Many sports bettors will be surprised to learn that the oddsmakers have installed Michigan as modest five-point favorites at Purdue Wednesday night. While the number seems short (our power numbers support Michigan being an 8-point favorite), there is typically a reason for the “too good to be true” point spread.
Michigan is coming off an emotional 79-70 win over rival Michigan State, which is significant in that the Wolverines are just 6-15 ATS on the road following a conference win over the last three seasons. Meanwhile, Purdue is coming off consecutive SU and ATS losses to Michigan State (94-79) and Nebraska (76-57), which is relevant in that the Boilermakers are 29-16 ATS after failing to cover the point spread. Purdue is also motivated to avenge its 75-66 loss to Michigan in January, and we believe the Boilermakers have the capability to pull the upset tonight.
Michigan is averaging 75.1 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 67.7 points per game, including shooting 47.9% from the field and 39.4% from beyond the arc. Overall, Michigan is 7.4 points per game better than average offensively, but the Wolverines struggle to score on the road where they are averaging just 70.4 points per game this season. Based on the season numbers, Michigan possesses an 8.0 points per game advantage over a sub-par Purdue defense that is 0.6 points per game worse than average (71.1 points per game to teams that would combine to average 70.5 points per game).
Purdue takes the floor with a decent attack that is averaging 72.7 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 68.5 points per game, thereby making the Boilermakers 4.2 points per game better than average. However, the Boilermakers are 12-3 SU at home this season where they are averaging 77.8 points per game. Overall, Michigan possesses a nominal 3.1 points per game advantage defensively over the Boilermakers’ attack.
Purdue will play the rest of the season without guard Sterling Carter after he suffered a torn ACL in Sunday’s 76-57 loss at Nebraska. Carter, who had started the last six games, transferred from Seattle University for his senior season. “We are obviously disappointed for Sterling and really feel for him,” coach Matt Painter said. “It’s very unfortunate to see his collegiate career end like this. Sterling gave all he had for the program this year and did everything we asked of him since his arrival last summer.”
The ultimate question is why Purdue, losers of seven of its last nine games, is only getting five points at home against 16th-ranked Michigan. Pro Edge Sports can’t answer that question, but we strongly suggest siding with the “perceived oddsmaker” error by taking the home underdog.