.
Purdue is one of the best teams, not only in the Big Ten, but in the country, and coming off of a loss to Wisconsin, it will be even hungrier for a win against Penn State.
Shrewsberry has already made some impressive strides in his first year at Penn State. The most recent came during his team’s three-week COVID-19 pause.
Shrewsberry said he re-watched all 10 of the team’s games, then created an accountability sheet for every point an opponent scored. That seems to have paid dividends, as the Nittant Lions are 2-0 since coming off of the pause.
Penn State plays a slow but efficient game, something that is due in large part to its experience as a team. The Nittany Lions rank fifth in the country in experience, per KenPom.
While one of the slowest teams in the country — ranking 348th in adjusted tempo — it’s maintained a top 100 effective field goal percentage, posting a mark of 52.8% this season.
But there are some concerns when it comes to matching up against Purdue. The Nittany Lions have been solid at limiting opponent scoring, allowing just 65.6 points per game. But it’s been by purely defending shots, for the most part. Penn State ranks outside the top 300 on defense in blocks, steals, and forced turnovers.
Another cause for concern will be 3-point defense, as teams have averaged 34.2% from deep against the Nittany Lions. While the Boilermakers not only account for more points from deep than the average team, they’re one of the better teams in the country from outside the arc. Purdue averages 41.1% from deep, while 34.9% of its point production comes from 3-point range.
If Penn State can’t find an answer for defending the 3, it could be a big problem for the Nittany Lions.
Purdue vs. Penn State Betting Pick
The Nittany Lions have struggled In the past against Purdue and have been even worse against top-three teams.
Purdue has won 11 of the last 12 meetings, including both last season. Penn State is also 1-25 against teams ranked third or higher in the AP Top 25. Its only win came over No. 2 Michigan State in the 2001 Big Ten Tournament.
But this game takes place at home, and Shrewsberry has been big for a hot Nittany Lions squad. And while they may not win, eight points seems like too many.
I snagged Penn State at the opener of eight, but I would feel comfortable backing it as a home dog as low as six.