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Author: Tanner McGrath
Michigan vs. Maryland Odds
|Michigan Odds||-1 [BET NOW]|
|Maryland Odds||+1 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-115/-106 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||142.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Thursday, 8 p.m. ET|
Maryland’s win over Wisconsin proves how wild the Big Ten is.
As CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein said, “The Big Ten has no bottom, but whatever was projected to be at the bottom is capable of eating the middle.”
The Big Ten has no bottom, but whatever was projected to be at the bottom is capable of eating the middle.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) December 29, 2020
In this conference, anyone can beat anyone on any given night, which is why this matchup between the Michigan Wolverines and the Maryland Terrapins opened as a pick’em.
This matchup is super appealing from a fan perspective, but it’s potentially even more appealing from a bettor’s perspective. One team’s roster is more talented than the other, but recent history and Big Ten dynamics make this game seem like a toss-up.
This may seem rather contrarian, but in this spot, it’s smart to ride with the better roster.
Michigan and Maryland have been neck-and-neck in recent history.
The teams have split their last 10 games, with Michigan owning a 5-4-1 edge against the spread. It’s about as close as two teams can get.
However, Maryland lost its two biggest pieces from last year, while Michigan gained a very promising one.
The losses of Jalen Smith and Anthony Cowan Jr. might explain Maryland’s lackluster start. Per Sports Reference, the pair were first and second in Usage Percentage and Player Efficiency Rating for Maryland last season. Their absence was very noticeable in this season’s losses to Clemson, Rutgers and Purdue.
Meanwhile, Michigan has picked up a potential All-American in freshman Hunter Dickinson. Dickinson is averaging 15.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game on almost 70% shooting. In the Wolverines’ win over Penn State, Dickinson scored 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting and added seven rebounds.
Moreover, the roster matchups as a whole favor Michigan. Michigan’s big-man duo of Dickinson and sophomore Franz Wagner is bigger, stronger and more talented than Maryland’s duo of Jairus Hamilton and Donta Scott.
Additionally, Michigan is starting three seniors to Maryland’s one. The Wolverines’ senior guards, Mike Smith and Eli Brooks, are competent ball-handlers who run the offense well and tally half of Michigan’s 18 assists per game.
Plus, senior Isaiah Livers is potentially Michigan’s best player, as he paces the team in scoring while shooting 51.4% from the field and 42.1% from 3.
Maryland’s attack is comprised of Scott, Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins. The three have played well, each scoring over 11 points per game and leading a very efficient Maryland offense. The Terrapins are 11th in Offensive Efficiency, per KenPom, shoot 48.3% from the floor and turn the ball over just 10.2 times per game.
However, I believe they’ll be outmatched in tonight’s game.
The three don’t have the experience or firepower to beat Livers, Wagner and Dickinson. Specifically, Livers against Wiggins is the biggest mismatch. Livers is an inch taller and 30 pounds heavier than Wiggins, and Wiggins is shooting just 41.8% from the field and 25.7% from 3.
Overall, Michigan is playing more efficiently — offensively and defensively — than Maryland.
Michigan shoots 61.1% from 2-point range to Maryland’s 56.6%, and Michigan’s opponents are shooting just 37.8% from inside the arc while Maryland’s opponents are shooting 45.8%. Michigan also outpaces Maryland in both rebounds and assists.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Maryland is coming off a huge win against Wisconsin, and Michigan has played a cookie-cutter schedule so far this season.
However, that doesn’t change the fact that the Wolverines are the better team with a more talented roster. Michigan is 7-0 SU and 5-2 ATS this season, while Maryland is just 6-3 SU and 5-4 ATS.
In conference play, Michigan is 2-0, and Maryland is 1-2.
Maryland’s most recent performance and this game taking place in College Park explain the opening line. But I think this line is wrong.
Michigan is No. 16 in the country and ranked 14th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency, while Maryland is unranked and 37th in KenPom’s metric.
Furthermore, I mentioned the teams have split their last 10 games, but Michigan has won and covered in three of the last four.
Like every Big Ten game, this matchup will be hard-fought. However, I’m banking on Michigan’s talent to overpower Maryland’s and believe that Livers can out-duel Wiggins in crunch time.
I’m very comfortable playing Michigan in this spot and would bet it up to -2.
Pick: Michigan -2 or better.
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Author: Tanner McGrath