Purdue finished the 2017 season 7-6 overall and 9-4 against the spread. The bottom line with Purdue is they tend to win the games they are supposed to win and stay relatively competitive against good teams. They are valuable when getting double digit odds, primarily because the defense keeps the team in games.
The projected starting quarterback is Elijah Sindelar, but he is recovering from an ACL injury so he may or may not be the Week 1 starter. He is capable, but not spectacular. The offensive line is good and the team has a large committee of capable running backs. It lacks talent at the receiver positions, but a conservative offense combined with capable defense helps keep them in games.
The defense made a major leap forward last season improving from allowing 38.3 points per game in 2016 to 20.5 points per game in 2017. The bad news is only 4 starters return on defense. The coaching staff is capable, but there will be some growing pains with the new faces and we expect this to affect overall performance, particularly early on in the season.
The over/under win total for Purdue is 6 and the odds to win the Big Ten are +4000. We expect Purdue to land right around the 6 number and do not project them to be a competitor to win the conference. We will pass on both opportunities.
Week #1 is a home game against Northwestern. Northwestern has won all recent games against Purdue and comes off a 10-3 season. They also return 7 starters on offense and 7 starters on defense. We expect Northwestern to emerge as victorious on Week #1. The line currently stands at Purdue -3 and we are going to play Northwestern with the points and on the money line.
Week #2 is a home game against Eastern Michigan who played a close game against Rutgers last season. That being said Purdue should outclass this team who is losing a few key players on offense, including its Quarterback and starting receivers from a year ago.
Week #3 is a home game against Missouri. Missouri is a a much improved program, having won their last six regular season games last season. They have a lot of fire power on offense. Purdue won by 32 on the road last season, but we expect Missouri to be much better than that game and Purdue to regress. This game is a tossup, but we’ll give a slight edge to Missouri so play them if getting points.
Week #4 is a home game against Boston College. Boston College is a middle of the road ACC team with a very good running back. We expect this game to be close. Watch the progress of the Purdue defense in the first three weeks. If they are not coming together and playing well, Boston College is a good play.
Week #5 is a road game against what will be a much improved Nebraska team with first year coach Scott Frost coming over from University of Central Florida. We expect this to be a tough matchup for Purdue and will reserve judgment on a play until we see the line.