Zach Edey is the reigning National Player of the Year and has been at his best over his last two games as Purdue’s competition level continues to rise. Will Tennessee be able to stop him tonight? Read our NCAAB betting picks below to find out.
Two Top-10 teams will face off in an early-season showdown as the Tennessee Volunteers take on the Purdue Boilermakers in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational on Tuesday night.
Tennessee used a late run to pull away from Syracuse in its first-round matchup on Monday. Purdue beat Gonzaga by 10 with superstar center Zach Edey contributing 25 points and 14 rebounds.
The college basketball odds make the Boilermakers a 2.5-point favorite in Tuesday night’s semifinal clash. Edey is one of the toughest matchups in college basketball this season and should provide the first real test for the Volunteers on the season.
We’ll discuss whether they can rise to the challenge in our free college basketball picks for Tennessee vs. Purdue on November 21.
Tennessee vs Purdue best odds
Tennessee vs Purdue picks and predictions
Zach Edey has been developing into a force throughout his four years with the Purdue Boilermakers.
That came to a head in his junior year last season, as he averaged 22.3 points and 12.9 rebounds to become the National Player of the Year. With limited draft prospects, Edey returned to the Boilermakers for his senior year, opening the possibility of back-to-back player of the year seasons.
So far, it’s been a good start to that campaign. In four games this season, Edey is averaging 21.8 points and 11 rebounds along with 3.5 blocks on the defensive end. His best game of the year may have come on Monday when he scored 25 points against Gonzaga in the Maui quarterfinals.
Importantly for Purdue’s national title hopes, Edey isn’t alone on the court. Guards Braden Smith (12.0 ppg) and Lance Jones (10.5 ppg) are providing solid contributions, something that should help the team avoid a major March upset like the one it suffered to Fairleigh Dickinson in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
Either way, Edey remains the biggest threat, an ever-present force in the paint that every opponent needs to find a way to deal with. That may be a problem for the Tennessee Volunteers, which uses a small-ball style and doesn’t have a true center on the roster.
Of the players who get any significant playing time, junior forward Jonas Aidoo is by far the largest. Aidoo comes in at 6-foot-11, which means he’ll get the bulk of the responsibility in guarding Edey. Unfortunately for Aidoo, he gives up five inches and nearly 60 pounds to the Purdue big man.
Fairleigh Dickinson proved that a swarming defense can potentially work to contain Edey, and that’s likely the tactic the Volunteers will employ on Tuesday night.
However, the Knights only pulled off that monumental upset in the tournament because Purdue shot just 19.2% from beyond the arc, and everyone outside of Edey went 12-for-42 (28.6%) from the field.
All signs early this season suggest that was a fluke, or at the very least, something that is much less likely with this year’s Boilermakers roster. It’s difficult to see a realistic way for Tennessee to contend with Edey in the paint, and that’s going to show more and more as tonight’s game wears on.
With only a small spread to worry about, I’m happy to lay the points with Purdue.
My best bet: Purdue -2.5 (-112 at DraftKings)
Tennessee vs Purdue same-game parlay
I’ve already outlined why I think the Boilermakers will win tonight’s game, and Edey is a big part of that prediction. That’s why, along with my pick of Purdue -2.5, I’m throwing in a prop bet for Edey to go Over his point total of 19.5
After relatively quiet games against two overmatched opponents, Purdue has fully deployed Edey in its last two games, and he’s scored 25+ points in each. He should have free reign to score against a smaller Tennessee team on Tuesday.
I’m rounding out this SGP with a bet on the Over at 134 points. Purdue has played well Over this number in each of its first four games, while Tennessee is playing to an average total of 136 points despite its slow pace. Even with two strong defensive teams on the court, the numbers say this game should get above the total.
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Tennessee vs Purdue spread and Over/Under analysis
Purdue opened tonight’s game as a 3-point favorite over Tennessee. The Boilermakers dropped to a 2.5-point favorite at one point and some books are still at that number, though the consensus has once again moved to a flat -3.
Sites that still have Purdue -2.5 are making the Boilermakers a favorite on that number, with -112 the best odds available on the market as of Tuesday morning.
Both teams are off to strong starts this year with undefeated straight-up records. Both the Volunteers and the Boilermakers have also put up 3-1 marks against the spread to begin the season.
As I outlined above, I feel this matchup heavily favors Purdue. Tennessee simply doesn’t have the size to contend with Edey inside, and the big man should have enough help to prevent the Volunteers from simply letting him get his points and beating the Boilermakers elsewhere.
The total for this game opened at 137 but has dropped precipitously since then. As of this writing, books are divided, with Over/Under numbers ranging from 133 to 134.5, depending on where you look.
Neither team has shown a real trend on the total so far this year. Both have shown a 2-2 split on the Over/Under in their first four games.
The raw numbers heavily support playing the Over here, as both teams have played far above the totals that are being offered by books right now. That’s especially true for Purdue, which has played to an average total of 144.2.
The one note of caution is that these two teams are among the best defensive squads in the country, and they don’t play at particularly quick tempos. However, they also both play quality, efficient offense — especially Purdue. I’m leaning towards the Over.
Tennessee vs Purdue betting trend to know
Purdue is 3-1 ATS in four games this season. Find more college basketball betting trends for Tennessee vs. Purdue.
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Tennessee vs Purdue game info
|Location:||SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu, HI|
|Date:||Tuesday, November 21, 2023|
|Tip-off:||8:00 p.m. ET|
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