When you sign-up through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more >

Purdue Boilermakers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Prediction: Can Purdue Lock Up Big Ten Regular Season Title?

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published March 5, 2024
10 min read

The Purdue Boilermakers (26-3, 15-3 in the Big Ten) head to hostile territory in Champaign to face the Illinois Fighting Illini (22-7, 13-5 in the Big Ten) with a chance to secure the Big Ten regular season title outright. Earlier this season, Purdue narrowly escaped with a five-point home win against a Terrence Shannon-less Fighting Illini squad after blowing a 21-point lead. 

Illinois played strategic defense on Zach Edey in that matchup, holding him to merely 10 points despite Edey hitting all five field goal attempts. We can expect a similar approach in this game!

Can the Fighting Illini finish the job on Tuesday night and secure a win against Purdue, one of the best teams in the nation? Take a look at our Purdue Boilermakers versus Illinois Fighting Illini prediction, betting odds, and betting pick below to find out!

Purdue Boilermakers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Prediction

Purdue Boilermakers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Betting Odds for Tuesday, Mar. 5

The Purdue Boilermakers enter this Big Ten matchup against the 12th-ranked Illinois Fighting Illini as one-point road underdogs. This season, the Boilermakers are 4-5 against the spread in away games, while Illinois is 7-8-2 ATS at the State Farm Center. Further, Purdue has moneyline odds of -102 to secure a conference-clinching road win, and Illinois is a -118 favorite to win its 16th home game of the season.

Meanwhile, the point total rests at 164.5 points, with -110 odds for both the over and the under. Purdue has a 20-9 over record during the 2023-24 campaign, often eclipsing the point total easily. Illinois also has a terrific “Over” team this year, boasting a 21-8 (72.4%) record, the third-highest percentage of any team in the nation.

Purdue Boilermakers+1 (-110)-102Over 164.5 (-110)
Illinois Fighting Illini-1 (-110)-118Under 164.5 (-110)

Odds from BetMGM Sportsbook. Use our BetMGM promo code WSNMGM - bet $5, get $150 in bonus bets.
*Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Add’l terms.

Purdue Boilermakers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Prediction

The last time these two teams faced off, the Illinois Fighting Illini nearly overcame a massive 21-point deficit in the second half at Mackey Arena to win. However, they fell just five points short. Illinois got an enormous performance from Marcus Domask, who finished with 26 points, but it was not quite enough due to the massive hole the Fighting Illini dug themselves through the first two-thirds of the game. 

On the other side, the Purdue Boilermakers got a career outing from Trey Kaufman-Renn. He finished with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor. Illinois’ entire approach to the game was to make somebody not named “Zach Edey” beat it, and it nearly worked. The 7-foot-4 reigning Wooden Award winner finished with 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting, a season-low for the dominant center. Another interesting result of this approach is that Edey only shot three free throws.

It will be slightly different this time, as the Fighting Illini’s leading scorer, Terrence Shannon Jr., will be available for this game. He was sidelined due to a suspension in this first matchup. The Fighting Illini will also be playing in front of their fans at the State Farm Center, giving them a home-court advantage. Illinois has put together a rock-solid 15-2 record at home this season! 

The Fighting Illini are winners of eight of their past ten games in the Big Ten, keeping them within striking distance of Purdue for the top spot in the conference standings. It remains unlikely that Illinois will be able to catch the Boilers, as it would require the Fighting Illini to steal a huge home win in this game and for Purdue to lose in its final game against Wisconsin. Still, Illinois could get a slightly better seed in the NCAA Tournament with a win here and maintain its recent momentum into the Big Ten conference tournament

The Fighting Illini are a dangerous team when healthy and available. They have many uber-talented offensive weapons, including Terrence Shannon Jr., Marcus Domask, Quincy Guerrier, and Coleman Hawkins. In fact, this team currently ranks third in the nation in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency metric. They are also sixth in points per game, 37th in effective field goal percentage (seventh over their past three games), and 17th in offensive rebounding percentage.

Shannon, in particular, has been playing exceptionally well, averaging more than 25 points per game on a 47/36/81 shooting split in his past nine outings. His month-long suspension earlier in the season forced players like Domask, Hawkins, and Guerrier to step up offensively. Now, the Fighting Illini are a force on that end of the floor. Unfortunately, they have taken some significant steps backward defensively, which could be problematic against this high-octane Boilermakers offense.

