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Gonzaga vs Purdue Picks, Predictions & Player Props for the Sweet 16

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in College Basketball

Updated Mar 28, 2024 · 12:51 PM PDT

Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Nolan Hickman goes for a layup against the Purdue Boilermakers
Nov 20, 2023; Honolulu, Hawaii, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Nolan Hickman (11) drives to the basket defended by Purdue Boilermakers center Zach Edey (15) during the second half at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center. Mandatory Credit: Steven Erler-USA TODAY Sports
  • A regular-season rematch is on the Sweet 16 schedule in the Midwest Region when #5 Gonzaga faces #1 Purdue
  • The Boilermakers won and covered the teams’ earlier meeting this season
  • See the Gonzaga vs Purdue expert picks, predictions, and player props for March 29 in Detroit

A second neutral-site game between the #5 Gonzaga Bulldogs (27-7, 5-2 neutral, 17-16 ATS) and #1 Purdue Boilermakers (31-4, 7-1 neutral, 18-15-2 ATS) will take place on Friday, March 29, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI, as part of the Sweet 16. The winner will move onto the Elite Eight in the Midwest Region of the March Madness bracket.

The Gonzaga vs Purdue odds opened at Purdue -5.5 last Sunday and the spread remains unchanged as of Thursday night.

Gonzaga vs Purdue Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Gonzaga Bulldogs +5.5 (-110) +188 O 154.5 (-115)
Purdue Boilermakers -5.5 (-110) -230 U 154.5 (-105)

Purdue is still a 5.5-point favorite for Friday’s game and -230 on the moneyline. The total, however, has moved up significantly over the week: after opening at 152.5, the over/under has been bet up two full points to 154.5.

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The winner of Gonzaga vs Purdue will face the winner of #3 Creighton vs #2 Tennessee on Sunday in a very chalky Midwest Region. The Boilermakers enter the Sweet 16 as a +120 favorite to win the Midwest in the latest Final Four odds. Gonzaga is the longest of the quartet at +500. Tennessee sits at +210 with Creighton at +450.

Gonzaga Steamrolls McNeese, Kansas

Mark Few’s Bulldogs have been nothing short of sensational while reach the school’s ninth straight Sweet 16. Gonzaga blew out upset-minded McNeese (86-65) as 6.5-point favorites in the first round, and then used a big second half to gap Kansas (89-68) in the round of 32 as 4.5-point chalk.

Gonzaga’s depth has been on display so far. Five different Zags were in double figures both wins, while eight scored at least seven points in the McNeese game.

YouTube video

Point guard Ryan Nembhard has only scored 13 points combined in the tournament (after scoring at least 13 in the five previous games) but his ball-handling and vision have been crucial to Gonzaga’s success on offense. The junior Creighton transfer has 21 total assists so far and has dished out at least nine dimes in five straight.

Gonzaga’s size has been a big problem for both its Tournament opponents to date. With four rotation players 6’8 or taller, the Bulldogs finished +12 on the boards against McNeese, and +5 against Hunter Dickinson’s Jayhawks.

The first time they met Purdue this season, Gonzaga ended up on the wrong side of a 73-63 decision in Maui on Nov. 20, but that was due to cold shooting (37.7% from the field and 18.2% from three). The Zags actually managed to play Zach Edey and company even on the boards (38 rebounds apiece).

YouTube video

Purdue Dominates First Two Opponents

Coming off a devastating first-round loss to #16 Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round last year – becoming just the second #1 team to lose in the first round – Purdue showed no jitters in the first weekend. The Boilermakers ran over #16 Grambling State (78-50) before demolishing #8 Utah State (106-67) in a game that was decided by the 17-minute mark after Purdue went on an 18-1 run to build a 15-point lead.

Soon-to-be two-time national player of the year Zach Edey has been as advertised. The 7’4 center is averaging 26.5 points and 17.5 rebounds per game in the Tournament so far (after leading the nation at 24.5 PPG and finishing second in rebounding at 12.1 RPG during the regular season).

