UConn vs. Purdue Odds, Picks and Predictions: Will We See Back-To-Back Champions or a First Title Victory?

Credit: Joe Rondone-Arizona Republic
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  • Can UConn go back-to-back?
  • Or will Purdue win its first national title?
  • Can Donovan Clingan limit Zach Edey?

College basketball immortality is on the line on Monday night when UConn and Purdue meet for the national championship in a highly-anticipated matchup. According to the best sportsbooks, UConn is currently the favorite in the March Madness odds to claim victory.

UConn is looking to become the first program to win back-to-back national championships since Florida accomplished that rare feat back in 2006 and 2007. Before then, it hadn’t happened since Duke in 1991 and 1992.

The Huskies were dominant during their run to the national championship last year. This year’s NCAA tournament has been a similar showcase for Dan Hurley’s team. After dispatching Alabama 86-72 in the Final Four on Saturday night, UConn has now won 11 consecutive NCAA tournament games by a double-digit margin.

For Purdue, deep tournament runs have been rare despite the program’s consistency under coach Matt Painter. In fact, Purdue was shockingly bounced in the first-round last year as a No. 1 seed. Now the Boilermakers have the chance to follow the blueprint set by Virginia in 2019 when it won the national title a year after being eliminated by a No. 16 seed. It would be the program’s first national title.

It’s the matchup everybody wanted to see. And it’s finally here.

UConn vs. Purdue odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Purdue +6.5 (-105) +240 O 144.5 (-115)
UConn -6.5 (-115) -300 U 144.5 (-105)

Odds provide by FanDuel – accurate as of April 8

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UConn vs. Purdue picks and predictions

Two of the top big men in college basketball will square off in this matchup as Purdue’s Zach Edey takes on UConn’s Donovan Clingan, both of whom are favorites in the March Madness MVP odds. Edey, the two-time national player of the year, stands 7-foot-4 and 300 pounds so he very rarely faces another player who can match up with him physically. Clingan, a 7-foot-2, 280-pound sophomore, could present some issues for Edey.

Clingan, a future first-round pick, is one of the best interior defenders in the sport, and Purdue relies heavily on Edey to produce consistent offense. He leads the nation in scoring with 24.9 points per game and put up 40 on Tennessee to send the Boilermakers into the Final Four last weekend.

But Edey is going to need help from his supporting cast if Purdue is going to pull the upset. Purdue is most dangerous when opposing teams collapse toward Edey in the post and leave shooters wide open on the perimeter. If Clingan can avoid foul trouble and defend Edey one-on-one, it takes Purdue out of its comfort zone pretty considerably.

UConn’s guards can also get after Braden Smith, Purdue’s sophomore point guard. Smith struggled in the Final Four victory over NC State as the Wolfpack’s guards were pestering him all the way up the court. That approach hindered Purdue’s ability to get into its halfcourt offense and generate clean post touches for Edey. With Stephon Castle and Tristen Newton on the UConn side, this just doesn’t feel like a good matchup for Smith.

Purdue’s role players like Lance Jones, Fletcher Loyer and Mason Gillis need to have big games for the Boilermakers to have a chance. Purdue also needs to lock in defensively, but UConn just has too many weapons. Also, the best college betting sites have odds available for some UConn vs Purdue player props, which will only make this game more exciting for bettors!

I can’t go against the Huskies.

Prediction: UConn ML -300 at FanDuel

Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

UConn vs. Purdue spread analysis

UConn has been covering the spread at a ridiculous rate. During the last two NCAA tournaments, UConn is a perfect 11-0 against the number. In this year’s tournament run, the Huskies have covered spreads of 27.5, 13.5, 12, 8.5 and 10.5 points. For the season, UConn is now an incredible 27-12 ATS.

In Monday night’s showdown with Purdue, UConn is favored by 6.5 points at most major sportsbooks with some shops moving the number up to seven. This is pretty uncommon territory for Purdue, a program that has been an underdog in only two games this season. The Boilers were two-point dogs back in December against Arizona and then 2.5-point underdogs at Illinois on March 5. Purdue won both games outright.

In this matchup, Purdue has the best player on the floor with Zach Edey. But UConn’s all-around excellence will be the difference. Clingan will be able to make things difficult for Edey, and that’s when Purdue’s supporting cast will need to step up. That’s easier said than done.

Simply put, UConn has too many scoring threats for Purdue to contend with as Newton, Clingan, Castle, Cam Spencer and Alex Karaban can all go off for huge performances. The Huskies are super-efficient offensively and just a flat-out confident bunch. They never get rattled, even if their opponent goes on a quick run. Over the course of 40 minutes, UConn just wears on you, and that’ll be the case in the national championship.

Prediction: UConn -6.5 (-110 at FanDuel)

Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

UConn vs. Purdue Over/Under analysis

Purdue and UConn can both put up big numbers on the scoreboard, but they actually both play at a pretty slow pace and are comfortable operating their offense in the halfcourt.

UConn ranks No. 328 in KenPom’s adjusted tempo metric while Purdue sits at No. 211. Even though they have the ability to get out and run off misses, they prefer to hunt for the best shot in most scenarios. That can cause some late shot-clock situations — especially if Purdue has to manipulate the defense to get the most favorable entry passes for Edey.

Clingan is a tough matchup, but it’s hard to envision Edey not having some success. But UConn can live with Edey’s twos if it can avoid getting crushed by Purdue’s 3-point shooting. The Boilermakers shoot 40.6 percent from deep as a team, the second-best mark in the nation. After making only three from deep against Tennessee, Purdue went 10-of-25 vs. NC State with Lance Jones, Fletcher Loyer and Mason Gillis hitting a combined nine triples.

UConn is a much tougher matchup for those players. The Huskies have the length and athleticism to consistently contest Purdue’s jump-shooters. At the same time, Purdue is a very sound defensive team in its own right and owns the best rebound rate in the country (UConn is fourth).

UConn attacks the offensive glass and excels at getting second-chance points. But with Edey swallowing up the missed shots, the Huskies’ scoring could be a bit depressed compared to the usual games.

I think this game could end up being low scoring, so I like the Under quite a bit.

Prediction: Under 144.5 (-105 at FanDuel)

Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

UConn vs. Purdue players to watch

  • Tristen Newton over 5.5 assists (-130 at BetMGM)
  • Mason Gillis over 3.5 rebounds (+100 at BetMGM)

After transferring to UConn from East Carolina, Newton has emerged as one of the top guards in the country. While Edey and Clingan duke it out down low, Newton will have a bunch of opportunities to make plays in the halfcourt. He’s a great decision-maker who can find Clingan on lobs or find the open man on the perimeter. He’ll be in a position to facilitate the offense in this one.

Mason Gillis is a very important player for Purdue. He can guard multiple positions and has become a prolific 3-point shooter. He comes off the bench but should be in for a heavy workload in this one as he tries to match up with Alex Karaban on the other side. If Gillis is playing at the 4-spot, he’ll have a lot of opportunities to corral some rebounds.

UConn vs. Purdue game info

Location Stadium Date Time Watch
Glendale, Arizona State Farm Stadium Monday, April 8, 2024 9:20 p.m. ET TBS

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