The Big Ten has been a beast this season. Its top five teams all appear in the AP Top 25, and a handful of the conference’s unranked teams — namely Michigan State and perhaps Rutgers — could have a chance to make some noise in the NCAA Tournament.
However, two Big Ten teams have stood out from the crowd to this point, and on Tuesday night, they’ll finally meet again for the first time since early January.
We’re talking about the Purdue Boilermakers and the Wisconsin Badgers: Two five-loss teams that both rank inside the top 10 in the latest AP poll.
So who will win this all-important intraconference showdown? Let’s dig in and find the best bets for tonight’s action.
Please note that all college basketball odds and lines are current as of 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday, March 1.
Purdue vs. Wisconsin Predictions
Despite coming in at No. 8, Purdue hasn’t been especially consistent lately. The Boilermakers went 6-2 in February, scoring an impressive 16-point win over Illinois in the process. However, during that same period, Purdue also suffered losses to Michigan and Michigan State — both of which were unranked at the time.
In mid-February, Purdue also struggled to separate itself from Maryland and Northwestern, escaping with one and six-point wins, respectively.
With that said, the Boilermakers have continued to score in bunches. They’ve posted 80 or more points in seven of their last 11 contests, including an 84-point showing in their aforementioned win over Illinois.
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Sophomore guard and highly-touted NBA prospect Jaden Ivey has played especially well during this stretch, averaging a team-high 18.7 points per game while shooting above 50 percent on two-point attempts. He struggled in his lone outing against Wisconsin earlier this season, so he’s one Boilermaker to keep an eye on.
Wisconsin is red-hot entering tonight’s contest, winning each of its last four games. Granted, those wins haven’t been all that decisive — outside of a 14-point victory over Michigan, the Badgers have merely squeaked by Indiana, Minnesota, and Rutgers to round out their streak.
- Stay up-to-date on March Madness Bracketology and see who we think will make the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
Star guard Johnny Davis has been crucial to Wisconsin’s latest success. The 6-foot-5 sophomore has averaged 21.5 points and 8.8 rebounds over his last four outings, including a 30-point, 12-rebound performance in a win over the Hoosiers.
If Purdue is going to win tonight’s contest, slowing down Davis will be paramount. He went off for a season-high 37 points in their previous meeting in January, and a similar performance will be extremely difficult for the Boilermakers to overcome.
Wisconsin’s home-court advantage is also worth mentioning here. This season, the Badgers have gone 11-3 in Madison, while four of Purdue’s five losses have come on the road.
With that said, I believe Purdue is still the better team in this matchup. This is one of the most elite scoring teams in Division I, let alone the Big Ten, and I don’t think Wisconsin has what it takes to sweep the season series.
Purdue vs. Wisconsin Prediction: Purdue 77, Wisconsin 68
Purdue vs. Wisconsin Best Bet
Best Bet: Purdue Moneyline (-150) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
Purdue is favored by three points here, and although I believe they’ll cover the spread, I’m not confident enough to put money behind it. The Badgers tend to finish games well, and they could easily turn a 10-point deficit into a one-possession game in the final minutes.
Therefore, my best bet here is picking the Boilermakers to win outright. They can be relied upon with their scoring ability if these two teams trade baskets down the stretch. I do have some concerns about Wisconsin intentionally sending them to the line, but ideally, it doesn’t come down to that.