Maryland vs. George Washington Basketball Updated Odds, Predictions: Bet the Terrapins to Cover on Thursday Night
G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images. Pictured: Eric Ayala.
Maryland vs. George Washington Odds
-110o / -110u
|George Washington Odds|
-110o / -110u
George Washington makes the nine-mile trip out of Washington D.C. and over to College Park on Thursday night as the Colonials take on Maryland in the second game of the season for both squads.
The Colonials held off a St. Francis (PA) second-half surge on Tuesday night and nearly gave the game away in the final minutes, holding on for a 79-76 home victory. There’s some expected growing pains for GW because it doesn’t have a ton of returning production and are reliant on transfers.
Maryland had a comfortable home victory against MAAC foe Quinnipiac, 83-69, at home. The result was never in doubt for the Terrapins, who did lose the final 10 minutes of the game once up 20 and failed to cover the spread as a big favorite.
George Washington was a bit fortunate to escape its game against St. Francis (PA) with a victory as St. Francis shot just 11.1% from 3. The GW defense looked like its 2020-21 self in the second half of the game once St. Francis shook some of its rust off.
The Colonials were an unmitigated disaster on the defensive end last season despite trying both man and zone concepts at various points. GW finished the season as the worst defense in the entire Atlantic 10.
They added two high-major transfers in Joe Bamisile (Virginia Tech) and Brendan Adams (UConn) to get more athletic and improve on the defensive end, but they still struggled mightily to get stops down the stretch on Tuesday night and will be facing an extremely long and athletic group in Maryland on Thursday night.
GW doesn’t have a ton of returning production, with 41% of minutes returning from last season.
One major returnee is Ricky Lindo, a 6-foot-8 forward and double-double machine. He’ll constantly be giving up multiple inches of height and reach on Thursday night against UMD’s improved center position, though.
It’s very hard to see how they keep pace with Maryland’s offense without playing at least decent half-court defense.
Mark Turgeon’s squad is known for its inconsistency, both in-game and game-to-game over past seasons. Slow starts have become a common occurrence for the Terrapins in the past and continue to be a concern when they’re lined as a big favorite against inferior teams.
Maryland returns just 45.5% of its minutes,per Bart Torvik, but the Terps did hit the transfer portal hard to replenish the losses.
Fatts Russell transferred from Rhode Island and is one of the best backcourt defenders in the entire country. He’s a great facilitator, as well, despite his shooting deficiencies.
The Terrapins have solved their big man crisis from last year with two players to fit the holes on the roster.
Qudus Wahab transferred from Georgetown and excelled in his first game after a stellar freshman year with the Hoyas.
Freshman big Julian Reese spelled him and although Turgeon mentioned conditioning concerns, he’s expected to play less than half of the game.
Maryland projects as one of the bigger teams in the country despite starting the 5-foot-11 Russell in the backcourt. Its wings have excellent length too.
Eric Ayala is back as more of a 2-guard, as he looks to find his shooting form from his underclassman days. He gets to be off the ball more and join Russell in the backcourt, while both Hakim Hart and and Donta Scott are back in the frontcourt for Turgeon’s squad.
The Terrapins had a down year last year but have a mix of both returning production and transfer additions to fill their holes. This makes them a potential surprise team in the second tier of the Big Ten behind the big four of Illinois, Purdue, Ohio State and Michigan at the top of the conference.
The ball has gotten stuck in the half court for Maryland’s offense at times in the past, and it’s often been a criticism of Turgeon. But with Russell running point, they should have no issues with shot creation or assists in this offense this season.
George Washington vs. Maryland Betting Pick
I’m lower on George Washington than the market and likely will be until Jamion Christian shows he can coach an effective defense with the current talent he has. The Colonials also need to begin to show some consistency after last year’s debacle.
The parts look better for GW this year on the wings especially, but they have very little experience playing together. The sum of those parts will take time to gel this season, if they ever gel at all.
The combination of Wahab and Reese will throw constant energy and length at Lindo all night and neutralize one of GW’s best scoring options. Russell will make this Terrapins offense flow much better this season, as Maryland easily could have covered the spread against Quinnipiac had the Bobcats not gotten red hot from 3 late.
While it’s always dangerous to bet on Turgeon’s Terps as a huge favorite, I’m looking to fade GW early and often early in the season.
Pick: Maryland -18 or better