A thrilling NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament that has featured countless twists and turns has come down to one game -- the national championship matchup set for Monday at 9:20 p.m. ET. Despite all the unpredictable upsets in the 2024 edition of March Madness, a pair of No. 1 seeds have emerged on top, and the UConn Huskies will be defending their NCAA title against the Purdue Boilermakers.

Purdue vs UConn Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under – March Madness Men's Final Betting Lines 4/8

Moneyline: Purdue (+240), UConn (-300)
Spread: Purdue +6.5 (-105), UConn -6.5 (-115)
Total: Over/Under 145.5 points

Purdue vs. UConn Injury Report

Both teams will be at full strength for the championship game, which should make for an elite-level final.

Purdue vs. UConn Prediction and Picks

First off, we have to talk about the Connecticut Huskies, who are looking to add their names to the record books in becoming the first team to win back-to-back NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament championships since Florida accomplished the feat in 2006 and 2007. To reach this year's finale, the Huskies had to get past Alabama in semifinal action at the Final Four in Phoenix on Saturday.

Alabama had been one of the hottest teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament, and five different Crimson Tide players managed to score 20 points in at least one game this season. The Tide were practically stirring memories of the Miami Heat’s unlikely 2023 NBA playoff run, because shot after Alabama shot was simply going into the net. Basketball is a game of averages, and with so many possessions in a single contest, having the hot hand and being able to convert shots at a higher rate than one’s opponent can completely forgive a less disciplined team. That’s exactly what we saw from Alabama through this year’s NCAA Tournament -- particularly in the first half against UConn.

What might not get as much attention in the wake of the Tide’s Final Four loss to the Huskies is the fact that Alabama’s high-scoring offense in fact struggled during the first half of that game. Connecticut head coach Dan Hurley’s defense made it tough on Tide star Mark Sears in the interior, although he did find some success, and ‘Bama was forced to shoot a high volume of threes.

The only problem for UConn in that half was that Alabama made those tougher shots -- sinking 72 percent of 11 attempts from beyond the arc. It was a completely unsustainable pace for an entire game, but it kept the score close by halftime, when the Huskies held a narrow 44-40 lead. It was no surprise, however, when the Tide ran out of gas about midway through the second half. That’s when UConn went on an 11-2 run, capped off by a Tristan Newton 3-point jumper, which gave the Huskies a 67-58 lead.

After taking control of the game, Hurley and the Huskies tried to hold the ball and force longer possessions to wind down the clock. During that stretch, Donovan Clingan came up huge -- scoring eight of his 18 total points in the waning moments to put the game away. UConn emerged with an 86-72 victory in a game that saw the Huskies tested more than they had been in any NCAA Tournament game over the past two years. That fact alone is truly a testament to how incredibly good and consistent the UConn program is right now.

The key takeaway from this game should be that UConn just doesn’t make errors, even though the Huskies have demonstrated that time and time again. Connecticut is by far the most well-rounded team in college basketball, and all five of its starters scored at least 12 points on Saturday. Cam Spencer led the way from 3-point range, and Clingan was the main man in the post. Hurley’s players, however, do so much more at a high level than simply scoring points. They truly win in every facet of the game, and that showed against the Crimson Tide on Saturday.

Alabama has an incredible team with many talented scorers and playmakers, but the Tide do not have a game-wrecker like Purdue’s Zach Edey. That begs the question: Can UConn maintain its advantage on the boards when the Huskies have to face Edey on Monday? No one will know for certain until the game is played, but Purdue’s performance on Saturday in its semifinal win over NC State proved a lot.

The Wolfpack had an amazing season, and they were an amazing Cinderella story for this year’s NCAA Tournament. NC State’s two DJs (Burns and Horne) helped deliver an extremely entertaining bracket run. Unfortunately for Wolfpack fans, that run ended on Saturday when their red-hot team went up against Edey and the Boilermakers. NC State’s main concern going into that game was the suspicion that DJ Burns, who had provided his team with an incredible mismatch opportunity against every previous tournament opponent, would get a taste of his own medicine against Edey. Burns is listed at 6-foot-9 and 275 pounds, but Edey is 7 inches taller and 25 pounds heavier. That size difference became the story of the game.

Burns, NC State’s star and tournament hero, was held to just eight points in 27 of playing time after getting into early foul trouble against Purdue. Although DJ Horne was able to contribute a nice 20-point performance on Saturday, the Wolfpack were flat-out outmanned and outmatched by the Boilermakers. They couldn’t create space under the basket in the way they were accustomed to, which led to tough sledding at the perimeter. The Boilermakers scored the game’s first points and led from start to finish in what turned out to be a low-scoring affair, although Edey did what he always does in recording another 20 points as part of a double-double.

Based on what we learned from the two semifinals on Saturday, what seems most intriguing about the championship game matchup is how UConn’s Clingan will fare against Edey. NC State decided it wasn’t going to foul the Purdue big man in the paint -- instead relying on Burns to leverage his own size -- and that became a huge liability. Clingan feels like a much better man-on-man matchup against Edey, so it will be interesting to see if Purdue can maximize Edey’s size advantage as it has done against other opponents.

What appears to be a much bigger advantage for UConn, however, is guard play. Stephon Castle, Tristen Newton, and Cam Spencer are all very good 3-point shooters and playmakers, and Purdue might very well be outmatched in that respect. Although we have seen flashes of long-range success from the Boilermakers’ guards, Braden Smith has been very inconsistent, and I don’t think Lance Jones or Fletcher Loyer have the scoring upside of anyone in the Huskies’ starting lineup when it comes to this matchup.

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Spread Bet

The spread is set at 6.5 points in favor of UConn -- a huge decrease from the Huskies’ line against Alabama -- and that feels a little generous for Purdue. Although Alabama visibly tested the Huskies, head coach Dan Hurley’s team emerged with a 14-point victory and covered the 12-point spread. Even if Purdue makes this a close game, desperation free throws will likely inflate the final score’s margin of victory, so a 6.5-point spread in truth feels more like a straight up pick ‘em, in which I’ll gladly take UConn.

Purdue and UConn are clearly the two best teams in men’s college basketball today, and although this should be a great matchup, one must give UConn the edge here. This Huskies team almost feels as though it was constructed specifically to take down Purdue. UConn matches up against Zach Edey better than anyone else, and it has more firepower on the outside than the Boilermakers can muster.

The Pick: UConn -6.5 (-115)

The over/under for the game is 146 points, which would mean the teams would have to average 73 points in regulation time. That feels about right. The moneyline for Purdue vs. UConn makes the Huskies the favorite at -290 and Purdue the underdog at +235.

This should be an intense back-and-forth game, and since the points total seems manageable for both schools, any late fouls leading to free throws should send it over the top.

The Pick: Over 145.5 Points (-110)

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