YouTube video

Purdue still sits third at KenPom in overall efficiency behind UConn and Houston, third on offense and 15th on defense. Unlike last season, when the offense was basically Edey-or-bust, this year’s Boilermakers have an excellent supporting cast. Sophomore Braden Smith, in particular, has developed into an elite point guard, averaging 12.3 PPG on a ludicrous 44% clip from beyond the arc, along with 7.3 assists per game, which is third in DI behind Marquette’s Tyler Kolek (7.9) and Minnesota’s Elijah Hawkins (7.5).

With Smith leading the way, Purdue currently ranks first out of all 362 DI teams in three-point percentage (40.9%). Last year, they shot just 32.2% from beyond the arc (276th).

GONZ  vs PUR Player Props

Player Points Rebounds Assists Three-Pointers Made
Anton Watson (GONZ) 13.5 (Ov -130 | Un -110) 6.5 (Ov -140 | Un -100) 2.5 (Ov -135 | Un -105) OFF
Ben Gregg (GONZ) 10.5 (Ov -100 | Un -140) 6.5 (Ov -105 | Un -135) OFF 1.5 (Ov +115 | Un -155)
Braden Smith (PUR) 12.5 (Ov -115 | Un -125) 5.5 (Ov +120 | Un -160) 6.5 (Ov -135 | Un -105) 1.5 (Ov +110 | Un -150)
Fletcher Loyer (PUR) 9.5 (Ov -135 | Un -105) OFF OFF 1.5 (Ov -100 | Un -140)
Graham Ike (GONZ) 16.5 (Ov -110 | Un -130) 7.5 (Ov +110 | Un -150) OFF OFF
Lance Jones (PUR) 11.5 (Ov -125 | Un -115) 3.5 (Ov +110 | Un -150) OFF 2.5 (Ov +130 | Un -170)
Mason Gillis (PUR) 6.5 (Ov -115 | Un -125) OFF OFF OFF
Nolan Hickman (GONZ) 13.5 (Ov -120 | Un -120) 2.5 (Ov +120 | Un -160) 2.5 (Ov -115 | Un -125) 1.5 (Ov -180 | Un +140)
Ryan Nembhard (GONZ) 12.5 (Ov -130 | Un -110) 3.5 (Ov -140 | Un -100) 7.5 (Ov -115 | Un -125) 1.5 (Ov +170 | Un -230)
Trey Kaufman-Renn (PUR) 6.5 (Ov -125 | Un -115) OFF OFF OFF
Zach Edey (PUR) 25.5 (Ov -110 | Un -130) 12.5 (Ov -135 | Un -105) 2.5 (Ov +130 | Un -170) OFF

Gonzaga vs Purdue college basketball player props from DraftKings on March 28, 2024.  

Edey’s point total has been set at 25.5, exactly one higher than his season average and half a point more than he scored in the first meeting with the Zags. His rebound total of 12.5 is 0.4 higher than his average; he finished the first game against Gonzaga with 14.

Graham Ike, Gonzaga’s leading scorer at 16.5 PPG, leads the Bulldog player at 16.5 points O/U, while Nembhard has the highest assist total at 7.5.

Gonzaga vs Purdue Predictions

The first matchup between the teams ended with a double-digit deficit but the game was competitive throughout. Gonzaga led by as many as nine in the first half (30-21) and were still up five at halftime (35-30). The Zags weren’t overwhelmed by Edey’s size inside and they are one of the few teams that has enough big bodies to really make the Purdue center work.

If Gonzaga shoots slightly better than it did in the first meeting, this game will be a back-and-forth affair. I love the value on the Zags’ moneyline at +188, which gives Gonzaga just a 34.72% implied win probability.

Gonzaga vs Purdue picks:

  • Gonzaga moneyline (+188)
  • Nembhard over 7.5 assists (-115)


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