Sunday College Basketball Odds, Picks for Florida vs. Maryland: Back Favored Gators to Cover Spread
James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Colin Castleton.
- Florida and Maryland meet Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn for a non-conference matchup.
- The Gators have dropped two of three after starting out 7-0 but face a Terrapins team working in a new coach.
- Collin Barnes takes an in-depth look below at this matchup and delivers his top selection.
Florida vs. Maryland Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Maryland Terrapins and Florida Gators will travel to Brooklyn to face off in the Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational on Sunday afternoon.
The Gators come into this game fresh off ending a two-game losing streak by taking down North Florida 85-55. The win couldn’t have come at a better time for Florida, who wasn’t expected to be a top-25 team this season.
After shocking the world and starting the season 7-0 with wins over Ohio State and Florida State, the Gators suffered losses to Oklahoma and 0-7 Texas Southern. The Gators have also recorded a solid 6-2 record against the spread this season.
Maryland, unfortunately, has had a polar opposite start to its season. The Terps came into the season ranked in the AP poll, but now nine games in, they have fired their head coach, sit on a 5-4 record and are trying to avoid a four-game losing streak for the first time since the 2004-05 season.
Interim head coach Danny Manning had just one day between taking over the team and its loss to Northwestern last Sunday. Now that he’s had a whole week to work with the team and attempt to make his changes, it will be interesting to see how they look with Manning at the helm. After this game, they will have an even more extended period to make adjustments, as the Terrapins won’t play next for 18 days.
Has one week been long enough for Manning to get this team on track? Or are the Terps looking ahead to the nearly three week-long break to recalibrate?
On the season, Florida is rated 24th according to KenPom. It averages 74.1 points per game and is 49th in adjusted offensive efficiency. The Gators are 16th in the nation on the defensive end, holding opponents to just 59.1 points per game.
Colin Castleton has been the clear leader for the Gators, averaging 15.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. He rarely shoots from outside the arc but has been dominant inside the paint all season. Florida as a whole hasn’t taken many shots from deep, but for a good reason, as it ranks 275th in three-point shooting, hitting at just 29.7%.
The defense has been the biggest strength for the Gators, limiting opponents to 41.5% shooting this season. And while they may not be in the top 50 nationally in offensive rebound percentage, they’re far enough ahead of Maryland that it should make a difference. Maryland collects just 26.7% of offensive rebounds, compared to Florida’s 32.2%.
Maryland has not only lost its last four games straight up, but it hasn’t covered a spread during that span either, now at 2-7 ATS on the season.
In their last game, the Terrapins were impressive from outside the arc, connecting on 43.5% of threes. But the remarkable performance was all for not as they couldn’t finish around the basket, hitting just seven of 36 two-point attempts.
The Terrapins are 92nd in adjusted offensive efficiency and 45th in adjusted defensive efficiency. They have a balanced team with four players averaging double figures, led by Eric Ayala with 13.1 points per game. And even though they are 5-4 on the season, it’s important to remember they’ve faced the 108th most difficult strength of schedule.
There have been a lot of issues for this Maryland team, the most significant being its shooting. Currently ranked 227th in two-point shooting and 302nd in three-point percentage. This team has scored 71 points or more just four times this season.
But with Danny Manning now overseeing the team, there is hope for change. The most necessary change is an improvement from transfers Fatts Russell and Qudus Wahab. Both players seem to have taken steps backward since arriving in College Park.
Florida vs. Maryland Betting Pick
Maryland is hungry for a win, and I understand that. But I think this game is more of an opportunity for Danny Manning to see if changes he’s made are working, and if not, what can he do over the 18 days after this game before conference play begins to get them on track.
Florida, meanwhile, seems to have been humbled against Oklahoma and Texas Southern and now has the focus it needs to make a strong run the rest of the year and into conference play. The Gators have been the better team on both ends of the floor this season, and I think they only get better here against a team that has a lot to figure out.
The Gators should also take advantage of a team averaging 12.8 turnovers per game. On defense, the Gators have been able to force 18.2 per contest and rank 10th in the nation.
I’m taking the Gators at -4 and would take them as high as -5.5.