UCLA vs Maryland Odds, Picks | Time for Terps to Bounce Back?
Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Jahmir Young (Maryland)
UCLA vs Maryland Odds
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
Since its pair of early-season losses, UCLA has won five straight, including two over Pac-12 foes.
Maryland, meanwhile, looks to right the ship after a blistering start ended with back-to-back losses.
Can the Terps get the better of the Bruins on Wednesday night at home, or will UCLA play spoiler as the underdog?
This UCLA team is one of the more interesting squads in the Pac-12. Co-favorites alongside Arizona, the Bruins are off to an 8-2 start. But aside from their pair of wins against Oregon and Stanford, they have struggled against top-tier competition.
Early in the season, the Bruins dropped back-to-back games against Illinois and Baylor. They’ve taken advantage of lesser programs since, but their first true road test against a top-25 team (Maryland) awaits.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. has taken his role as the star of this offense in stride with Johnny Juzang leaving for professional endeavors. The Bruins are seventh in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, and Jaquez averages 17.4 points per game.
UCLA has five players averaging 9.9 points or more and is one of the most disciplined offenses in college hoops. Mick Cronin’s squad has a mixture of veteran experience and talented freshmen.
The Bruins rank seventh in turnover rate and score 62.6% of their points on 2s (sixth in the country).
The Bruins are efficient with their looks. David Singleton ranks 16th in offensive rating (per KenPom) and both Adem Bona (42) and Jaylen Clark (58) aren’t too far behind.
Defensively, this is an athletic bunch that ranks 15th in turnover rate.
But this UCLA team that is filled with so much potential has some obvious holes, which have shown against top competition.
For starters, the Bruins rank 259th in 2-point defense. The soft interior has come due to a lack of true size. Bona is their 6-foot-10 center, but he’s a freshman and averages just 19.4 minutes per game. Kenneth Nwuba has filled in too, but he’s been largely ineffective on the defensive end.
Baylor and Illinois shot a combined 55.6% on 2s against UCLA and even Stanford (57.7) and Oregon (62.5) gave the Bruins a run for their money.
Their backcourt isn’t the issue — their length and ability to pressure on the perimeter forces opponents inside — but talented teams can take advantage on the inside.
The ceiling is limitless for Cronin’s squad, but the Bruins are still lacking an impressive win. They have taken care of business against the Bellarmines and Pepperdines of the world, but now draw a beast in the Terrapins.
A blistering 8-0 start to the season has been met with back-to-back losses for Kevin Willard’s squad.
This Maryland team has been through the ringer in the non-conference. The Terps blew the doors off Saint Louis and No. 25 Miami (FL) and added an impressive win against No. 18 Illinois at the XFINITY Center. Their last two losses have come against No. 22 Wisconsin on the road and No. 6 Tennessee.
Unlike the previous few years, this Maryland team is efficient and relentless. The Terps are 21st in 2-point offense and are great on the offensive glass. Julian Reese has taken a sophomore-year leap and leads the team in rebounds (7.6) while shooting 75% from the floor.
The difference from last year’s team to this year’s is Jahmir Young. The Charlotte transfer has been a breath of fresh air leading this offense, and leads the Terps in points (15.6) and assists (3.4) while being used on nearly 30% of possessions when on the floor.
Young has been the perfect leader for this offense and is surrounded by one of the most experienced rosters in college. Aside from Reese, no player is of junior standing or below.
And unlike the previous few years when Maryland ranked in the 200s in 3-point defense, the Terps are now top-30. It comes as no surprise given Willard’s success at Seton Hall, but the length inside has also led to plenty of disruption.
As a team, Maryland ranks 16th in eFG% on defense. The Terps don’t force many turnovers, but they’re difficult to break down and attack. Opponents need to find success early and often against them because this offense can quickly turn a game non-competitive.
Of their eight wins, only one has come under a 16-point margin.
UCLA vs. Maryland Betting Pick
I love backing the Terps here at home.
There remains a lot of uncertainty surrounding this UCLA squad. While the Bruins’ offense ranks inside the top 10 in both turnover rate and adjusted efficiency, only two of UCLA’s wins have come against teams ranked inside of KenPom’s top 100.
One of those wins came against Oregon. The Ducks controlled the entire game until the final 10 minutes, when they struggled to score and were sloppy. That won’t happen against a veteran team like Maryland, especially at home.
This is just a great matchup for the Terps. Their best attribute is their length, and they have an evident size advantage inside against UCLA. That’s where the Bruins operate on offense and even if they try to attack from 3, Maryland has those bases covered, too.
There’s no question Maryland is going to be ready for this game against UCLA. It’s the biggest home game of the season thus far, and the XFINITY Center will be rocking.
While I think the Bruins are a long-term play and I expect Bona and Amari Bailey to grow into their own as the season progresses, this is their second true road game and they draw a smart, experienced Terps squad that should feast both on the glass and inside.