The Daily Sweat: No. 1 Purdue isn't going anyway anytime soon

When the season started, Purdue had a good big man in Zach Edey and a lot of questions.

Then it became apparent that Edey was actually a great college big man, and the Boilermakers might be the best team in the sport.

Purdue is 21-1, No. 1 in the polls and a 10.5-point favorite against Penn State at BetMGM for Wednesday's game. Edey is the national player of the year favorite. Purdue is not the betting favorite to win the national championship, however. They're tied for the second-best odds, at +900. Houston is the favorite.

It has been a long time since Purdue made a Final Four. The Boilermakers' last time was 1980. Maybe that's a reason why they aren't a favorite to win it all this season. There's little other reason to doubt them.

Purdue's lone loss was by 1 point to Rutgers. Other than that they've handled every other test. They beat teams like Duke, Gonzaga and Marquette in non-conference play. They're running away with a tough Big Ten, with some quality wins at home and on the road too. The Boilermakers lost Jaden Ivey, the fifth pick of the 2022 NBA draft, and got better. It's impressive.

The Boilermakers have gotten immediate contributions from freshmen, especially in the backcourt, and maybe that youth will be an issue in March. Edey, a 7-4 bruiser averaging 22.1 points and 13 rebounds, will be tough to stop no matter what. Nobody has been able to slow him down yet.

If the Boilermakers win as a double-digit favorite on Wednesday, they have a great showdown at Indiana on Saturday. If they win that, they could run the table until the Big Ten tournament. They should be favored in every other game the regular season. Purdue would be an easy No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, and perhaps this is the season they finally get back to the final weekend of the Big Dance.

Purdue center Zach Edey (15) is having a monster season for the top-ranked Boilermakers. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Purdue center Zach Edey (15) is having a monster season for the top-ranked Boilermakers. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Here's a first look at the sports betting slate for Wednesday:

Two ranked Big East teams face off

The lone game between ranked teams Wednesday is in the Big East, as No. 17 Providence is at No. 16 Xavier. Xavier is a 3.5-point favorite. Providence was supposed to regress after all of its close wins last season but the Friars are tied for first place in the Big East. Xavier, Providence and Marquette are 9-2 and Wednesday's game is a huge one in the league race.

The No. 2-ranked team in college basketball is also playing. Second-ranked Tennessee is a 5.5-point favorite at Florida. Tennessee should handle 12-9 Florida, though it's tough to consistently win betting road favorites in college hoops.

NBA has an ESPN doubleheader

The steam got let out of the first game of ESPN's doubleheader for Wednesday. The Boston Celtics face the Brooklyn Nets, who are still without Kevin Durant. The Nets have done fine without Durant but they're far from elite with their best player out. The Celtics are 8.5-point favorites.

The second game could be better too. The Atlanta Hawks are at the Phoenix Suns, who are just 27-25 as they continue to play without injured Devin Booker. The Suns are a small 1.5-point favorite.

Bruins-Leafs highlights light NHL slate

There are only two games in the NHL but one is pretty good. The Boston Bruins, the best team in hockey this season, are at the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are 31-12-8. The Bruins are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup at +450 and Toronto has the fourth-best odds at +900. For Wednesday's game the Bruins are a -125 road favorite.

What's the best bet?

I'll take the Maple Leafs as a home +105 underdog. The Maple Leafs are 20-4-4 at home. Boston will get Toronto's best shot in what is a bit of a statement game, and the Bruins have lost three in a row.