Big 10 Showdown: Bet Maryland +4 as Our NCAA Basketball Pick vs. Purdue

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, February 27, 2016 2:25 PM UTC

Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 2:25 PM UTC

Big Ten rivals collide as Maryland invades Purdue in hopes of inching closer to the top spot in the conference. Let's review the NCAA basketball odds and choose the right team to back.

Maryland Terrapins (23-5 SU, 11-14 ATS)
After reeling off five consecutive victories the Terps were shocked at home by a game Wisconsin team. The NCAA basketball odds makers installed Maryland as 8 ½ point home favorites but when the dust settled they not only failed to cover for all those who included them in their NCAA basketball picks but lost the game outright 70-57. The team then looked to shake off their setback by traveling to Minnesota to take on conference cellar dwellers the Golden Gophers. Once again the Terrapins were heavy favorites, laying 10 points on the road, and were once again stunned by not only failing to cover the number but losing the game outright. Maryland left Minnesota on the wrong end of a 68-63 decision, adding yet another bewildering loss to a team that was once ranked as the best in college basketball.

Maryland's last foray onto the hardcourt proved better for their record but no better for their financial backers. The Terps, again getting harnessed with a big number to cover, welcomed Michigan to College Park. It proved to be a hard fought victory but in the end Maryland had four players in double figures en route to an 86-82 victory. Maryland senior guard Rasheed Sulaimon saw his streak of five consecutive games scoring in double figures snapped as he bucketed eight points in the win.


Purdue Boilermakers (21-7 SU, 13-11 ATS)
Since the end of January Purdue has alternated wins and losses and if the pattern holds true to form then the Boilermakers and their fans should be celebrating after this one is over. Over their last six contests Purdue has won three (all as favorites) straight up but covered in just two of those six games. They will again be favorites this afternoon despite being ranked 10 places lower than their guests (No. 20 vs. No.10).

In their last outing Purdue traveled to Indiana as 4½ point road underdogs to take on the Big Ten leaders in their own gym. It was a valiant effort by the Boilermakers who made it a game after a pedestrian first half where they trailed by seven at the break. Ultimately they came up short 76-72 but got the narrow cover courtesy of the oddsmakers being kind enough to put a hook on the end of that four which made the difference between winning and losing for all those who put their money down on the traveling dogs.


Betting Analysis
Simply  because a team is ranked higher does not mean they will be favored. Particularly when that team has lost two of their last three straight up as 8½ and 10 point favorites and now must travel to a hostile environment to take on a conference rival. Purdue should indeed be the favorite and lo and behold the oddsmakers have tagged them with a 3-4 point impost depending upon where you shop.

The Boilermakers are 15-1 straight up at home but just 7-5 ATS which hardly makes them a mortal lock against a team as potentially lethal as Maryland. In fact, the Terrapins defeated Purdue 72-61 three weeks ago in College Park but now the venue has shifted. Maryland has had time to get straight with five days off and we can be fairly certain that guard Melo Trimble, who had been the fulcrum of the Terps offense, can only be better after his three game tailspin coincided with the teams' downward spiral. Trimble went 7-of-35 over those three games with 18 turnovers.

The bottom line here is that despite the twin towers Purdue boasts down low and the rebounding advantage they will possess there is one thing they don't do and that is create turnovers. In fact they are among the worst in the nation in that category and Maryland has been beleaguered by turnovers. If that element is stricken from this equation I like Maryland to not only cover but win this one outright. The Terps are a far better team, and Melo Trimble a far better player, than they have demonstrated recently. But it is because of those poor performances and the public's short-term memories that we are getting more points here than we should. Despite the hostile environment we are going to side with the better team and one that has a shot at getting at least a share of the Big Ten title. If Maryland loses today, in all likelihood,  so too do they lose that opportunity.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Maryland +4 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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