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Connecticut vs. Maryland Betting Odds: Spread, Analysis For NCAA Tournament First Round (March 19, 2021)

Connecticut vs. Maryland Betting Odds: Spread, Analysis For NCAA Tournament First Round (March 19, 2021) article feature image

Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Polley.

  • Connecticut takes on Maryland in the 2021 NCAA Tournament (Saturday, 7:10 p.m. ET, CBS).
  • DraftKings odds list UConn as a 3-point favorite, with the total at 130. The Huskies have a go-to scorer in James Bouknight and Maryland has been wildly inconsistent this year.
  • Get our UConn vs. Maryland breakdown and updated odds below.

Maryland vs. Connecticut Odds

Maryland Odds+3
UConn Odds-3
Moneyline+133 / -155
TimeSaturday, 7:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Sunday and via DraftKings

If you’re looking for a first-round lock, your search can end here.

Connecticut is stifling and efficient on the defensive end (28th in the country in defensive eFG%), and the Huskies have a player in James Bouknight who can take them to another level on the offensive end. The sophomore guard is averaging 19 points per game on 45/30/81 shooting splits, and has carried the UConn offense during large stretches of the season.

Maryland isn’t particularly good on either end of the court. The Terrapins have two offensive weapons in Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala, plus the Big Ten Defensive Player Of The Year in Darryl Morsell, but are simply too streaky to trust against an opponent of UConn’s quality.

Maryland boasts a few huge wins (Illinois, Purdue, Wisconsin), but is just 1-3 SU and ATS in its last four, with outright losses to Northwestern and Penn State. Meanwhile, Connecticut covered five straight before its close loss to Creighton in the Big East Tournament.

UConn is playing too well and Maryland is too inconsistent to trust the Terps in this spot. I like the Huskies to roll. — Tanner McGrath

How Connecticut & Maryland Match Up

All stats via KenPom.

What To Know About Connecticut

The Huskies have battled through the absence of star guard James Bouknight and three separate COVID-19 pauses and are now peaking at the perfect time. They are 14-6 overall, including 11-6 in conference play. Heading into the Big East tournament, UConn won four games in a row and six of its last seven. This team had the best against the spread mark entering the Big East Tournament at 15-5.

Bouknight returned on Feb. 16 to give UConn the elite scorer it needs to win deep into March. Bouknight (20.2 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 80.3% FT) has scored 20 or more points in three of the past four games. He is capable of putting together a Kemba Walker type run.

Head coach Danny Hurley has the best defensive team in the Big East, leading the conference in adjusted defensive efficiency, effective field goal percentage, and 2-point percentage allowed (KenPom). The Huskies have a deep roster filled with multiple big men that comprise the best defensive block percentage in the Big East. They are also relentless when it comes to defending the perimeter. It’s just an all-around elite defensive team.

The Huskies feature athletic and long defenders such as 6-foot-9 freshman Adama Sanogo, who tallied 16 points, nine rebounds, two blocks, and a steal in the team’s 69-58 win at Seton Hall. Hurley’s emphasis on on-ball pressure is reflected by three players averaging more than 1.2 steals per game. You better have multiple ball-handlers if you want to face this vaunted defense.

It’s a well-balanced team with an identity that also has a star player it can go to in the clutch when it needs a bucket. That’s an enormous luxury to have in the tournament. And when their shots aren’t falling, they can survive on the offensive backboard, where they rank sixth in the country. The ceiiling is the sky for this team so they warrant serious final 4 consideration. — Mike Randle

What To Know About Maryland

The Terps are an all-around solid team, ranking 43rd in adjusted offensive efficiency and 26th defensively. Playing at a pace that ranks 313th, though, they’re not going to blow anyone out of the water. Maryland has played college basketball’s 11th-toughest schedule, which comes with the territory of playing in the Big Ten. That has given them a ton of experience that could help in the Big Dance, however. The Terps lost three of their last four, including a pair in the regular season to lowly Penn State and Northwestern, so they’re unlikely to be a sexy pick to make a deep run in March. But this team has plenty of perimeter talent and flashed its potential in a number of impresive road wins during Big Ten play.

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The Terps aren’t deep and don’t run much of anything through the post, but when they are making their outside shots — they own a top-50 three-poin rate — they can hang with anybody. The problem is they are subpar on the offensive glass, so when the shots aren’t falling, it’s lots of one-and-done possessions. This is definitely a high-variance team if you’re looking for a potential squad to pull off an upset or two that not many other bracket builders will pick. They ideally want to avoid teams with excellent post play and would be better off in a game that is played at a faster pace. The defense is very versatile but hardly ever forces turnovers. — Matt Trebby

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