Purdue vs. Rutgers Expert Pick and Prediction – January 28, 2024
PURDUE VS. RUTGERS EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – January 28, 2024 — Based off the past few years, there are two things that keep Purdue coach Matt Painter awake at night. The first are double-digit seeds in March, as Purdue’s problems against lesser teams are legendary at this point. The second is road games against Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell.
Since Pikiell arrived in Piscataway in 2016, not only has he built Rutgers from a punchline into a respectable Big Ten team, but he has simply tortured Painter and Purdue when the Boilermakers come to New Jersey. In four meetings between Painter and Pikiell in Piscataway, the Scarlet Knights have come out ahead three times, and the fourth was a 78-76 nail-biter.
In fact, Rutgers holds a shocking edge in this series, having won five of the past seven meetings. Purdue did knock Rutgers off the NCAA bubble last year in the Big Ten tournament, but even that was a struggle, as the Boilers won by just five points.
And from a Rutgers perspective, this isn’t the time for Purdue to come knocking in New Jersey, because the Scarlet Knights have been purely inconsistent in Big Ten play. In seven league games, Rutgers has alternated between covers and failing to cover, going 3-4 ATS. Astute observers might also note that Rutgers’ only two wins in the league have come at home, making this a golden opportunity.
On the other hand, Purdue’s defeat at Nebraska seems to have steeled the Boilermakers’ resolve. The Boilers have since ripped off four double-digit wins, including a 19-point rout at rival Indiana. When the Boilers get rolling, they’re scary good, and they’re rolling right now. Can Purdue finally solve its Rutgers issue?
(18-2 SU, 13-6-1 ATS)
(10-8 SU, 8-10 ATS)
When: Sunday, January 28 at 1 p.m. EST
Where: Jersey Mike’s Arena, Piscataway, N.J.
Public Bets: 51% on Rutgers
Public Money: Unavailable
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of January 27th, 2024.
Purdue vs. Rutgers In-Season Trends
At this point, the city of Piscataway should trademark it: Where offense goes to die. It doesn’t matter whether it’s football coach Greg Schiano or Pikiell on the hardwood; the Scarlet Knights love playing unders.
The under has cashed in two out of three home Big Ten games, and the exception was because Rutgers and Nebraska went to overtime. Most nights, anything above 69 is an adventure for Rutgers.
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Painter’s struggles with Rutgers are well-known, but it’s also possible that Painter just plain doesn’t like the state of New Jersey. Purdue’s past two tournament exits have come against a school from the Garden State (Saint Peter’s and Fairleigh Dickinson), and the Boilers obviously haven’t covered in any of those games either.
Over the past three-plus seasons, Purdue is 2-7 SU and 0-8-1 ATS against teams from New Jersey.
The way you beat Rutgers is by finding space against the defense and firing from 3-point range. Purdue can do that, as Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith continue to show. The Boilers will of course try to get the ball to Zach Edey as often as possible, but Rutgers will likely try to make the guards win the game for Purdue.
That can be dangerous, as Illinois showed. Clifford Omoruyi won the battle with Coleman Hawkins when the Scarlet Knights met the Illini, but Hawkins won the war when the Illini won by 23 because the Illinois guards kept up the scoring. If Purdue gets a Plan B going in addition to Edey, Rutgers lacks the scorers to keep up.
At some point, the Purdue Jersey Jinx has to come to an end. I think it might be here. Rutgers doesn’t shoot as well as last season, and Purdue has the defense needed to handle this kind of rock fight.
There’s no way I’m backing an over in Piscataway, as I don’t think Rutgers does its share of the scoring. If I have to take a spread, I’m going with Purdue, because I think the Scarlet Knights won’t be able to shoot well enough to stay in the game. However, my main play will be the under.