Get to Know the Rust Belt as Purdue Meets Cal State Fullerton in East

Rainman M.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 4:35 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2018 4:35 PM UTC

No. 10 Purdue, the second seed, plays 15-seed CS Fullerton in an East Region first-rounder Friday at 12:40 p.m. ET in Detroit. Purdue is a huge favorite. Should bettors expect an easy blowout?

Purdue (28-6 SU, 16-17-1 ATS) vs. Cal State Fullerton (20-11 SU, 19-9 ATS)Free NCAAB Pick: CSUF 1H +12.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Dating to last season, Purdue has consistently struggled in the first half of games in which they are coming off at least four days rest and facing a weak opponent that they do not take seriously. This season, they lagged behind Rutgers at the end of the first half after having four days off. In the other applying scenario, after a week of rest, they failed to cover the first half on Dec. 30 against Lipscomb, leading by only five points at the break. Last season, they failed to cover their last three games when this scenario applied. Overall, Purdue is on a 0-5 1H ATS run with four-plus days of rest against a team ranked outside KenPom's top 50.

Due to the boneheaded scheduling scheme of Big Ten authorities, Purdue hasn't played since March 4. As a result of all the rest, the Boilermakers will come out rusty against CSUF. Playing such a lowly team -- ranked 153rd by KenPom and a 21.5-point underdog on the college basketball odds board -- won't help Purdue get excited for this contest. They are more likely to be looking ahead to its next matchup against either an SEC or Big East opponent. For instance, even though they had five days of rest before playing Butler on Dec. 16, they covered the first half. Odds are calculated using metrics pertinent to both teams -- offensive efficiency, three-point percentage, etc. -- but not according to each team's circumstances. So rest and motivation are two decisive factors that combine to make the underdog a valuable play.

CSUF can make Purdue uncomfortable on offense. Purdue loves to shoot the three and has the Big Ten's second-highest proportion of threes attempted. Conversely, CSUF focuses on guarding the perimeter, allowing the 76th-lowest proportion of threes attempted. Purdue will focus on scoring inside, from where it derives the nation's 286th-lowest point distribution. The math is simple: the Titans would rather trade twos than threes with the Boilers. The Titans can also be competitive on the glass in order to limit Purdue's scoring opportunities. Big man Jackson Rowe leads the team, ranked 200th in defensive rebounding percentage.

The Titans excel at scoring inside, where Purdue allows the 42nd-highest point distribution. Rowe leads the team, ranked 73rd in two-point percentage. He is third with 12.2. points per game and leads the team with 6.8 rebounds per game. Overall, Fullerton ranks 81st in two-point percentage. The Titans' main scoring threat is shooting guard Kyle Allman, who ranks 88th in three-point percentage. Allman is his team's leader in big games or games against bigger programs, leading the Titans with 26 points in the Big West final against UC Irvine and with 30-plus points against both Georgia and California.

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The Boilermakers' defense is inconsistent and can be spotty against weaker offenses, recently giving up more than 70 in two games against Rutgers and 86 against Illinois. CSUF will hang tough with rusty Purdue for a half. Boiler bettors should wait until halftime to bet on Purdue to get a better number for your NCAAB picks.

Check out SBR’s college basketball odds page for updated lines. Also, head over to the March Madness Betting Headquarters for vital handicapping information, picks, and a list of the best sports books and live betting options for the tournament season.

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