Penn State vs. Maryland Odds & Pick: Nittany Lions Have Edge on Glass
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Penn State
- Maryland is favored over Penn State on Sunday night in the Big Ten regular season finale.
- The Nittany Lions haven't been great over the last month, but is this line an overreaction from their last meeting?
- Get our full breakdown and best bets for Maryland vs. Penn State below.
Penn State vs. Maryland Odds
|Penn State Odds||+6|
|Time||Sunday, 7 p.m. ET|
|TV||Big Ten Network|
|Odds as of Sunday morning and via PointsBet.|
The old head basketball fan in your life is going to love this matchup between Maryland and Penn State because this game will be all about rebounding.
I know there are a lot of other aspects of this game to talk about, aspects that are frankly more exciting dynamics in this regular-season finale. Maryland’s leading scorer Eric Ayala is an athletic guard who is really fun to watch and averaging 14.3 points a game.
Penn State also has a fun upperclassmen guard with watching in Myreon Jones who, despite scoring an inefficient 11 points against Maryland earlier this year, is putting up 15.5 points a night this season.
In addition to Jones’ 39.8 three-point percentage, the Nittany Lions have some solid, but not great, three-point shooting Myles Dread. Dread is sinking 36.8 of shots from deep, which is just good enough to keep opposing defenses honest.
The Terrapins don’t shoot as many long-range shots as their Big Ten counterparts, but benefit from balanced scoring that includes three players averaging double-digit points.
But the first game between the Terps and Nittany Lions wasn’t about scoring and the rematch likely won’t be either. This will still boil down to Dennis Rodman’s favorite thing behind piercings, hair dye and general chaos: rebounds.
More Like the First Matchup?
The first meeting between these teams came on Feb. 5 with the Nittany Lions coming in at -3 and eking out an ugly 55-50 victory. The teams nearly mirrored each other offensively with the Terps and Lions both hitting 17 field goals. The shooting percentages were obviously similar as a result but Penn State ended up shooting a slightly lower percentage because it out-rebounded Maryland 40-29. Particularly, it was the 11-5 advantage on the offensive glass that helped the Nittany Lions put up six more shots.
Since the battle on the boards was such a key factor in that game, John Harrar was one of the stars of the night. The Penn State senior came up with 12 boards, including four on the offensive glass to go along with his nine points.
Rebounding has been somewhat of an issue for Maryland all season as the team is 262nd in the nation in rebounds and typically grabs 33.6 boards a game. Penn State is more of a middle-of-the-road rebounding team and is 125th in the NCAA with 36.2 boards a game.
I know rebounds are boring. I wish this game hinged upon a cooler statistical category. I wish there was a stat called the Dunk Coolness Index that I could analyze to tell you why Team X was going to cover the spread against Team Y because Team X has done more 360 and between-the-legs dunks this season.
Unfortunately the Dunk Coolness Index (or DCI for short) doesn’t exist. And if those kind of metrics existed they would have only been used on the And 1 Mixtape Tour. I don’t think they were too focused on keep track of stats in that league.
Is This Line Right?
The not-as-cool numbers bettors do have to work from make a pretty compelling argument for Penn State to cover the spread. The Nittany Lions are +6 after being a slight favorites against the Terps last month.
Penn State hasn’t been great over the last month at 2-3 ATS. Maryland has been a little better against the spread at 3-2 in the last five games, including a bit of a surprise loss to Northwestern when the Terrapins were 4.5 point favorites.
Still, this is a big swing from the last time these two teams met.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The Nittany Lions are +6 at PointsBet. Despite their recent loss to Northwestern, the Terps are coming in hot as winners of five of their last six. The offensive firepower will be a bit too much but the big man Harrar will be able to have his way on the boards like he did last time the teams squared off.
Embrace the energy of the grumpy old basketball fan in your life who laments the passing of the old days where things like rebounding, taking charges, crisp bounce passes, and obscenely short shorts.
Take Penn State +6, fade the Terps, count on the rebounding numbers to earn you some money on the last day of the Big Ten regular season and no matter the outcome, enjoy the fact that no one on the court will be wearing shorts that looked like they were designed by Speedo.
Pick: Penn State +6