Purdue Boilermakers vs Tennessee Volunteers Pick

March 28, 7:29 PM EDT

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
Tennessee -1.5

The NCAA tournament's South regional offers up what should be a great game to watch and bet when Tennessee takes on Purdue Thursday evening in Louisville (6:29 pm ET, TBS). This game is lined as just about a pick 'em on the college basketball betting odds and should play close. Who do we like for our free NCAA tournament pick?

The Line

NCAA tournament betting odds opened this game as a pick 'em, with an over/under of 147. Early betting action then moved Tennessee to -1 and dipped the total to 146.

Boilers-Vols Betting Preview

No. 3 seed Purdue (25-9 SU, 19-14 ATS) won a share of the Big Ten's regular-season title this year, going 16-4 in conference play. The Boilers then got upset by Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament, but sometimes, for whatever reasons, a loss like that can be a good thing. Purdue then opened this NCAA tournament with a 61-48 victory over Old Dominion, covering as a 12-point favorite, then bombed Villanova last Saturday 87-61, easily covering at -4.

The Boilers bolted out to a 43-24 halftime lead on the Wildcats Saturday, then scored the first 16 points out of the locker room to take total control. On the day Purdue shot 54 percent from the floor while holding Villanova to just 35 percent shooting.

The Boilers are now 16-3 SU, 12-6-1 ATS over their last 19 games.

No. 2 seed Tennessee (31-5 SU, 17-17 ATS) finished tied for second in the SEC this season, going 15-3 in conference play. The Vols then beat Mississippi State and Kentucky to reach the SEC tournament championship game but suffered a letdown and lost to Auburn by 20 points. The Vols then opened this tournament with a 77-70 victory over Colgate, then outlasted Iowa 83-77 in overtime Sunday.

However, Tennessee blew a 14-point second-half lead against the Raiders and came up 10 points short of covering a 17-point spread. Then Sunday the Vols blew a 25-point lead against the Hawkeyes and failed to include at -8.

Tennessee is now 7-2 SU but only 4-5 ATS over its last nine games.

NCAA Betting Trends

  • Purdue is 10-7 SU, 8-9 ATS this season against teams that made this NCAA tournament.
  • The Volunteers are 11-5 SU, 8-8 ATS against teams that made this NCAA tournament.
  • The Big Ten is 9-4 both SU and ATS so far this NCAA tournament, excluding Michigan State's victory over Minnesota last weekend.
  • The SEC is 9-3 SU but just 4-8 ATS in this NCAA tournament.

Boilers-Vols Recent History

These programs met most recently early last season, a 78-75 Tennessee victory in overtime in a game played in the Bahamas. Several key people are still with both teams, so we're giving that outcome some consideration when handicapping Thursday's game.

Last season's meeting was tied at 63-63 through regulation, so that game was going to play way under its total of 150. The teams then combined to score 27 points in OT, sending that game over the total.

Totals Report

The overs are 18-16 in Purdue games this season, which are averaging 142 total points.

The overs are 21-14 in Tennessee games this season, which are averaging 151 points.

The unders are 24-23-1 through the first two rounds of this NCAA tournament.

Purdue vs Tennessee Prediction 03/28/2019

The Boilers made almost everything they threw up against Villanova; we do not expect them to shoot like that against the Vols, who are holding foes to 41 percent shooting on the season. Also, while Tennessee blew big leads both games last weekend, it's good enough to build big leads in the first place.

Free Pick: 
We like the Volunteers -1.5