Maryland vs. Wisconsin College Basketball Odds & Picks: Bet the Badgers Early
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Micah Potter.
- Big Ten basketball action picks back up on Monday night as the Wisconsin Badgers host the Maryland Terrapins.
- Wisconsin has impressed recently, while Maryland has fallen flat, especially early in games.
- Tanner McGrath explains why he's backing the Badgers in the first half below.
Maryland vs. Wisconsin Odds
|Maryland Odds||+9.5 [BET NOW]|
|Wisconsin Odds||-9.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+400 / -556 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||137.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Monday, 7 p.m. ET|
The Big Ten has incredible games every night. Monday is no different.
Tonight, the Maryland Terrapins will travel to Madison and face the Wisconsin Badgers in a battle between two teams with very different stories this season.
Wisconsin has found its identity, while Maryland looks lost. The line opened at Wisconsin -10, and KenPom projections have the Badgers winning by nine.
The Terrapins are resilient, and the Big Ten is never short on surprises. However, Wisconsin is the much better team, and I think it holds value in the first half.
Without Jalen Smith and Anthony Cowan, the Terrapins haven’t found their leader.
Maryland is 2-3 straight up and 1-4 against the spread in its last five games. The Terrapins suffered bad losses to Clemson and Rutgers and most recently lost a hard-fought game to Purdue. They’ve played only three KenPom top-100 teams and lost to all three of them.
For the lack of leadership, Maryland’s offense is still fairly effective. The Terrapins shoot 56.5% from 2-point range and boast a 55% effective field goal percentage. Additionally, it turns the ball over just 10.4 times per game, good for 24th in the nation.
Junior Eric Ayala leads the team in scoring with 14.4 points per game on 49.3% shooting.
Maryland has really struggled with perimeter defense. Its opponents are shooting 36.3% from 3-point range on 20.5 attempts per game, both stats that rank bottom-15 in the country. Additionally, it’s forced only nine turnovers per game, the second-fewest in the country.
Finally, Maryland is shooting just 68.7% from the free-throw line this season. The Terrapins don’t have a go-to guy and can’t close out games at the stripe. That’s a formula for disaster, especially in the loaded Big ten.
Wisconsin ranks fourth in KenPom adjusted efficiency. Fourth. The last time the Badgers were this good, Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker were playing Duke in the 2015 national championship game.
Like Maryland, Wisconsin doesn’t have a go-to guy, either. But for Wisconsin, this approach is working. Greg Gard has four guys averaging 10-plus points per game, with Senior Micah Potter leading the way at 13.1.
Wisconsin’s offense is predicated on outside shooting and solid guard play.
The Badgers take almost 22 3s per game and make 41.8% of them (ninth in the country). They average 15.1 assists to just 8.3 turnovers each game, good for a 1.81 assist-to-turnover ratio. Finally, they’re shooting 77% from the free-throw line, which ranks them 32nd in the country.
However, Wisconsin makes its money on the defensive end. The Badgers have been dominant defensively, holding opponents to less than 60 points per game on 37.5% shooting. Their interior defense has been particularly impressive, as Wisconsin’s opponents are shooting just 39% from inside the arc.
The Badgers are 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS in their last five games. Their road win over Michigan State was particularly impressive, as they hadn’t won in East Lansing in 12 straight games with their last win coming in 2004.
Wisconsin, meanwhile, is 2-0 in the Big Ten and looking like a top-10 team in the country.
Betting Analysis & Pick
In both of Maryland’s road losses this season, it got crushed in the first half. The Terrapins were down 13 at the half against Purdue and 26 against Clemson.
The Clemson game is a good point of reference for tonight. Wisconsin’s defense is just as good as Clemson’s, and the Tigers bullied the Terrapins defensively. Maryland racked up a grand total of 15 points at the halfway point in that loss.
Maryland is going to struggle tonight. However, it’s played well in the second half of its losses this season, especially against Purdue. The 10-point spread makes me too nervous to side with the Badgers.
Therefore, I’m going to take Wisconsin in the first half. The Badgers will start the game energetic on defense, and their squad can shoot the lights out.
I’m expecting the 1H line to open at Wisconsin -6, and I feel comfortable betting it to -6.5.
Pick: Wisconsin 1H -6.5 or better.