Purdue took everything it lacked last season, including secondary scoring and three-point shooting, and turned them into strengths. That can only be a good sign for the Boilers entering the Big Ten Conference tournament and the NCAA Tournament! The Boilers barely made more than 32% of their three-point attempts in the 2022-23 campaign but are now converting more than 40% (second in the nation) of their attempts. 

Their roster has largely remained the same, except for Brandon Newman transferring out and Lance Jones transferring into the program. A substantial amount of credit should be given to head coach Matt Painter for identifying these weaknesses and finding ways to make them the best part of the team.

Zach Edey has also taken giant steps forward this season, even if they aren’t quite as identifiable in the box score. His improvements in lateral quickness and physical shape have helped make this team even more unbeatable. Can Illinois keep its Big Ten regular season title hopes alive with a win against the third-ranked Boilermakers? Find our prediction and betting pick for this bout below!

Wager $5 at BetMGM Sportsbook, and use our code WSNMGM for $150 in Bonus Bets.
*Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Add’l terms.

Purdue Boilermakers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Betting Pick

Scarcely have the Purdue Boilermakers been underdogs this season, whether at home or on the road. In fact, Purdue has only played one game as an underdog, and it covered in that bout. However, this is not a spot to back the Boilers.

Purdue has been beatable at times on the road, dropping bouts to Northwestern, Nebraska, and Ohio State. The Boilermakers’ drop in play on the road could cause issues in this matchup. They score 12 fewer points per game and shoot roughly six percent lower from the field and nine percent lower from behind the arc away from Mackey.

Additionally, Illinois holds opponents to 14 fewer points on the 23rd-lowest effective field goal percentage at State Farm Center, even though it is a poor defensive team overall. The Fighting Illini are also almost as good of a rebounding team as Purdue and rank seventh in total rebounding rate on their home floor. 

The bottom line is that it took a career night from Trey Kaufman-Renn, who finished with 23 points, to hold off the Shannon-less Fighting Illini at Mackey Arena. Shannon is back and has been unstoppable recently, posting more than 25 points per game in his past nine outings. Further, this game will take place at State Farm Center, where Illinois boasts a 15-2 record. The only losses the Fighting Illini have suffered at home this season were against No. 8 Marquette back in November and against Maryland without Shannon Jr. in the lineup. 

Further, it is worth noting that the Fighting Illini only let Zach Edey shoot five times in their first matchup. The Fighting Illini are among the few teams with a frontcourt that is deep enough and big enough to contest Edey. 

How to Watch Purdue Boilermakers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini

  • When: Tuesday, Mar. 5 @ 4:00/7:00 p.m. PT/ET

  • Where: State Farm Center, Champaign, IL

  • TV: Peacock

If you or someone you know needs support or wants to speak with a professional about responsible gambling, seek out the correct resources. Call 1-800-GAMBLER to get help, or visit 1800gambler.net for more information. WSN is an advocate for safe gambling practices.

21+ | Terms and conditions apply
Claim Now
Image for Andrew Norton


Andrew Norton

148 Articles

Andrew has always been an avid sports fan and followed his hoop dreams all the way to college. He’s well-versed in everything betting with multiple years of experience and is qualitatively and quantitatively knowledgeable in sports statistics and analytics.

More info on Andrew Norton
We've been featured on:
espn logo
reuters logo
cbs-news logo
forbes logo
entrepreneur logo
entrepreneur logo
We only list licensed sportsbooks

© Rebel Penguin ApS 2024 (a subsidiary of Gaming Innovation Group Inc.)

We support responsible gambling. 21+ Only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-Gambler.

WSN.com is run by iGaming Cloud Inc (a Gaming Innovation Group Subsidiary) and is registered with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) under affiliate vendor ID 89744, with the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) under certificate of registration number SWR-000148, approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as a gaming service provider, under certificate registration number 117656-1, possesses a Vendor Minor sports betting license from the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (account number 94414163), granted a vendor registration number VR007603-20-001 by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, an interim Sports Wagering Supplier license, under license number SWS 066, issued by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, a sports betting vendor registration, under registration number #100400, issued by the Director of Gaming Licensing and Investigations of the Virginia Lottery to operate in the State of Virginia, and a Vendor Registration issued by the Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.

Advertising disclosure: WSN contains links to online retailers on its website. When people click on our affiliate links and make purchases, WSN earns a commission from our partners, including ESPN and various sportsbooks.