Sweet 16 Betting Preview: Purdue Boilermakers vs. Tennessee Volunteers

Ross Benjamin provides a betting preview on Thursday's Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament contest between Tennessee and Purdue.

The #3 seed Purdue Boilermakers will square of with #2 seed Tennessee Volunteers in a NCAA Tournament "Sweet 16" game on Thursday. There’s a scheduled opening tip time at the KFC Yum Center in Louisville, Kentucky set for 7:29 PM ET.

The current (3/25) NCAA Tournament betting odds at BetOnline indicates that Tennessee is a 1.0-point favorite and there’s a total of 146.0.

Purdue NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 previewImpressive Turnaround for Boilermakers

Purdue (25-9) began the season by going a disappointing 6-5 in their first 11 games. In their defense, they played a difficult non-conference schedule which included losses to Virginia Tech by 6 on a neutral floor and at Florida State by 1. Both those teams have also advanced to the “Sweet 16”. Nevertheless, since that uninspiring start, the Boilermakers have gone an outstanding 19-4.

Vols Sparkling Resume

Tennessee will enter this NCAA Tournament South Regional Semifinal with an impressive 30-5 record. Their 5 losses came at Kentucky, at LSU, against Auburn twice, and versus Kansas by 6 at a neutral site. Three of those 4 teams (Auburn, Kentucky, LSU) are still alive in the NCAA Tournament while the other (Kansas) lost in the “Round of 32”. Tennessee also owns a quality non-conference win over Gonzaga who is the West Region’s #1 seed. The Volunteers have captured 7 victories over fellow SEC teams who made the “Big Dance”.

2019 NCAA Tournament Results

Purdue has won and covered as a favorite in each of their first 2 NCAA Tournament games. The Boilermakers knocked off Old Dominion 61-48 while cashing in as a 12.5-point chalk during 1st round action. They followed that up with last Saturday’s convincing 87-61 win over the defending national champion Villanova Wildcats. The Boilermakers were stout defensively in both instances, allowing just 54.5 points per game, and holding their opponents to a paltry 30.1% shooting.

Tennessee vs Purdue Sweet 16 betting  tipsTennessee failed to cover in each of their NCAA Tournament wins. They began with an apathetic 77-70 win over #15 seed Colgate. Then on Sunday, they jumped out to a 25-point first half lead against Iowa, only to see the Hawkeyes put together a frantic 2nd half comeback which resulted in an overtime. Fortunately for Tennessee fans, their team prevailed by 6 in the extra session, but still fell short of covering as an 8.0-point favorite.

Betting Trends

Tennessee has gone over the total in 7 of 8 games this season that were played at a neutral site. As a matter of fact, they’ve went over in all 5 combined games played during the 2019 SEC Tournament and in this year’s “Big Dance”. Those previous 5 contests averaged a combined 154.8 points scored per game. Additionally, the Volunteers have gone over in 15 of 17 games this season when facing teams with a winning record. Those contests averaged a collective 158.5 points scored per game.

The Purdue Boilermakers will be facing a Tennessee Volunteers team with a season win percentage of .833. During the past 2 seasons, they’re 12-3 under the total when facing teams with a win percentage of .800 or better. Contrarily, Purdue is 13-3 over the total throughout the last 2 seasons when playing at a neutral site.

Ross Benjamin is a top sports analyst and one of the sports industry's most respected handicappers. Follow him on Twitter: @RossBenjamin1 or visit his website at RBWins.com