Maryland travels to North Carolina tonight where these elite teams meet to play good defense. Join Teddy Covers as he shares an odds analysis & serves up a free NCAA Basketball pick.
ACC – Big 10 Challenge Preview
Maryland at North Carolina
Tar Heels -6, O/U 150.5
Recommendation: Take Maryland (#751)
North Carolina Tar Heals
North Carolina is rarely an undervalued commodity, one of the most ‘public’ teams when betting NCAA Basketball. And when the Tar Heels are hyped coming into the season, like they were this year – ranked #1 in both the Coaches Poll and the AP Poll as recently as two weeks ago – their value problems are very tangible.
North Carolina’s last pointspread cover came back on November 15th, their second game of the season, suffering three ATS losses and a push in their last four contests. With the exception of their SU loss at Northern Iowa, Roy Williams’ squad was simply priced a couple of points too high in the other three games – a legitimate value problem. That doesn’t change tonight as the Tar Heels step up in class to face their toughest test of the early season campaign.
The Tar Heels have played well, just not well enough. And the two areas where they are struggling are pointspread killers. North Carolina isn’t forcing turnovers – less than a dozen per game – so they aren’t getting many easy, transition buckets from their fast break. And the Tar Heels have failed to rotate well on the perimeter, allowing opponents to connect at a 38% clip from three point range; bad news when trying to close out a tight spread covering victory.
Maryland is the best team in the Big 10 – period. If they were in the ACC, they’d be the best team in the ACC as well; a Top 5 squad by any measure. Mark Turgeon’s squad has been nothing short of outstanding on the offensive end of the court. Point guard Melo Trimble has been making excellent decisions with the basketball. He leads the team in scoring, hitting better than 50% from the floor, and his 2.5-1 assist-to-turnover ratio speaks volumes about his ball handling. The Terps have shot 53% as a TEAM this year, a clear indicator that their point guard is getting the ball to his teammates in spaces where they like to shoot.
Trimble is just one of four Terps scoring in double digits. Robert Carter and Diamond Stone are blocking shots and cleaning up the glass. Rasheed Sulaimon is draining three pointers and helping Trimble with the ball handling duties. Jake Layman is NBA ready, capable of highlight reel dunks and strong perimeter shooting.
Maryland hits their free throws at a 72% clip. They’ve dominated the glass, outrebounding foes by more than six boards per game. They play ferocious defense, holding foes under ten assists per game. And while the Terps have struggled to build big margins as a favorite (1-4 ATS L5), I have no hesitation pulling the trigger on a Maryland wager tonight in an underdog role….