NCAA Tournament National Championship Game Purdue Boilermakers vs UConn Huskies best bets from college basketball expert John Martin: Purdue keeps it close

Purdue Boilermakers center Zach Edey (15) and Purdue Boilermakers guard Lance Jones (55) celebrate against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Indiana.
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John Martin


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NFL handicapper for Pickswise.
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After a long and grueling season, it’s all come down to this. The college basketball season and March Madness reaches its conclusion on Monday night when the top 2 teams in the country will square off in the National Championship game. UConn has once again proven itself as a dominant force in the sport during its run to a 2nd consecutive title game. Dan Hurley’s team has beaten everyone in their path to this point by at least 14 points, and now just 1 more test stands in their way of being the first team since the 2006-2007 Florida Gators to win back-to-back titles.

It’s likely your bracket hasn’t survived heading into the final game of the season. But hey, that’s okay! We can still win some bets. Let’s stay hot with our National Championship game best bets, but make sure you also check out our full Purdue Boilermakers vs UConn Huskies National Championship predictions for the final game of March Madness.

Purdue Boilermakers +7 over UConn Huskies (-110)

Odds generally available at the time of publishing.

On the surface, this is crazy talk. UConn is in the midst of the most dominant run we’ve ever seen in college basketball. The Huskies reminded us all how easy it is for them on Saturday night when despite being tied at 56 with just over 12 minutes to play against Alabama, they still managed to cover every pregame number by the end of the game. They’ve now covered 11 straight NCAA Tournament games, which is the first time in the history of college basketball that’s ever happened. It’s truly remarkable and has gone out of the realm of just college basketball at this point. Did Tom Brady’s Patriots ever go on an ATS run quite like this? Jordan’s Bulls? It’s obscene.

But what Purdue has done in this tournament shouldn’t be discounted, either. They’ve covered each of their five games in the tournament so far, most recently sending back the darling N.C. State Wolfpack on Saturday night. Zach Edey dominated the second half and held Wolfpack big man D.J. Burns to just eight points, by far his worst performance of the tournament thus far. The Boilermakers have been handling business against some of the best teams in the tournament, too, beating red-hot Gonzaga by double digits and getting past Tennessee despite 31 from future lottery pick Dalton Knecht.

These are the two best teams in America, and they have been for most of the season (especially given Houston’s injuries). One reason I do look toward Purdue is that Edey has shown he’s built to go the full 40 minutes. He did it on Saturday night and he did it last weekend against Tennessee. UConn big man Donovan Clingan is a terrific player, but hasn’t played more than 32 minutes this year and the Huskies don’t have the bodies to throw at Edey if Clingan sits for very long. I’m also betting that Boilermakers guard Braden Smith can’t possibly play worse than he did against NC State. In a game that should be tightly contested from start to finish, we’ll take the three-plus possessions with the Boilermakers and the National Player of the Year.

Check out our Purdue vs UConn National Championship Same Game Parlay at +937 odds

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