NCAAB

NCAA Tournament Betting: Tennessee vs. Purdue Picks, Prop Bets and Odds

Gabriel Santiago
Gabriel Santiago@gps_onthemic
NCAA Tournament Betting: Tennessee vs. Purdue Picks, Prop Bets and Odds

Very few things on the sports calendar can match the excitement and unpredictability of the NCAA Tournament. So why not add betting to the mix via the college basketball odds at FanDuel Sportsbook?

The 2024 edition of the big dance is ramping up the intensity, and here at FanDuel Research, we'll have you covered with a betting guide for each game.

In the Elite Eight, only the Midwest Region is left with its No. 1 and 2 seeds vying for a shot. Since this round also serves as the regional championship, it is the last test before heading to the Final Four in Arizona.

Playing at Detroit's Little Caesars Arena, No. 1 Purdue and No. 2 Tennessee have outlasted all others. Each institution did well to win at the Sweet 16 on Friday evening, covering their respective spreads in the process. With the Midwest's top seeds now pitted against one another, who has the edge?

All signs point to a scrappy contest in Motor City. On Saturday afternoon, FanDuel Sportsbook has the Boilermakers labeled as 3.5-point favorites for Sunday's romp with the Volunteers.

All college basketball odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook, and lines may change after this article is published.

NCAA Tournament Betting Picks

Tennessee vs. Purdue Betting Odds

Date and Time: Sunday, March 31st at 2:20 p.m. ET

Spread: Purdue -3.5 (-105)

Total: 147.5 (-110/-110)

Moneyline:

  • Tennessee: +134
  • Purdue: -162

Tennessee vs. Purdue Statistical Breakdown

Advanced stats from KenPom, Bart Torvik and numberFire.

Tennessee

  • numberFire Ranking: 6th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 7th
  • KenPom Ranking: 8th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 3rd
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 30th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 78th

Purdue

  • numberFire Ranking: 2nd
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 3rd
  • KenPom Ranking: 3rd
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 15th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 3rd
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 173rd

Tennessee vs. Purdue Best Bet

Purdue Moneyline (-162)

Purdue -- as Big Ten regular-season champs in back-to-back years -- is coming off its most momentous victory of the current season. In the Sweet 16, head coach Matt Painter's Boilermakers showcased a dominant second-half effort versus Gonzaga, winning the rebounding war (32-25) and overall game (80-68).

Undoubtedly, the Vols have been one of the most resilient teams at the big dance. Tennessee has defeated myriad respected college-basketball brands at the NCAA tournament, such as St. Peter's, Texas and (most recently) Creighton. The competition has been close in the latter two contests, but UT head coach Rick Barnes has seemingly pushed all the right buttons to this point. Can this group from Knoxville continue that against a freight train in Purdue?

The Boilermakers have been a juggernaut in 2024 behind rampant rebounding (40.6 RPG) and sharp outside shooting. Certainly, that former category is aided by the presence of reigning-Naismith Player of the Year, Zach Edey. Largely, Edey has been the top player in men's college hoops for a second consecutive campaign; he is currently averaging 24.6 PPG with 12.1 boards. In the Sweet 16, the 7-foot-4 center had 27 and 14 to eliminate the Zags.

Considering Purdue is knocking down three-pointers at a scorching 41% clip as a team, it is tough to see them losing to anyone not named UConn (who are laying 8.5 points versus No. 3 Illinois). The Vols are great on defense, allowing just 67.0 PPG, but I'm just not sure they have enough to slow down this locomotive from West Lafayette, IN.

As a recent measuring stick, Tennessee and Purdue did meet once in 2023-24. Just before last Thanksgiving, the Boilermakers beat the Volunteers (71-67) in the Maui Invitational semifinals. The game was tight wire-to-wire, the Purdue proceeded to close on a 10-6 scoring run to remain undefeated. With that, I see a similar result looming in Detroit.

According to numberFire's college basketball game projections, the Boilermakers are predicted to win by a score of 74.61-72.13. That is obviously a narrow margin, and falls under Purdue's set spread of -3.5 (short priced at -105 odds right now). Their model also supports my notion of playing it safely here, giving the Big Ten champs a 59.7% at victory on Sunday.

Purdue is viewed more favorably on about every expert list, and they have the men's game's most dominant player. For me, the choice is simply Boilermakers ML.

Tennessee vs. Purdue Prop Bet

Dalton Knecht Over 19.5 Points (-114)

I like Purdue to win, but I absolutely do not expect the Vols to go quietly into the Motown night.

As the SEC Player of the Year in his only season in the conference, senior transfer Dalton Knecht is a certified baller. Standing at 6-foot-6, Knecht has great size for a guard, especially at this level. Through the 2023-24 campaign, his size and skills have allowed him to lead Tennessee with 21.1 PPG.

Knecht -- a native of Colorado -- is originally a JUCO product (Northeastern JC), which seems to have resulted in a strong on-court mentality. Additionally, he has answered the big dance's call, outputting 22.33 PPG in three games at the NCAA tournament. More precisely, Knecht has crossed into the 20-point threshold in two of three contests at the tourney. With -114 odds to do so again on Sunday, I like Knecht's chances.

Behind a field-goal percentage of 45.8% this season, I believe Knecht can be trusted in the Elite Eight. From there, Knecht is also dangerous from long distance, showcasing a 39.2% three-point clip. Should he get hot from behind the arc, Knecht will find himself going for dub or more. Still, I'm not sure that alone will be enough to take down the steaming Boilermakers.


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.