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The Purdue Boilermakers will take on the UConn Huskies in the NCAA National Championship on Monday night. Can Braden Smith get hot from deep and help the Boilermakers pull a shocking upset? Ben Rajavuroi has a top prop and pick against the spread in Purdue vs. UConn in the title game.
ANALYSIS

Purdue vs. UConn Prediction: Can Braden Smith, Boilermakers End UConn's Historic Run in National Championship?

Another March Madness tournament comes to an end when Purdue and UConn meet in the championship from State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona tonight. Both teams have had similarly dominant seasons, with Connecticut coming into this game with a 36–3 record and Purdue entering with a 34–4 record. UConn has not lost since February 20 and has been loosely talked about as one of the most dominant college basketball teams of all time. As the defending champions from last year‘s tournament, UConn is a solid seven-point favorite tonight. Can they go back to back?

PURDUE VS. UCONN DATE, TIME, AND WHERE TO WATCH

  • Date: April 8, 2024
  • Start Time: 9:20 p.m. ET
  • Where to Watch: TBS

PURDUE VS. UCONN ODDS

  • Spread: Purdue +7 (-115), UConn -7 (-110)
  • Total Odds: O 145.5 (-108), U 145.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline Odds: Purdue (+250), UConn (-285)

PURDUE VS. UCONN PREDICTION

Without a doubt, the biggest story in tonight‘s game that everyone is talking about is Purdue big man Zach Edey against UConn big man Donovan Clingan. Clingan has been one of the best defensive centers in college basketball this season and will have a ton of size to match the enormous Zach Edey. While Edey stands 7'4", Clingan is not too far behind at 7'2". Aside from this matchup, we will get very good guard play from both teams with Tristan Newton being one of the best players and guards in the nation and Purdue having their own dominant guard in Braden Smith. This truly should be the biggest competition UConn has faced in the tournament so far and should make for a good matchup. UConn has now won 11 straight NCAA tournament games by double digits, which is a tournament record. While UConn has been the most dominant team in recent memory, I like Purdue to keep this closer than a seven-point game. Last round, UConn still covered in their game against Alabama, which was very close until the end, and the final score did not tell the entire story. While it was a 14-point win for UConn, this was just a four-point game at halftime and was still in single digits coming down the wire. UConn took their biggest lead of the game with 30 seconds left. Where Alabama failed to close out the game was not playing good enough defense. Alabama‘s defense was their bugaboo all season and was the talk of many who doubted that Alabama could make a deep tournament run. Alabama proved a lot of people wrong for most of the tournament, but their defense in the second half against UConn was just not good enough to keep it close down the stretch. Purdue has a much better defense than Alabama and should do a better job in the later stages of the game in the backcourt. Aside from Purdue covering, I think we see a big game from the Purdue guards. With so much attention being drawn to Edey in this game, the guard play will have to be better than it was against NC State in the first half. Braden Smith had five turnovers in that game and shot 1-5 from three. I think we see a big bounce back game from Braden Smith as he will have one of the best matchups against this UConn defense. UConn plays excellent defense, but they do give up some good looks from three and it will be on Purdue to nail them. This is how Alabama was able to stay in the game for the first half and a decent part of the second half. If Smith knocked down his open shots, Purdue should stay in this game. Braden Smith was one of the better three-point shooters in the country this season, shooting 43% from deep. While Purdue also has shooters like Fletcher Loyer and Mason Gillis, Braden Smith still has the best odds to make 2+ threes tonight at +150. I love this line for him after a cold shooting performance against NC State to bounce back in the championship. He has hit this line in two of five tournament games so far, and should be a focal point of the offense tonight.

PURDUE VS. UCONN Pick

Pick: Purdue +7 (-115) Click here to see which sportsbook has the best odds

Pick: Braden Smith 2+ Threes (+150) Click here to see which sportsbook has the best odds

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Article Author

NCAABBoxing/MMAMLBNHL

Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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