Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 3:15 PM EST odds are subject to change.
Marquette +8 @ Purdue
8:30 PM EST. We have faded the Boilermakers twice already this season (going 1-1) and we’re not letting up until they’re stock drops. Right now, the Boilermakers are 2-0 after a 19-point win over Austin Peay and a 31-point win over Milwaukee-Wisc. They covered v Milwaukee but failed to do so as a 24½-point choice v Austin Peay. Purdue was already expected to take something of a step back this coming season following the departures of Jaden Ivey and Trevion Williams to the NBA, but losing two of its key guards in Eric Hunter, a three-year starter, and Isaiah Thompson has not exposed this team yet as the below average Power-5 team that they are. The return of Zach Edey will be enough to keep the Boilermakers competitive, but the backcourt is a bright neon question mark. David Jenkins Jr. (Utah) was Matt Painter’s only add, and while Jenkins has shown star potential at times, his play has been quite inconsistent over the past few years.
Marquette is also 2-0 after wins over Radford and Central Michigan. Both wins were against weak competition, just like Purdue’s but the Golden Eagles aren’t getting the same respect that the Boilermakers are.
Shaka Smart’s debut in Milwaukee last year was a resounding success. Despite little preseason fanfare, his Marquette Golden Eagles finished above .500 in league play and made the NCAA Tournament. Perhaps more importantly, though, Smart’s squad evoked memories of his dominant days at VCU. When VCU was at its best, it was the pinnacle of culture in college hoops. Havoc thrived, and the Rams were a consistent top 25 team despite not being in a power conference. Chemistry was terrific, and the connection between the team and the city of Richmond was immeasurable. More than anything else, this is where Smart thrives as a coach. While he struggled to make basketball The Main Thing at Texas, it already is The Main Thing at Marquette. Smart simply makes more sense as the coach of a school where hoops is king. The foundations of his culture were obvious last year. Marquette instantly exceeded expectations behind NBA-bound Justin Lewis and Darryl Morsell. Without that duo’s leadership, the Golden Eagles will be much younger and less proven as a result and that is one of the reasons we get Marquette at a great price here. The Golden Eagles do not feature a single player who has averaged more than eight points per game in Division I. That, too, ensures us some inflated points.
Give Shaka Smart eight points against a team like Purdue at your own peril. It’s not hard to see the vision when looking at this combination of roster and coaching staff. Smart teams always fly around defensively in the half court and bring plenty of switchability. They make it hard to run your stuff, they utilize the versatility of their bigs to put defenses in uncomfortable spots, and most importantly: they win games and this one is a winnable one to be sure.
Marquette +8 -108 (Risking 2.16 units - To Win: 2.00)