Wisconsin Badgers vs. Purdue Boilermakers Predictions
When: Monday, January 3, 7 p.m.
Where: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Ind.
Point Spread: WIS +12.5/PUR -12.5
Moneyline: WIS +550/PUR -800
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Last Time Out:
Wisconsin defeated Illinois State 89-85; Purdue handled Nicholls State 104-90.
About the Matchup:
It’s a sign of major respect for Purdue that the Boilers are giving this many points with a top 25 team coming to Mackey Arena, as Purdue’s No. 3 ranking has impressed both fans and oddsmakers alike. Of course, there’s also the fact that historically, Purdue has done very well at Mackey against Wisconsin, having won five straight over the Badgers in West Lafayette and claimed four of them by double digits.
These double-digit spreads aren’t exactly winning Purdue bettors’ money, though, as the Boilers have just one cover in their past six games because of how high the numbers usually are at tipoff. Usually, getting Wisconsin and double digits in your favor would be a simple bet to jump all over, but the Badgers do not have the kind of offense that they usually bring to the table this season. The favorite has also covered in six of the past eight meetings between these teams, making it tough to go against the grain here.
Scouting the Badgers:
There’s basically one constant for points on the Wisconsin roster: Jonathan Davis. You can usually count on the Badgers not to beat themselves with mistakes, but Wisconsin isn’t always consistent at putting up points. Davis does it, though, averaging 20.8 points per game for a team that barely cracks 70 as a group.
But there’s a real issue here: there’s not much behind him as far as putting the ball in the hoop. Brad Davison can do it fairly well, but he’s the only other Badger who averages double digits, meaning this team isn’t exactly going to be rescued if Davis has a bad night. It’s not a coincidence that one of the
Badgers’ two losses was one of the two games they played without Davis, a 63-58 loss to Providence in which Davison went for 25, but the rest of the team scored a combined 33 points. This team isn’t exactly great at maximizing possessions, which is far from a hallmark of Wisconsin basketball.
Scouting the Boilermakers:
Purdue might be starting to develop a little bit of Iowa disease: the Boilers are so good on offense that they’re not exactly taking care of things on defense. Purdue is putting up 87.2 points per game, but the Boilers also allowed 90 points to Nicholls State in a game that saw the Boilers giving 29 points. They’ve also got a pair of headscratchers on their resume: losing on the road to Rutgers on a desperation shot and needing overtime to beat a middling N.C. State squad.
What makes the Boilers tough to bet either on or against is that the offense can do so much on any given night, but you’re never going to know whether the defense will provide the effort to match (which happened against Butler) or give a lackadaisical performance that allows a team to backdoor them (which happened against Nicholls and Iowa). The one thing you can count on with Purdue is rebounding, as the Boilers rank second in the nation in keeping opponents off the boards.
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Wisconsin will Cover If: The Badgers can force the Boilers to play a defensive struggle. Purdue isn’t a complete hit the gas team like Iowa or Gonzaga, but the Boilers do still like to play reasonably quick. Wisconsin doesn’t want to get into that kind of game, even if it did score 89 points on Illinois State. The Badgers need to slow this down.
Purdue will Cover If: The Boilers can overwhelm Wisconsin’s defense and force the Badgers to play their game. Stop Davis or slow him down, and you pretty much take away Wisconsin’s ability to play with you. Purdue has to do that in this situation to run away with this one.
Dan’s Best Prop Bets
Only in the game, Purdue lost to Rutgers have the Boilers failed to crack 76.5 points, which is right where they’re sitting for their team total in this one. Wisconsin is playing too many high-scoring games this year, which tells me they can’t stop Purdue from hitting the number.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
I don’t know what I’m going to get with the Boilers, and this is a lot of points to give, especially with Purdue 1-5 ATS in its past six. But Wisconsin has dropped three straight ATS and has not played well in Mackey in most of their recent visits to West Lafayette. That tells me that even with Purdue not playing its best, that’s the side I want. I’ll take the Boilers. Question: Have you seen the live wagering platform at Bovada Sportsbook? It’s awesome! All on one page, accepts good sized bets and isn’t clunky like most other bookies websites! Check it out!
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