Rutgers @ Purdue 2/22/24 Free Pick, NCAAB Odds, NCAAB Predictions

Rutgers (14-11) at Purdue (23-3)

Game Info: Thursday, February 23rd, 2024 at  7 p.m. EST (Mackey Arena)

Betting Odds: Purdue -15.5 (-105) - Over/Under (138.5)

Pick: Purdue -15.5 (-105)

Thursday night provides us with a massive matchup inside the Big Ten conference. As the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers travel to Mackey Arena to play the Purdue Boilermakers. This is a game that could have major implications on not only the conference tournament, but the NCAA tournament as well. This will be the second meeting of the regular season between these two teams here on Thursday night and the first time they met, it was Purdue that came away with a rather close victory. Now the Boilermakers will be looking to secure the regular season sweep with a second victory over Rutgers here in this one at home.

Rutgers comes into this game on Thursday night in West Lafayette on the bubble of the NCAA tournament. They have been rather underwhelming this season as they come into this game with 14 victories through their first 25 games of the year. A victory in a game like this against the number three team in the country on the road in a tougher environment would give them the boost they need heading into the last two weeks of the regular season. As it would put them even farther up the list for the bubble, and a strong showing throughout the rest of the year, could put them in the NCAA tournament as well. 

Rutgers have struggled inside of conference play, which has put them in a rough position coming into this game. Through their first 14 conference games of the season they find themselves two games below .500 and that is something they will need to clean up throughout the rest of the year if they want to present a strong résumé to the NCAA tournament committee. A victory in this game on Thursday night on the road against Purdue would go a long way in helping Rutgers cement their résumé heading into the last couple weeks of the season. They will have to put on a solid performance at the conference tournament as well to increase their chances of making the big dance. 

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Purdue has put together an incredible season and they have spent plenty of time as the number one team in the country as well. They will look to defend their home court here on Thursday night and have a strong finish to the regular season to solidify their spot as a number one seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. They are one of the favorites to bring home a national championship, despite being eliminated as a number one seed last season and arguably the best team in the country going into the tournament as well. 

The Boilermakers have put together an incredible résumé this season, winning 23 out of 26 games so far this year. They will look to cap off with a regular season conference championship and potentially a conference tournament championship as well. They arguably have the number one player in the country in Zach Edey, and he will look to lead them to the promise land after last year’s embarrassing exit from the NCAA tournament. Purdue should have no problem grabbing yet another comfortable victory after already controlling and defeating Rutgers earlier this season out in New Jersey.

Betting trends to consider in this matchup:

- Purdue is 13-0 at home 

- Rutgers is 1-3 against ranked opponents 

- Rutgers is 3-6 on the road 

I don’t see this one being close at all as I look for Purdue to jump out to a sizable lead early and pull away by the time the final whistle blows. Not only do I look for Purdue to grab a comfortable victory at home for the second time this season against Rutgers, I also look for Purdue to cover the spread here on Thursday night as well. As I look for the Boilermakers talent gap to be the difference throughout this game on Thursday night and for Zach Edey to lead Purdue to a much-needed victory.

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