Maryland vs Alabama Odds, Picks: Why to Back the Underdog

Maryland vs Alabama Odds, Picks: Why to Back the Underdog article feature image

Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images. Pictured: Hakim Hart (Maryland)

Maryland vs Alabama Odds

Saturday, March 18
9:40 p.m. ET
Maryland Odds
-110o / -110u
Alabama Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

To cap off the Saturday slate in the Round of 32, we've got a standalone game in the South Region, where the Maryland Terrapins will look to pull off the upset against the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Remarkably, the Crimson Tide scored 96 points in their win, but NBA lottery pick Brandon Miller didn't score a single point. It's not the best idea to overreact, but this tells me Alabama can get major production from other areas without leaning on its star.

This may be bad news for the Terrapins, who are looking to clinch a spot in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2016. As much love as I have for Alabama, I think this Terps team is getting overlooked by everyone in the nation.

Let's see what betting angle we can dig up by breaking down these teams.

Maryland Terrapins

I was very impressed with Maryland's performance on Thursday afternoon, as it came back from multiple deficits to defeat a gritty West Virginia team. The question heading into this matchup is whether or not the Terps have the capability to slow down this explosive Alabama offense.

They do.

Although it fires a ton of 3s per game, Alabama is only 169th in 3-point percentage, which is an area the Terps defend particularly well.

Even if Alabama decides to limit the number of 3s it takes, Maryland also defend well inside. Long story short, this Terps team doesn't foul very often and has the chops to contain this explosive offense.

However, I think this matchup will come down to the Terps' offensive attack. Points could come at a premium here.

Maryland loves to attack on the inside, but Alabama is the top team in the nation in opposing 2-point percentage, so the Terrapins are going to have to hit a few shots from the outside if they want a shot of pulling off the upset.  Maryland ranks 219th nationally from deep, whereas the Tide rank third defensively in this area.

If the Terps want to pull off the upset here, they're going to need to continue to rely on their strong defense and hope to get out in transition as often as possible. That will prevent the Tide from setting up their defense in the half-court.

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Alabama Crimson Tide

This Alabama team is in the best position to win the national title out of any team remaining in the field. It's not the boldest take, but with the injury situations surrounding the UCLA and Houston programs, it's hands down the favorite entering Saturday.

The Tide can beat their opponents in so many ways. They're one of the deepest teams in the nation, and their explosive offense can blow anybody out of the gym within minutes. Bama enters this matchup with a top-20 rank in both offensive and defensive adjusted efficiency.

I spoke about the elite Alabama defense when breaking down the Terps, but I think it's an area that's slept on by the public. Everybody talks about how explosive this offense is, and rightfully so. However, its ability to defend on the perimeter and inside the paint will give any elite offense a headache.

I think Alabama will outshine the Terps offensively, but the one area it seems to struggle with is turnovers. If Maryland's defense plays up to its full potential and the Tide are their usual careless selves with the basketball, the Terps could have a field day.

However, Alabama loves to get out in transition and put up a ton of 3s, so if it turns this game into a track meet, it might be a long night for the Terps.

Maryland vs Alabama Betting Pick

I'm a bit concerned about the Terps' ability to shoot from behind the arc, but I still think this is too many points to pass up. KenPom makes this game Alabama -6, so the fact we can get the Terps at +8.5 here seems like decent value.

This Terps defense is good enough to contain this Alabama offense, and I think they'll be able to get out in transition early and often by forcing turnovers. I wouldn't be stunned to see Kevin Willard come out with some early press and traps to slow down this Alabama offense and put it in uncomfortable situations.

The lack of depth for the Terps is sort of scary, but I love the number of points we're getting here to cap off Saturday evening.

Pick: Maryland +9 (Play to +7.5)

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Nick Sterling
Jul 21, 2024 UTC