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Tristen Newton #2 of the Connecticut Huskies drives to the basket as we make our men's national championship expert picks
Tristen Newton #2 of the Connecticut Huskies drives to the basket against Darrion Trammell #12 of the San Diego State Aztecs in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at TD Garden on March 28, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images via AFP.

The Purdue Boilermakers and UConn Huskies will do battle Monday in one of the better NCAA Tournament matchups in recent memory, and we have our expert Purdue Boilermakers and UConn Huskies picks based on the best odds from our top March Madness betting sites

The 2024 NCAA Tournament culminates Monday with the March Madness final between the Purdue Boilermakers (34-4) and UConn Huskies (36-3), two No. 1 seeds who have been near the top of the March Madness odds all season long. Tipoff is scheduled for 9:20 p.m. ET (TBS) from State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., with the Huskies favored by 6.5 favorites across our best sports betting sites.

Purdue's Zach Edey, the country's best college basketball player, lines up against UConn's Donovan Clingan, who is currently the March Madness MVP odds favorite at most shops. Purdue is looking to secure its first national championship since 1932 and inaugural NCAA Tournament title, while Connecticut hopes to become the first back-to-back winner since the Florida Gators in 2006-07. 

With excitement mounting for this national championship matchup, our experts are analyzing the big game and utilizing the best March Madness odds from our best sports betting apps to make their picks.

Don’t miss our Purdue vs. UConn predictionPurdue vs. UConn player props, and Zach Edey player props.

Purdue vs. UConn expert picks

Picks made by C Jackson Cowart and Rob Paul; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale.

MatchupPaulCowart
Purdue vs. UConn moneyline pickUConn ML (-275 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐⭐UConn ML (-275 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐
Purdue vs. UConn spread picksUConn -6.5 (-110 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐Purdue +6.5 (-105 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐
Purdue vs. UConn Over/Under pickOver 145.5 (-110 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐Under 146 (-112 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐
Purdue prop pickZach Edey Under 37.5 points + rebounds (-111 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐Braden Smith Over 6.5 assists (+108 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
UConn prop pickTristen Newton Over 5.5 assists (-115 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐Donovan Clingan Under 13.5 points (+100 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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2024 Men’s championship game predictions

UConn 81, Purdue 73

For the first time in its last 11 NCAA Tournament games, UConn was challenged. The Alabama Crimson Tide pushed the Huskies defense with its 3-point heavy approach in the Final Four and had Dan Hurley screaming on the sidelines … and still, UConn won by 14 points. The Huskies are a juggernaut who seem capable of beating any team by double digits with an offense that’s first in adjusted efficiency, per KenPom, and a fourth-ranked defense.

While Edey is going to be the first back-to-back Wooden Award winner since Ralph Sampson in 1982-83, like Sampson, his 7-foot-4 frame won’t be enough to win him a men’s national championship. The Huskies have the perfect player to throw at Edey in Clingan and have too many offensive threats capable of stepping up against this Boilermakers' defense. 

From All-American Tristen Newton to Rutgers transfer Cam Spencer to freshman phenom Stephon Castle, UConn has a plethora of talent. As long as “Cling Kong” can slow Edey, UConn should be the first team to win two straight NCAA Tournaments since the Florida Gators in 2006-07.

-- Rob Paul SBR | Twitter/X

UConn 68, Purdue 65

Look, Connecticut is the best team in the country and has proven that over the first five rounds of this year’s NCAA Tournament. But the betting market has gotten a little out of hand in favor of the Huskies.

Purdue has looked more like a “1b” than a second-rate team compared to UConn, which nearly slipped up against an Alabama team with elite shot-makers. Now it’ll face a Boilermakers lineup that ranks second nationally in 3-point shooting (40.6%) and assist rate (65.6%) and gets to the free-throw line with reckless abandon – which has been an issue for Connecticut’s defense.

This will clearly be the toughest matchup of the season for Edey, but I’m not convinced that Clingan can singlehandedly erase the 7-foot-4 matchup nightmare in Monday’s final. If he doesn’t, I don’t see UConn running away with this one as it has throughout March Madness, which should spell one heck of a championship game for the rest of us to behold.

-- C Jackson Cowart SBR | Twitter/X

Purdue vs. UConn odds

Best 2024 men’s national championship player props

Zach Edey Under 37.5 points + rebounds (-111 via FanDuel)

It may seem borderline deranged to bet against Edey at this point, but UConn is uniquely built to handle his 7-foot-4, 300-pound frame. Clingan is 7-foot-2, 280 pounds and the best defender in college basketball according to EvanMiya’s DBPR ratings. The sophomore center is averaging 2.5 blocks per game this season and has seen that average jump up to 3.2 between the Big East Tournament and NCAA Tournament. That’s not to say he’s going to rack up blocks against Edey, but to show he’s a formidable challenger to the Purdue big man around the rim.

With Edey coming off his lowest output of March Madness - 32 combined points and rebounds against NC State - Clingan and Co. should be able to continue limiting him. Behind Clingan’s team-leading 7.4 rebounds per game, UConn is 36th in the country in rebounds (38.9) and allows the seventh fewest to opponents (30.2). 

This is also a defense that holds opponents to just 63.5 points per game (10th best in the country) and not only will Edey be challenged by this defense, he’ll have to try and slow down Clingan on the other end. That could tire out Edey more than he’s used to, especially with Clingan putting up 16.2 points per game in the NCAA Tournament.

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-- Paul

Donovan Clingan Under 13.5 points (+100 via bet365)

I’ve been singing Clingan’s praises all tournament long, especially on the defensive end. He’s been a bit more inconsistent offensively, though, and he faces a tall task (literally) against Edey and Co. in this year’s championship game.

This might be a different story if Clingan has the range to draw Edey out of the paint, but he’s made just two of seven 3-point attempts all season and does nearly all of his damage in the restricted area. That’s a tough way to make a living against Edey, who is quite literally an immovable object down low where Clingan likes to operate.

Even against normal-sized humans, Clingan is averaging just 13.1 points on the season and has fallen short of this mark in 19 of his 34 games this season. I’m expecting the 7-foot-2 sophomore to make an impact on Monday – just not on the offensive end.

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March Madness betting odds pages

Here are our best March Madness betting sites:

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