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Josiah-Jordan James of Tennessee as we look at the Volunteer State sports betting financials for January 2024.
Josiah-Jordan James and Jonas Aidoo of the Tennessee Volunteers celebrate a 3-point basket at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee. Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images via AFP.

With a trip to the Maui Invitational title game on the line, here is our best Tennessee vs. Purdue prediction based on the best college basketball odds.

It's not an exaggeration to suggest that Tuesday's Maui Invitational semifinal schedule is better than most Final Four pairings. No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Purdue, No. 4 Marquette, and No. 7 Tennessee are all competing for a Maui Invitational title after wins in the opening round of this event on Monday.

In the first game of this doozy of a doubleheader, Tennessee and Purdue are set to face off. The Volunteers and Boilermakers have experienced some early exits in the NCAA Tournament in recent years, so winning what is arguably the best midseason tournament ever could change the narrative around these programs.

But which team has the best chance of doing just that?

To complement our college basketball player props and best bets, here is our best Tennessee vs. Purdue prediction for Tuesday's Maui Invitational matchup, and don't miss our Marquette vs. Kansas prediction (odds via our best March Madness betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Tennessee vs. Purdue prediction

SGP: Josiah-Jordan James Over 10.5 points and five-plus rebounds (+106 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Contrary to popular belief, someone has to score in this game. Because the market (rightfully) believes this will be a defensive battle, most player props are a touch lower than usual. For example, Zach Edey, the reigning National Player of the Year, has a scoring prop of 19.5 after trading in the low 20s ahead of Monday's opening-round matchup.

The key to handicapping this matchup is identifying which player will have a better offensive day than expected. That's Tennessee senior Josiah-Jordan James, who is averaging 12.3 points and 8 rebounds per game so far this season.

James' points prop was hovering at 11.5 first thing Tuesday morning, with the Over being priced at plus-money. But we can now get this at 10.5 by paying -130 vig for the Over. His rebounds prop is trading at 6.5 at our best sports betting apps, with a plus-money price on the latest Over.

I made this a same-game parlay because James will be a key player in a potential Tennessee upset. I anticipate either Trey Kaufman-Reed or Mason Gillis to guard James for most of Tuesday's matchup. James should have the advantage in both matchups, as both players rank outside the top six in Evan Miya's DBPR (Defensive Bayesian Performance Rating) on Purdue's roster.

James, who could be an NBA Draft pick next summer, should thrive in this matchup against a Purdue defense due to have some shooting regression. James can hit a mid-range or 3-point jumper while getting to the rim off a screen or cut.

He's coming off a 15-point, 12-rebound performance against Syracuse in this same arena on Monday. We expect another strong showing from James in this marquee matchup on Tuesday.

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Tennessee vs. Purdue best odds

DraftKings (+106)

DraftKingsDraftKings SGPCaesarsbet365
Over 10.5 pointsOver 10.5 points and five-plus reboundsOver 10.5 pointsOver 10.5 points
-130+106-137-125

If you prefer to play this as a straight bet, bet365 offers the best price on Over 10.5 points for James. But allow me to make the case for a same-game parlay, offered at +106 odds on DraftKings.

For one, I'm projecting north of 12 points and six rebounds for James in this semifinal showdown. That might not seem like much wiggle room, but he figures to be a big part in deciding the outcome of this game against Purdue's drop coverage.

James has recorded at least six rebounds in all four games this season, clearing this points prop in three of the four contests. He's priced between -300 and -350 to grab at least five rebounds in the alternate markets across our best sports betting sites, so this is a bet on him scoring at least 11 points.

There is a benefit to playing more same-game parlays in an attempt to keep an account from being limited — at least when it makes sense. I do think this is one of those situations.

Tennessee vs. Purdue odds

Tennessee vs. Purdue odds analysis

The spread hasn't moved, staying within a possession at most of our best sportsbooks.

KenPom projects a 71-67 victory for Purdue, suggesting we are in store for a tightly contested defensive battle.

As for the total, this mark has mostly hovered between 133.5 and 134.5 since the lines were first released.

Tennessee vs. Purdue game info

  • When: Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. ET
  • Where: Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu, HI
  • How to watch: ESPN

Tennessee-Purdue prediction made 11/21/2023 at 11:45 a.m. ET.

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