Purdue and Ohio State both appear headed for the NCAA tournament, but nothing's been written yet. How do we handicap Sunday's Big Ten battle between the Boilers and Buckeyes in Columbus?
Boilers-Buckeyes Betting Odds
Most of the NCAA basketball odds market opened Ohio State at -9 for this game, with a total of 135. In the early betting the spread was holding steady, while the total dropped to 134.
Those who believe Purdue might win this game outright could get +380 on the moneyline at 5Dimes.
Boilers-Buckeyes: A Big Ten Brawl
Purdue has won four games in a row and eight of its last nine, after outscoring Rutgers Thursday night 92-85. The Boilers, favored by 13 points, led by 20 with about 12 minutes to go, but took their foot off the gas, and let the cover slip away.
Purdue shot 55 percent from the field Thursday night, while holding the Knights to 42 percent shooting.
The Boilers had covered eight spreads in a row, prior to Thursday, including a 67-63 victory at Indiana two Thursdays ago as four-point underdogs.
At 19-9 overall, 11-4 in conference play Purdue sits in third place in the Big Ten, just a half-game behind second-place Maryland, and appears headed back to the Big Dance, after a two-year absence. However, because of a weak non-conference schedule the Boilers haven't assured themselves of anything quite yet.
Ohio State had lost two in a row, but Thursday beat hapless Nebraska 81-57, covering at -13. The Buckeyes led by 18 at the half Thursday, and never let the 'Huskers get closer than 12 from there, pulling away big late.
OSU shot 54 percent from the floor, and hit 11 of 19 shots from beyond the arc, albeit against a very sorry Nebraska outfit.
Prior to that the Buckeyes lost at Michigan, and just prior to that they lost at Michigan State. But at 20-8 overall and 9-6 in the Big Ten Ohio State looks like it will extend its NCAA tournament streak to seven in a row.
The Recent Rivalry
Ohio State had won six in a row in this series, going 4-2 ATS, but Purdue took the first meeting between these teams this season one month ago in West Lafayette 60-58, winning that game SU as a one-point home dog. The Boilers only shot 42 percent from the floor that night, but hit 19 of 27 free-throws and held the Buckeyes to 42 percent shooting.
That game played way UNDER its total of 137.
Last season Ohio State swept three games from Purdue, covering twice. Also, two of those three games stayed UNDER the totals.
Boilers-Buckeyes, By the Numbers
Purdue is shooting 46 percent from the floor this season, while holding opponents to 40 percent shooting.
Ohio State is shooting just under 50 percent from the floor, which ranks fifth-best in the nation, and is holding foes to 39.5 percent FG shooting.
Boilers-Buckeyes Betting Trends
Purdue is leaning toward the UNDERS this season by a 14-9 margin, even though Boilers games are averaging a rather normal 136 points.
Ohio State is 13-12 on the totals, as Buckeyes games have averaged 139 points.
Boilers-Buckeyes Free Pick
Purdue has made some nice progress since stumbling through December, while Ohio State seems to be treading water. Also, the Boilers just beat the Buckeyes a month ago, and this spread seems inflated toward the home team, by at least a bucket or so. So we'll make Purdue our free college basketball pick for this game.
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Purdue +9 at 5Dimes