Purdue vs UConn Last Minute National Championship Game Picks

Whether you're strapped for time, or just want to get in on the action, our resident CBB expert has your last-minute March Madness picks ready for you to lock in. Will UConn defend its title? Or will Purdue pry it from their paws? Find out below!

Douglas Farmer - Betting Analyst at Covers
Douglas Farmer • Betting Analyst
Apr 8, 2024 • 15:00 ET • 4 min read
Purdue Boilermakers NCAAB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The college basketball National Championship will begin tonight just after 9 ET when the Purdue Boilermakers look to end the UConn Huskies’ title defense.

If you have had a busy weekend or if you have not quite decided where to place your final tournament bets, let’s take one last look at the March Madness odds before locking in your final March Madness picks of the season. 

Purdue vs UConn picks and predictions

My best bet: Purdue +7 (-114 at Pinnacle)

This spread has grown too much. It opened with UConn favored by 5.5, a number that already accounted for the Huskies’ dominance in this tournament. Advanced numbers suggested it should be closer to -3, with many handicappers expecting this matchup to open at -4 before the Final Four.

While UConn certainly took care of business against Alabama, the same could be said of Purdue against NC State. Both teams relied on dominant defensive performances in the second half to not only win but also to handily cover their spreads.

Yet the Huskies were more rewarded for that in the power ratings than the Boilermakers were. If -5.5 already added some recency bias to UConn’s covering each spread this tournament by an average of 12.9 points, then what logic is there to the spread climbing even further, all the way to -7? Some books have gone so far as to consider -7.5, though with added juice if taking the underdog.

Purdue has also covered the spread in each game of this tournament, doing so by an average of 10.5 points. It beat NC State by 13 points as a 9.5-point favorite, only half a point worse compared to the spread than UConn’s win against the Tide.

Why are the Boilermakers not getting a recency bias bump of their own?

Furthermore, the total has fallen to 144.5 after opening at 148.5. In a game that should be low-scoring, a spread nearing four buckets is a hefty margin, especially against the clear-cut No. 2 team in the country by advanced metrics.

Lastly, Purdue gets to the free throw line at the 13th-highest rate in the country. It did so even more often in conference play. That habit will keep the Boilermakers in range all night, with “range” being defined as within this inflated spread.

Purdue vs UConn same-game parlay

Tristen Newton Under 14.5 points

Tristen Newton Over 5.5 assists

Tristen Newton has shot 4-of-17 in his last two games, including 3-of-12 from deep, and those were against faster-paced foes than Purdue. The UConn floor general will not take that many shots tonight.

He usually thrives by getting to the free throw line, but in addition to getting fouled a lot, the Boilermakers rarely foul, particularly their three primary guards. Newton will not get that chance to supplement his night.

But if he is not getting fouled, that means Newton has the ball in his hands longer, and has a chance to find a play that does not rely on his own shot.

In eight postseason games, Newton has averaged 7.5 assists, handing out at least six in five of those games.

The defending national champion is flanked by plenty of quality offensive players. Moving the ball to them while his shot struggles should be UConn’s best path to its second straight title.

If you're looking for some Zach Edey-specific props, check out Rohit Ponnaiya’s Zach Edey spotlight.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Purdue vs UConn best odds

Purdue vs UConn game info

Location: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Date: Monday, April 8, 2024
Tip-off: 9:20 p.m. ET

Purdue vs UConn key injuries

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