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Nebraska vs. Purdue prediction and pick for Friday's game. College basketball expert Mike Spector analyzes the Big Ten matchup between the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Purdue Boilermakers.
ANALYSIS

Nebraska vs. Purdue Prediction: Can the Boilermakers Cover the Big Number?

The Nebraska Cornhuskers' six Big Ten games are tied for the most games played in league play, but they are also the only team without a conference victory. That is a big reason that they are +19.5 point underdogs on the road against the Purdue Boilermakers, which is the largest point spread between any two Big Ten opponents this season. Did oddsmakers set this line too high, or is Purdue capable of covering this inflated number?

Here are our picks and predictions for the Big Ten matchup between Nebraska and Purdue.

Click here for Nebraska vs Purdue odds

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Nebraska vs. Purdue Prediction

Nebraska enters this game on a four-game losing streak, with all four games coming against conference opponents. In all, the Cornhuskers have lost nine of their last ten games, with the only win in that span coming against the ASUN's Kennesaw State. 

Purdue has lost two games since being ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history in early December. The Boilermakers play their next two games on the road and will look to use the Mackey Arena atmosphere to send them off on a high note. Purdue is looking to avoid a second straight home loss, as they were held to fewer than 70 points for just the second time this season in a 74-69 loss to Wisconsin.

Not many teams have had the success defensively against Purdue that Wisconsin had, as the Boilermakers rank No. 1 in KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency. Purdue also is the top-ranked team in effective field goal percentage, and their 40.8% team 3-point percentage is and 57.7% 2-point percentage each rank top ten in the country. 

The reason why the Boilermakers are so efficient on offense has a lot to do with their big man tandem of Zach Edey and Trevion Williams. Not many teams in the country have the size to match up with those two stars one-on-one, but they are each elite passers out of the post when double-teamed. Purdue has five players that shoot better than 41% from 3-point range, so choosing how to play them defensively is a "pick your poison" mentality.

Unfortunately for Nebraska, game-planning for their offense is not as head-scratching as preparing for Purdue. The Cornhuskers are one of the most stagnant offensive teams in the country, as many of their half-court possessions result in standing away and watching Alonzo Verge go one-on-one. Freshman Bryce McGowens is emerging as another complementary scoring threat, as he has scored in double figures in each of the last seven games. However, Verge still dominates the ball too much, and there is too little ball movement for Nebraska to score enough to stay in this matchup.

Outside of a four-overtime loss to N.C. State and an overtime loss to Ohio State, Nebraska has been non-competitive in all of their other games against high-end competition. Purdue is looking to avenge a loss in their last home game and will take out their frustration on the inferior Cornhuskers.

Nebraska vs. Purdue Pick

  • PICK: Purdue -19.5 (-110)

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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