Odds & Pick for Iowa vs. Maryland Basketball: High-Scoring Offenses Give the Total Value
Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Garza.
- Luka Garza leads Iowa into what could be a high-scoring affair on Thursday against Maryland.
- The Terrapins already have a top-10 win under their belt this season, but Iowa's incredible offensive attack is unlike any other in the country.
- BJ Cunningham breaks down how he's targeting the total in this Big Ten matchup.
Iowa vs. Maryland Odds
The No. 8 Iowa Hawkeyes head on the road Thursday to take on an upset-minded Maryland team.
Iowa survived a top-25 matchup last Saturday, walking away with a two-point road victory over Rutgers. According to KenPom, the Hawkeyes have the best offense in the country in terms of efficiency.
It’s been Iowa’s defense that has been the issue in its two losses this season, so the Hawkeyes will need to be sure they’re sharp on that end of the floor if they want to win the Big Ten this year.
Maryland is currently on a bit of a skid, having won two of their last six games. However, the Terrapins did pull off an upset over then-No. 8 Wisconsin back on Dec. 28, which shows they are capable of hanging with some of the top teams in the nation.
Can Maryland overcome its losing ways to pull off another upset?
When Iowa has the ball
The reason the Hawkeyes have the best offense in the country is that they have dynamic scorers at all five positions on the floor, not to mention the top scorer in college basketball, Luka Garza.
Garza is averaging 27.5 points per game and is a matchup problem for almost every team. However, it’s not just about the 6-foot-11 senior. Small forward Joe Wieskamp is second behind Garza by averaging 14.5 points.
Rather than try and break down each individual part of Iowa’s offense, I’ll simply put it like this: The Hawkeyes do everything well.
They’re an elite shooting team that takes care of the ball and crashes the offensive boards at a ridiculous rate. Maryland is going to have its hands full trying to keep Iowa under 90 points on Thursday.
Maryland, meanwhile, is an average team defensively, but the Terrapins have really struggled with forcing turnovers this season.
They are 292nd in turnover percentage and 290th in steal percentage, which isn’t going to bode well against an Iowa team that is top-five in turnover percentage allowed. Maryland is likely going to struggle to keep Iowa in check on Thursday.
When Maryland has the ball
The strength of this Maryland team is its offense, ranking 13th in offensive efficiency, according to KenPom. The reason for that: The Terrapins have shot the ball at an elite level this season, ranking inside the top 75 in both 2-point and 3-point percentage.
They’re led on offense by power forward Donta Scott, who is 26th in the country in offensive rating and is averaging over 12 points per game while shooting over 63% from the field. He will be a big problem for Iowa, which has struggled to defend the paint this season.
Iowa has two losses because of its No. 97 ranking in defensive efficiency, per KenPom. The main reason for those struggles is the Hawkeyes have been unable to keep their opponents off the offensive glass, allowing a 33.6% offensive rebounding rate.
Iowa has also struggled to defend the 3-point shot, allowing its opponents to shoot 35.6% from deep. Maryland has been lighting up their opponents from beyond the arc over the past three games, shooting over 40% from long range. Iowa needs to defend the 3-point line well on Thursday if they want to avoid the upset.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I think this game is going to be a shootout between two elite offenses. Iowa plays a really fast tempo and if it is able to get control of the pace, it is going to score 80+ points on the Terrapins defense.
Subsequently, Iowa’s defense has shown an inability to stop some of the best offenses in the country, so I think Maryland will be able score at will on Thursday.
I have the total projected at 156.76, so I think there is some value on over 154 points.
Pick: Over 154 or better