Tuesday’s College Basketball Betting Previews: Maryland-Iowa, Nebraska-Penn State
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Bruno Fernando and Tyler Cook
After a slower Monday in college hoops, Tuesday’s action heats up with eight ranked teams on the court.
The lone ranked matchup tips off in Iowa City between the No. 21 Hawkeyes and No. 24 Maryland Terrapins. Before that, there’s an unranked battle in Happy Valley with Penn State and Nebraska.
Where’s the value in these two Big Ten matchups? Let’s break them down.
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Nebraska Cornhuskers at Penn State Nittany Lions
- Spread: Penn State -3
- Over/Under: 135
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: Fox Sports 1
The Nittany Lions (11-14 against the spread) have covered in four consecutive games after dropping three of four contests ATS. On the flip side, the Cornhuskers (11-12-2 ATS) halted an eight-game cover-less streak with an outright win over Northwestern on Saturday.
In their last meeting, Penn State lost by six in Lincoln during an eight-game skid, but it managed to cover (+10.5).
Pat Chambers’ crew hung around by grabbing 21 offensive rebounds while totaling a 46-32 advantage on the glass overall.
Nebraska has continued to struggle in that area, notching the league’s lowest defensive rebounding rate (33.4%).
Look for the Nittany Lions to accomplish the same feat this time around and control the pace as a result. Penn State prefers to play slow, generating the second-highest average possession length (17.0 seconds) in Big Ten play.
Penn State also owns the conference’s fifth-highest two-point scoring rate (53.7%) behind 6-foot-8 junior Lamar Stevens (19.2 points per game). Nebraska has tallied the ninth-highest scoring percentage from that vicinity, so Stevens & Co. should dominate the paint in yet another game.
According to our Bet Labs data, the Nittany Lions are 1-6 (14.3%) ATS at home vs. Big Ten foes this season. Expect them to buck that trend in a revenge affair.
THE PICK: Penn State -3
Maryland Terrapins at Iowa Hawkeyes
- Spread: Iowa -2
- Over/Under: 149.5
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV: Big Ten Network
The Hawkeyes (12-13 ATS) have dropped two straight affairs ATS but received miracle outright wins in the process, thanks to the game-winning heroics of Joe Weiskamp and Jordan Bohannen.
Meanwhile, the Terrapins (14-11-1 ATS) snapped a two-game cover run via a 13-point loss at Michigan on Saturday.
All season long, Iowa’s eight-rated Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (119.8 points per 100 possessions) has thrived off getting to the line. The Hawkeyes own the fifth-highest free-throw rate (44.8%) in the country, but Maryland has allowed opponents to get to the line at the 22nd-lowest rate in the country (26.0%).
The Terrapins’ front line of Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith will not only limit Iowa’s ball penetration in the lane, but expect it to also hold Tyler Cook (16.3 ppg) and Luka Garza (13.5 ppg) in check from the low-post.
Maryland ranks 21st in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (93.2 opponents’ points per possession) and is allowing the 21st-lowest 2-point clip (44.6%).
On top of that, Mark Turgeon’s unit owns the Big Ten’s first- and third-highest defensive (23.4%) and offensive rebounding rate (31.5%), respectively.
The Terps should be able to control the glass on Tuesday, which will help them limit the Hawkeyes’ transition opportunities.
Offensively, the 6-foot-10 Fernando (14.5 ppg) should have his way vs. a defense allowing the highest two-point percentage (55.5%) in league play.
Turgeon’s 13-20-1 (38.2%) ATS record vs. top-25 teams is a little concerning, but with the matchups in the Terps’ favor, I’ll be backing Maryland to come away with a cover.
THE PICK: Maryland +2