Purdue vs Wisconsin Picks and Predictions: Backing the Badgers as Rare Home Underdogs

Wisconsin is rarely the underdog at home but is catching points inside the Kohl Center for just the sixth time in the past four seasons. The Badgers won't necessarily make short work of the visiting Boilermakers, but this rarity is worth a wager.

Jason Logan: Senior Betting Analyst at Covers
Jason Logan • Senior Betting Analyst
Mar 1, 2022 • 12:47 ET • 4 min read
Johnny Davis Wisconsin Badgers College Basketball
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Don’t blink college basketball bettors. You might miss a unicorn. 

The Wisconsin Badgers are underdogs inside the Kohl Center — something that only happens once in a blue moon — when they host the Purdue Boilermakers tonight. 

This is the first time this season the Badgers are getting points at home and it's only the 13th time UW is a home pup since 2015-16. Now the question remains: is it warranted?

The Badgers bring a four-game winning streak into this Big Ten battle while the Boilermakers are playing their second straight road outing after a loss at Michigan State on Saturday.

Here are our college basketball betting picks and predictions for Purdue at Wisconsin on March 1.

Purdue vs Wisconsin odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

Wisconsin opened as a +2.5 underdog at home and has climbed as high as +3.5 at select sportsbooks while the total hit the board at 144 points, climbed to 145, but was bet back down to 144 as of Tuesday morning.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until tip-off and be sure to check out the full college basketball odds before placing your bets.

Purdue vs Wisconsin predictions

Predictions made on 3/1/2022 at 12:25 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Purdue vs Wisconsin game info

Location: Kohl Center, Madison, WI
Date: Tuesday, March 1, 2022
Tip-off: 9:00 p.m. ET

Purdue at Wisconsin betting preview


Purdue: Lorne Bowman G (Questionable).
Wisconsin: No injuries to report. 

Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Boilermakers are 2-6-1 against the spread in their last nine games as road favorites. Find more NCAA betting trends for Purdue vs. Wisconsin .

Purdue vs Wisconsin picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

Spread analysis

When presented with Wisconsin as a home underdog, basketball bettors can run to the history books and dig up trends like the Badgers going 23-9-2 ATS in their last 34 games as home pups. ORRRRRRR… you can take a long hard look at Purdue.

The Boilermakers stubbed their toe in East Lansing with a last-second loss to Sparty on the weekend. Purdue has failed to live up to oddsmakers’ expectations in recent outings, posting a 0-3-2 ATS mark in its last five showings, with fingers pointing at a downtick in offensive output.

The Boilermakers are in a tough stretch of schedule, with tonight’s trip to Madison being the program’s second straight away game and fourth road stop since February 10. The team averages more than 81 points on the season but has failed to top 70 tallies in four of its last five, including just 65 points in the loss to MSU.

The Kohl Center is not the place to find your form. Wisconsin has checked some of the Big Ten’s best offenses at home, slowing down the likes of Ohio State, Michigan, and Iowa during conference play. On top of that, the Badgers are playing great basketball — regardless of venue — winning four in a row on the back on a defense allowing just 65 points during this streak, with three of those tilts coming on the road.

Purdue presents the stiffest offensive test of the season and if the Boilermakers come out gunning — especially from beyond the arc — the Badgers will have a tough time matching that output. That said, Wisconsin already outgunned the Boilermakers 74-69 inside Mackey Arena back on January 3. 

The Badgers feature a versatile attack that can erupt for big games — on the shoulders of superstar guard Johnny Davis — or it can suck all the energy out of the gym with a methodical pace. Davis dropped 37 points on Purdue in that first meeting, making up for a 14-for-37 day from the rest of the Badgers. He's once again the best player on the floor Tuesday night.

This is a massive matchup for both teams, as a win at home would give Wisconsin the inside track to the Big Ten regular-season title. Given the current trajectory of these programs, the tough schedule spot for Purdue, Wisky getting the points inside the Kohl Center, and the line moving in favor of the Boilermakers — this contest smacks of “trap game.”

Then again, it’s Wisconsin as a home dog. 

Those looking at the Badgers moneyline may be tempted at +135 but remember that UW is a dog for a reason. While Wisconsin is 8-6 ATS (57%) as a home pup since 2010-11, it’s also just 7-7 SU in those games. Don't get too greedy with this gift from the gambling gods.

Prediction: Wisconsin +3.5 (-110)

Over/Under analysis

Purdue and Wisconsin combined for 143 points in their first meeting in Indiana back in January, topping the 139-point closing total for that tilt. Tuesday’s Over/Under is hovering right around that output (144.5), but the Badgers will be reluctant to turn this game into a shootout.

Wisconsin will be extra protective of the 3-point arc, knowing how dangerous the Boilermakers can be when those long-range looks start going down. During this current four-game winning streak, UW has been stellar at defending from deep, holding foes to a collective 21 of 79 from 3-point land (26.6%).

Purdue was just 1 for 9 from outside in the loss to Michigan State, another sound 3-point defense, and made just 8 of 20 attempts from distance in the first showdown with Wisconsin, including a 1-for-5 effort from marksman Sasha Stefanovic. 

The Boilermakers had success attacking the Wisconsin interior in that previous matchup, with bigs Zach Edey and Trevion Williams combining for 33 points. If Wisconsin keeps its heels above the arc, Purdue will look to move the ball in the halfcourt set and push around UW in the paint, taking extra time off the shot clock for an offense ranked 233rd in tempo at KenPom.com.  

Prediction: Under 144.5 (-110)

Best bet

Purdue 7-footer Zach Edey was a problem the last time these Big Ten foes clashed, pouring in 24 points and getting to the foul line for eight attempts (making four of those freebies). 

Edey has been aggressive on the blocks the past two outings, getting to the stripe a combined 13 times and making 10 of those free throws versus Michigan State and Rutgers, posting point totals of 25 and 15. On the season, he’s boasting an average of 14.8 points. 

Wisconsin will be pushing out on the perimeter and forcing the Boilermakers' outside threats to either move the basketball or put it on the ground, which means extra space for Edey to operate around the bucket.

The Badgers have been bullied by opposing bigs in recent showings, allowing Michigan 7-footer Hunter Dickinson to score 21 points and Indiana’s interior stud Trayce Jackson-Davis to drop 30 points in mid-February. This 13.5-point bar isn't tall enough for Purdue's "tower of power" tonight.

Pick: Zach Edey Over 13.5 points (-130)

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