Michigan-Maryland Betting Preview: Terrapins in Situational-Spot Heaven
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Maryland Terrapins forward Bruno Fernando (23).
Just four ranked teams are in action on Sunday following Saturday’s loaded college hoops card. But there’s a critical Big Ten contest with No. 9 Michigan traveling to College Park to face No. 17 Maryland (21-8, 12-6).
Despite the fourth-place Terrapins’ 17-point loss at Penn State on Wednesday, they still control their own destiny in hopes of nabbing a double-bye in the Big Ten tournament. Fifth-place Wisconsin (20-9, 12-6) is right on their heels after hanging on for a four-point win over Penn State.
This game also presents a revenge set-up for Mark Turgeon’s unit, which lost 65-52 in Ann Arbor on Feb. 16.
On the flip side, the Wolverines (25-4, 14-4) are aiming for a share of the Big Ten regular season title, chasing Purdue (22-7, 15-3) and Michigan State (23-6, 14-4). Their loss to the Spartans on Feb. 24 essentially cost them a game in the standings.
Where’s the value in each of this critical matchup? Let’s break it down.
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Michigan Wolverines at Maryland Terrapins Betting Odds
- Spread: Michigan -1
- Over/Under: 129.5
- Time: 3:45 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
The Wolverines (16-13 against the spread) are 5-2 ATS over their past seven games, including a massive bounce-back win — outright and ATS (-10.5) — over Nebraska on Thursday. The Terrapins’ (16-12-1 ATS) most recent cover against John Beilein’s crew came last January (+8), falling 68-67 on the road.
Maryland coughed the ball up 16 times in their latest meeting, with 13 of their turnovers coming in the first half. Michigan capitalized with a 14-2 advantage in fast-break points, guided by Zavier Simpson’s stellar on-ball defense. The Terps produced 17 turnovers vs. the Nittany Lions, too, exhibiting why they’ve totaled the highest miscue rate (21.2%) in Big Ten play.
Expect a cleaner effort from their ball handlers, as Anthony Cowan or Eric Ayala should see the bulk of the primary point-guard duties. Cowan has been flipped on and off-ball of late, tallying nine turnovers over his past two games as a result, while Ayala is the more premier 3-point threat (43.0%).
Wolverines wing Charles Matthews (12.8 points per game), who’s arguably their best overall defender because of his prowess for switching onto any position, is listed as questionable after missing their previous game with an ankle injury.
Even if Matthews sees a limited role, Maryland should have an easier time feeding the ball inside, avoiding his intense ball pressure.
Michigan has let up the highest 2-point scoring rate (60.6%) in Division I, and the Terps have the bigs to exploit that flaw with Bruno Fernando (14.2 ppg) and Jalen Smith (11.2 ppg), respectively.
The two combined for just first-half six points at the Chrysler Center — all via the 6-foot-10 Smith. Look for them to bounce back in a more comfortable environment, and they’ll also be able to take advantage of the Wolverines (Big Ten’s third-lowest offensive rebounding rate) on the glass.
Led by Fernando and Smith, the Terps have amassed the 26th and 32nd-highest defensive and offensive rebounding rate, respectively. That’ll allow them to control the pace, and they’ll have an easier time crashing the glass with one less effective Wolverines’ weapon to worry about in Matthews.
If you’re interested in the total, I’d lean towards the under, as each program has manufactured a top-four Adjusted Defensive Efficiency in league play. They both operate with a bottom-four Adjusted Tempo, too, along with the under going 4-2 in Maryland’s six conference home games.
According to our Bet Labs data, the Terps are 6-4 (60%) ATS as a single-digit underdog this season. Turgeon’s crew should snag in a cover — with both situational spots aligned its way.
THE PICK: Maryland +1