Nebraska is quietly getting it done on the court as the Cornhuskers have won and covered four straight, including upset wins over Northwestern (53-49) and Michigan State (60-51). Nebraska is 7-0 ATS versus teams with a winning record, 9-2 ATS as a favorite, 10-2 ATS at home, 11-2 ATS versus conference opponents and 10-2 ATS at home with revenge, which suggests that there isn’t a more underrated (and undervalued) team in college basketball this season.
Nebraska’s success is predicated upon an outstanding defense that is allowing 65.9 points per game to teams that would combine to average 71.1 points per game. More importantly, the Cornhuskers are 12-1 SU and 10-2 ATS at home where they are limiting opponents to a mere 60.5 points per game. I also like the fact that Nebraska’s defense is in good form as the Cornhuskers are yielding just 60.8 points over their last five games. Overall, Nebraska is 5.2 points per game better than average defensively, which is good enough to contain a Purdue attack that is averaging just 67.3 points per game on the road on 40.1% shooting from the field.
While Nebraska is only 1.1 points per game better than average offensively (67.4 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 66.3 points per game), I expect the Cornhuskers to exploit a declining Purdue defense that is yielding 75.6 points over its last five games. Overall, Purdue is 0.4 points per game worse than average defensively (70.9 points per game to teams that would combine to average 70.5 point per game), but the Boilermakers are coming off a game in which they allowed 94 points at home to Michigan State.
Nebraska is 12-1 in its first season at Pinnacle Bank Arena, and a win today would be the Cornhuskers’ first win over Purdue since joining the Big Ten Conference. Finally, I like the fact that Nebraska is 11-2 (.846) in games decided by five points or less under head coach Tim Miles. Laying only five at home to Purdue seems to offer solid value, but I am not willing to recommend a strong opinion in this game. I lean with Nebraska -5 or less.