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Purdue vs Tennessee Predictions & Best Bets

Last Updated: Mar 30, 2024

After avoiding upset bids in the Sweet 16, the top-seeded Purdue Boilermakers and the No. 2 seed Tennessee Volunteers will play for a spot in the Final Four on Sunday afternoon at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

Purdue reached the Midwest Regional Final by dispatching Gonzaga 80-68, while Tennessee advanced by outlasting Creighton 82-75.

Let’s dig into the latest Purdue vs Tennessee odds and pick out our best Elite 8 bets for this fascinating contest.

Purdue vs Tennessee Odds

The opening NCAAB odds have installed Purdue as a three-point favorite over Tennessee, which makes sense since the Boilermakers earned a four-point victory against the Volunteers at the Maui Invitational in November.

The two teams combined for 138 points in that game, not too far off the Over/Under for this matchup, which has been set at 147.5 total points.

Purdue vs Tennessee Prediction

Purdue 78, Tennessee 71

Outside of UConn, Purdue has arguably been the most dominant team in this NCAA Tournament, winning each of its three games by double-digits.

The Boilermakers were especially impressive on offense against Gonzaga, assisting on 24 of their 32 made field goals. Braden Smith accounted for 15 of those dimes, many of which went to 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey (27 points).

Tennessee had plenty of trouble defending the First Team All-American center in their November matchup. The Vols have just two players that check in at 6-foot-11, Jonas Aidoo and lesser-used freshman J.P. Estrella, and Aidoo fouled out in just 13 minutes of playing time.

That forced Rick Barnes into playing a smaller lineup, leaving Edey to rack up 23 points and 10 rebounds despite making just 9-of-17 attempts from the free-throw line. Overall, Purdue attempted 48 free throws in that game to Tennessee’s 30.

Without a clear way to defend the big man without fouling, the Vols will have to rely on their own Naismith Trophy finalist, Dalton Knecht, to keep pace.

Knecht led Tennessee with 24 points, six rebounds, and five assists against Creighton, but he doesn’t have the offensive help around him that Edey does in Smith, Fletcher Loyer, and Lance Jones.

Unless the Boilermakers go cold from three-point range, I expect them to march on to their first Final Four since 1980.

Purdue vs Tennessee Best Bets

Purdue -3 (-110) vs Tennessee

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 2 Units

This spread just doesn’t feel big enough.

While the Vols were able to keep the first meeting between these two teams close, I just don’t see how they slow down Edey with their lack of size.

Purdue won that first game by four despite making just four three-pointers and shooting 60.4% from the line.

The Boilermakers are playing at the peak of their powers right now and should improve on that result, making this my best college basketball bet today.

Over 147.5 Total Points (-110)

bet365 Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

Tennessee allows just 67.3 points per game, but I don’t see how they contain Purdue.

The Boilermakers have averaged 82.1 points per game over their last 10, and pose a matchup nightmare with Edey.

He’ll either get whatever he wants in the paint, or Purdue’s guards will get a bevy of open looks from three if the Vols send extra bodies at him.

That should lead to a higher-scoring environment, and I trust Knecht to keep Tennessee in it offensively.

Author

John Arlia

Before joining The Game Day, John served as the National Writer for the United Soccer League, where he primarily covered the USL Championship out of the league’s headquarters in Tampa, FL. A devout soccer fan, John attended the men’s World Cups in Brazil and Russia and can’t wait for the 2026 edition to come to North America. Having also written for Sporting News Canada since getting his master’s from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU, John has acquired a diverse sporting background, but considers football, golf, and soccer his three strong suits.

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