Books slipping up on Boilermakers field?

The Purdue Boilermakers football team isn’t the only mess making headlines in West Lafayette this fall.

The field at Ross-Ade Stadium is also in the news and it’s not because of its pristine, golf-green look.

“It was like a battlefield out there,” said Northwestern head coach Randy Walker, describing the soggy, sloppy playing field after the Huskies 34-29 win as 9-point underdogs Oct. 15.

“It`s an additional challenge that we would not like to be dealing with,” said Purdue coach Joe Tiller, whose Boilermakers are 0-4 ATS at home this season.

However, oddsmakers have taken little notice of Purdue`s field problems for today`s showdown with the Michigan State Spartans. The Boilermakers are 4 1/2-point underdogs despite their famliarity with the field conditions. The field could be more treacherous today with thundershowers forecasted for the West Lafayette area.

“I wasn’t even aware they were having issues,” says oddsmaker Michael Pierce. “Knowing this I may move the line a half point for the home team and drop the total a half-point. But in the grand scheme of things these issues don’t mean much.”

The culprit seems to be a type of grass called Prescription Athletic Turf, designed by two Purdue professors in the 1970s and has been used at Ross-Ade since 1975.

The turf, which claims to “keep the field playable and virtually divot-proof, even during a storm dumping one inch of rain per hour,” requires pipes under the field to help with drainage. But the pipes, insulated with sand and filler, don’t allow for the grass to properly take root. This, coupled with a hotter than expected summer, is being blamed for the field’s current condition.

For his part, Covers Expert Shawn Torrey concurs with oddsmakers saying bettors should be wary of over-valuing the situation.

“In most cases the better team will still prevail,” says Torrey. “Both teams play on the same field and while you could argue the home team has an advantage here, the results don`t support that theory whatsoever. To date, Purdue is 0-4 ATS on the chewed-up surface.”

The total is set at 63 1/2-points.

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