Purdue vs. Michigan Prediction: Can the Boilermakers Offense Stay Hot on the Road?

College basketball expert Mike Spector offers his best bet for the Big Ten matchup between Purdue and Michigan.
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Purdue vs. Michigan Prediction: Can the Boilermakers Offense Stay Hot on the Road?

The Purdue Boilermakers and Michigan Wolverines meet for the second time in five days after their initial meeting scheduled for January 11th in Ann Arbor was postponed because of COVID-19 complications. Purdue is coming off their biggest win of the season against Illinois, which for the moment has them tied atop the Big Ten standings with Illinois and Wisconsin. Will the Boilermakers continue their league dominance, or will Michigan earn its first win over a ranked opponent this season?

Here are our picks and predictions for the Big Ten battle between Purdue and Michigan.

Click here for Purdue vs Michigan odds

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Purdue vs. Michigan Prediction

Purdue’s (21-3, 10-3) big win over Illinois on Tuesday helped them complete the season sweep of Illinois, which means they now hold the all-important head-to-head tiebreaker over the Illini if the Big Ten regular season championship race comes down to that. The Boilermakers still have challenging road games ahead against Wisconsin and Michigan State, but they control their own destiny for a Big Ten championship and seemingly a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Purdue’s current six-game winning streak is largely due to a blistering offense that not many teams in the country have solved. During the streak, the Boilermakers have topped 80 points in each of those games and enter tonight’s game ranked No. 1 in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency metric. However, that ranking does not even do their offense justice, as they entered the game against Illinois averaging 1.28 points per possession over the previous five games. 

Michigan (12-9, 6-5) had a five-game winning streak over Purdue snapped with their 82-76 loss at Mackey Arena last Saturday. The Wolverines have alternated wins and losses in their previous five games and have won their last three home games. 

In the first meeting between these teams, Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson was the main reason for their offensive success. Dickinson scored a season-high 28 points, and the attention that Purdue’s defense paid to him freed up Michigan’s shooters, who connected on 8-of-18 3-point attempts. 

Many teams have been “getting right” offensively against Purdue lately, as they entered the Illinois game allowing at least 1.1 points per possession in four consecutive games. Those defensive issues have been exacerbated on the road, as the Boilermakers have allowed an average of 75.5 points per game over their last four road games.

The fact that these two teams just played five days ago could lend itself to each coach making defensive adjustments that lead to a lower-scoring game. However, Michigan’s defensive metrics are so poor that the familiarity between these opponents should not matter. In league play, the Wolverines rank 11th or worse in adjusted defensive efficiency, effective field goal percentage defense, and 2-point percentage defense. That last statistic is most troublesome against a team like Purdue, who will have to contend with two bigs (Trevion Williams and Zach Edey), and the relentless slashing ability of Jaden Ivey.

Purdue has been one of the most profitable teams to the over all season, but especially of late, as the over is 10-2 in their last 12 games. We see no reason why this game between Big Ten rivals would be lower scoring. 

Purdue vs Michigan Line Movement

Purdue vs Michigan Pick

PICK: OVER 145 (-110)(Bet $110 to win $100)

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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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