2017 March Madness Midwest Predictions - Vermont Catamounts vs Purdue Boilermakers

Purdue Boilermakers  players gathered around

Monday, March 13, 2017 1:37 PM GMT

No. 4 Purdue squares off against No. 13 Vermont on Thursday in the Midwest Region opener. The Catamounts sport the nation's longest winning streak into March Madness but will have to stand tall to take down the Big Ten's best regular-season team.

   

Vermont vs Purdue

MidWest Region, 1st Round 
Thursday, March 16 - 7:27 pm E.T

 

Bracket busters begin to reveal themselves in the 4-13 pairing, though favorites tend to take care of business on the court and in the betting market. Since 2001, 4-seeds are 50-14 SU and 32-31-1 ATS. In the 1990s, chalk performed well, going 22-10 ATS. Expect Purdue to open around an 8 or 9-point favorite against Vermont with a total in the mid 130s.

The Boilermakers owned the Big Ten’s best record at 14-4, entering the conference tournament favorites to win it all at +175 odds. Its appearance was short-lived, falling in the quarterfinals to Michigan 74-70 in overtime. Purdue rolls out one of the best players in the nation in Caleb Swanigan. The 6-foot-9 sophomore was named AP Big Ten player of the year after averaging 18.5 points and 12.6 rebounds per game.

Vermont owns a nation-best 21-game winning streak entering the Big Dance. How they perform against a top-tier program is the big question here. Representing the American East conference, sportsbooks rarely offer wagering for its contests. The Catamounts, in fact, are 4-5 ATS this season, though covered two of three as underdogs against Butler and Houston. They lost 81-69 as 16.5-point pups versus the Bulldogs, yet made up an 11-point halftime deficit against the Cougars in a 72-71 defeat at a neutral site in Florida in November. Vermont tipped off a 6-point underdog for the latter.

Since John Becker took over as head coach of the Catamounts in 2011, they are 0-7 SU and 2-5 ATS against ranked opponents. Purdue ranked No. 13 in the AP poll prior to the Big Ten tournament. These two met up in November 2015 with the Boilermakers romping 107-79 in West Lafayette. The Big Ten, in fact, is 31-4 in the last 35 meetings with American East opponents, winning by 16.9 points per game. Expect another double-digit romp in this one courtesy of Purdue.

 

Free NCAAB Pick: Purdue -8.5

Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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