Virginia vs. Purdue Betting Guide: Elite Eight Clash Will Be Decided at Perimeter

Virginia vs. Purdue Betting Guide: Elite Eight Clash Will Be Decided at Perimeter article feature image
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USA Today Sports. Pictured: Virginia guard De’Andre Hunter, Purdue guard Carsen Edwards

#1 Virginia vs. #3 Purdue: NCAA Tournament Betting Odds

  • Spread: Virginia -4.5
  • Over/Under: 126
  • Date: Saturday, March 30
  • Time: 8:49 p.m. ET
  • TV: TBS
  • Location: Louisville, Ky.

>> All odds as of Friday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.


Both Virginia and Purdue survived the Sweet 16 in very different fashions. The Boilermakers were red-hot shooting but gave up a huge second half lead, only to win in overtime, while the Hoos scraped out a tight win over a scrappy, defensive-minded Oregon team.

Neither team has reached the Final Four in more than 35 years. Who can get it done on Saturday?

Market Report for Virginia-Purdue

With money and tickets almost dead even, this line has bounced between -4 and -4.5, but never past that.

Almost all the total money is coming in on the over, but it’s stayed at 126. Stay tuned to our game page and The Action Network app for updated odds and betting market data. — Steve Petrella

Trends to Know

Virginia scored 53 points in its win over Oregon. It was tied for the Cavaliers’ lowest-scoring game this season.

Some bettors may be hesitant to back the Hoos after they struggled to score, but since 2005, teams that scored fewer than 60 points in their previous game have gone 170-115-8 (60%) ATS in the NCAA Tournament, including 8-2 ATS in the Elite Eight or later. — John Ewing

Virginia Must Match Purdue’s 3-Point Shooting

The Boilermakers’ perimeter attack was the story in their Sweet 16 win over Tennessee, shooting 15-of-31 (48.4%) from behind the arc. But don’t forget about the Cavaliers’ potent 3-point arsenal, which has the 89th-highest perimeter scoring rate in the country.

Look for UVA to control the glass (51st-highest defensive rebounding rate) and control the pace to prevent its sluggish offense from being sped up. Virginia plays at the slowest pace in college basketball, and it will grind down Purdue.

The 6-foot-2 guard Kyle Guy — UVA’s second-leading scorer (14.9 points per game) — is the biggest X-factor in this game. He’s combined to shoot 3-of-26 (11.5%) from behind the arc in the NCAA Tournament. But I’m expecting Boilermakers ballhawk Nojel Eastern to matchup with the 6-foot-5 Ty Jerome, giving Guy some space to operate off ball screens and deliver a bounce-back performance.

There could be concern over whether the Cavaliers’ five-man rotation vs. Oregon will catch up to them in the Elite Eight, especially with a jump-shot driven team, but they’ll likely lean more on D’Andre Hunter and Mamadi Diakite around the rim.

Photo credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Virginia guard Kyle Guy

Purdue couldn’t match Tennessee’s physicality once the Vols finally attacked the paint in the second half, too. Its small-ball lineup should deal with the same issues in this one. — Eli Hershkovich

UVA Has Perimeter Defense

Purdue lives and dies by the 3. The Boilermakers were on fire against Tennessee, but Virginia only allows opponents to shoot 28.2% from 3P, second-best in the country.

Equally as important, the Boilermakers need to score inside the arc. While Purdue lacks a true back-to-the-basket player, it had success penetrating and scoring at the basket against the Vols. Carsen Edwards scored 29 points and overcame a poor 3P shooting night (5 of 14) with an incredible array of athletics finishes at the rim.

The 7-foot-3 Matt Haarms is playing his best basketball of the season and has five consecutive games with double-digit scoring. He is a force on defense, too, averaging two blocks per game while shooting an uber-efficient 63.5% from the field.

The Boilermakers will certainly need to shoot better from the free throw line, as their 16-of-33 (48.5%) performance almost cost them the Tennessee game. — Mike Randle

This Number is Dead-On

All I can say is that I think this number’s pretty dead-on. It might seem really fun and easy to anoint Purdue as a worthy contender now, and of course you should always have a certain amount of healthy skepticism about Virginia in the tournament, but really what has happened here?

Nuccio DiNuzzo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Purdue Boilermakers guard Carsen Edwards (3).

Purdue beat Old Dominion, worth basically nothing, beat a Villanova team that was INSANELY overrated given its metrics (we were on Purdue there of course), and then beat a good Tennessee team in overtime (on Purdue there too).

The Boilers’ 3-point volatility and ability to get white-hot for portions of the game may lead me to take a little bit of their moneyline rather than try to hold on with +4, but barring that type of effort, I have Virginia as about this much better on a neutral court, and nothing really significant has changed with either team to make me change that opinion. Pass. — Ken Barkley

Stuckey: Why I’m Taking the Under

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. For a third straight time, I’ll be going back to the well with a Virginia under.

We know the Virginia defense will be there; it has held its three opponents to 56, 51 and 49 points so far this tournament. The Hoos certainly have one of the three best defenses in the country and arguably the best.

We also know the tempo will be there; Virginia ranks dead last nationally out of 353 Division I teams in Adjusted Tempo.

What we don’t know is if the Virginia offense will be there. Kyle Guy is such a key cog of that offense and his shot has just been off. The junior is a shocking 3-of-26 from deep in this tourney. The UVA offense in general has looked a little off and Guy’s shooting woes are certainly a major part of those struggles.

If Guy gets it going, I think UVA covers, but the side doesn’t present enough value for me to bet on that happening. I’ll go under here in a game that I think Virginia’s elite perimeter defense shines.

I expect a ton of forced 3s from Ryan Cline and Carsen Edwards. That duo shoots the second-most 3s of any in the nation and is certainly capable of getting hot enough from the outside to win any game. But this isn’t Tennessee’s vulnerable perimeter defense. This is one of the best 3P defenses in the country.

Stuckey’s Pick: Under 126

Our Projected Odds: Virginia vs. Purdue

These ratings were built by Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, a former oddsmaker and FantasyPros’ most accurate in-season fantasy football ranker from 2015-2017.

  • Spread: Virginia -4
  • Over/Under: 131
  • Score: Virginia 67.5 | Purdue 63.5
  • Win Probability: Virginia 64% | Purdue 36%

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game is from the individual writer and are based on his research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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