College Basketball Odds, Picks and Predictions for Maryland vs. Michigan (Tuesday, Jan. 18)
Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images. Pictured: Eli Brooks (Michigan)
- Two teams with big preseason expectations meet in Ann Arbor on Tuesday evening.
- The Terps fired Mark Turgeon earlier this season and have struggled while the Wolverines have just one win in the Big Ten.
- Tanner McGrath breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.
Maryland vs. Michigan Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Big Ten play continues with these two conference powerhouses matching up in Ann Arbor Tuesday night.
Unfortunately, this is not the Maryland-Michigan of old.
Maryland has started Big Ten play 1-5 and has non-conference losses to George Mason and Louisville. Meanwhile, Michigan is 7-7 overall and 1-3 in conference play.
Both programs have severely underperformed relative to their preseason expectations.
So, will one team begin to turn things around in this game? Or, are we in for a rock fight between two bad basketball teams?
The Terps’ struggles are squarely on the backcourt’s shoulders.
Fatts Russell and Eric Ayala were supposed to constitute one of the conference’s best backcourts. They’re combining to average over 28 points per game, but both are also shooting less than 40% from the field.
Behind their offensive leadership, Maryland is sub-250 nationally in eFG%. And I don’t see a ton of positive regression in the future.
Behind its defensive leadership, Maryland is 320th in defensive turnover rate, including 233rd in steal rate. There isn’t a lot of solid perimeter defense happening for the Terps.
Qudus Wahab has been relatively productive. He’s putting up 8.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game while shooting over 56% from the field. He’s also top-50 nationally in defensive rebounding rate and anchors a defense that’s top-50 in 2-point percentage (46.2% allowed).
All-in-all, this version of Maryland isn’t playing well despite a high level of talent. This is a big reason why the Terps canned Mark Turgeon earlier in the season.
And it doesn’t get easier. KenPom projects Maryland as an underdog in its next eight games.
While things might be bad in College Park, things are tragic in Ann Arbor.
Michigan has lost three of its last four, with three of those losses coming by double digits. The other one was a road loss to Rutgers.
It’s wild to think the Wolverines were favored to win the Big Ten in the preseason.
There’s a number of issues with the Wolverines. Brandon Johns and Caleb Houstan aren’t replicating the wing production from last season. DeVante’ Jones has shown inconsistency transitioning to power conference ball. And Hunter Dickinson missed the last game due to injury.
However, let’s focus on the perimeter defense.
Michigan is 340th nationally in defensive turnover rate and 11th in the conference in turnover margin. The Wolverines also rank in the seventh percentile in pick-and-roll defense (.889 PPP) and in the 11th percentile in ball-screen defense (1.105 PPP).
Michigan is getting shredded by opposing guards. Dickinson is a monstrous interior presence and a solid post defender, but the guys in front of him are getting no ball pressure and allowing easy driving and scoring opportunities.
Maryland vs. Michigan Betting Pick
Both these teams have one thing in common: poor backcourt defense.
But both teams also share talented offensive weapons that have underperformed to date.
I believe that sets us up for a high-scoring affair.
Look for Jones, Eli Brooks, Russell and Ayala to boat-race each other in this matchup. And because of everyone’s general ineptitude this season, we get to bet the over at a relatively low 137.
The over has hit in five straight games between Maryland and Michigan, and the total has breezed over 137 in four straight. In fact, the Terps and Wolverines have averaged 151 points per game in their four most recent meetings.
Expect more of the same Tuesday night.
Pick: Over 137 (Bet to 138.5)
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