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Purdue vs. Rutgers Betting Odds & Picks: Can Scarlet Knights Overcome Injury Uncertainty?

Purdue vs. Rutgers Betting Odds & Picks: Can Scarlet Knights Overcome Injury Uncertainty? article feature image

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images. Pictured: Ron Harper Jr.

  • Purdue heads to Rutgers on Tuesday night for a Big Ten matchup between two teams seeking their third conference win.
  • Rutgers is currently favored, but the line has already been bet down due to injury uncertainty for the Scarlet Knights.
  • Mike Randle previews Tuesday's game and shares his betting pick below.

Purdue vs. Rutgers Odds

Purdue Odds +3.5 [BET NOW]
Rutgers Odds -3.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -110/-110 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 139.5 [BET NOW]
Time Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET
Odds as of Monday evening and via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app.

Purdue travels to Rutgers on Tuesday for each team’s fourth Big Ten game this season.

The Boilermakers have struggled in their two previous road games, blowing a 20-point lead at Miami and losing by 15 at Iowa. Meanwhile, Rutgers enters this game 6-1 with five home wins, including an impressive 91-88 victory over Illinois.

Which team will move to 3-1 in Big Ten play?

Purdue Boilermakers

Head coach Matt Painter enters his 16th year in West Lafayette without a dominant scorer.

In the past, the Boilermakers relied on dynamic players like Caleb Swanigan and Carsen Edwards to provide the majority of the scoring, while relying on role players and shooters to balance their lineup. This season, they are very much a “whole is greater than the sum of the parts” team.

The foundation piece is 6-foot-10, 265-pound big man Trevion Williams. The junior big man has scored in double-figures in five straight games, including a 30-point, 11-rebound performance against Indiana State.

Junior Sasha Stefanovic (11.3 PPG, 3.5 APG, 50.9% 3-point) is a lights-out shooter but is only averaging six points per game and 30% (3-of-10) from 3 in Purdue’s two true road games.

Freshman guard Brandon Newman (10.1 PPG, 44.2% 3-point) scored a game-high 17 points in the Boilermakers’ 73-70 home win over Maryland. Junior guard Eric Hunter (12.8 PPG, 3.5 APG) looks completely healthy from an early-season knee injury and has averaged 17 PPG in Purdue’s last two wins.

The early season production of 7-foot-4, 285-pound freshman Zach Edey has slowed, with six or fewer points in three of the past four games. With Rutgers’ up-tempo style (114th in adjusted tempo, per KenPom), Edey’s efficiency will again be limited.

Purdue always plays strong defense and again ranks inside the top 40 in defensive efficiency. But it struggles to find consistent offensive options on the road, and the huge blown lead to an undermanned Miami team looms large.

At home against Maryland, the Boilermakers generated 40 of their 73 points from Williams’ interior moves and 3-pointers (10-of-22). Their only path to success in this game is to play superior defense and get hot from deep, which will be tough against a similar defensive-minded Rutgers team.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

It is hard not to be impressed by Rutgers’ start to the 2020-2021 season.

Predicted to finish fifth in the Big Ten preseason poll, the Scarlet Knights enter this game ranked 11th in the country with wins at Maryland and at home over Illinois. They were also beating Ohio State, 59-51, on the road with eight minutes before center Myles Johnson fouled out.

Head coach Steve Pikiell’s group is a legitimate top-20 team.

Their offense starts with junior Ron Harper Jr. The 6-foot-6 guard is the seventh-leading scorer in the country at 23.4 points per game. He’s shooting a blistering 50% (25-of-50) from 3 while adding 7.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

Harper is joined by senior Jacob Young (15.9 ppg) and junior Montez Mathis (14.3 ppg). Young is a great facilitator (5.6 ppg) and superior defender (2.4 steals), but took a rough fall in the loss to Ohio State and needed to be helped to the locker room.

Oh my goodness. Jacob Young lands hard after attempting a dunk.

— Brian Fonseca (@briannnnf) December 23, 2020

However, Young did practice on Monday and is expected to play.

The key to this game is 6-foot-11, 255-pound center Myles Johnson. With freshman Cliff Omoruyi out indefinitely with a knee injury, Johnson will need to stay out of foul trouble.

Rutgers was outscored, 29-9, by Ohio State after Johnson fouled out. Omoruyi has not practiced since the injury and has been ruled out for this game.

Rutgers should get a boost with the return of 6-foot-7 freshman Mawot Mag, who missed the team’s first three conference games after injuring his ankle in practice. Mag will provide much-needed depth with three rebounds per game in just 11 minutes.

Senior guard Geo Baker is getting back into form after a high ankle sprain and has averaged over 30 minutes per game in the three games since his return. He was the first Scarlet Knight to be named preseason All-Big Ten since they joined the conference in 2014.

Rutgers’ calling card is defense, and few teams can match the Scarlet Knights’ efficiency under Pikiell. Over the past four seasons, Rutgers has ranked 28th, 46th, sixth, and 15th this year on the defensive side of the ball.

The Knights excel at defending 3-pointers, holding opponents to just 30.5% from beyond the arc. That is especially important against a Purdue team that generates 36.8% of their points from 3, 45th-most in the country.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

This line opened at Rutgers -4 but has been bet down to 3.5 due to the injury uncertainty.

The absence of Omoruyi hurts Rutgers’ depth, but the return of Mag, Pikiell’s defense and its success at the RAC should be enough to overcome Purdue.

I expect another poor road shooting performance from Purdue, with the Scarlet Knights’ defense limiting Williams inside. I’m backing Rutgers and laying the 3.5 points at home in what projects to be a comfortable home win.

Pick: Rutgers -3.5 (down to -4).

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