NCAA Basketball Pick: Maryland Terrapins -2½ over Boston College

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, December 12, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

In an early ACC conference affair, the Maryland Terrapins should be able to take advantage of the weak defense of the Boston College Eagles on the road on Thursday.

The porous defense of the home team should prove costly in an early ACC contest on Thursday night when the Maryland Terrapins (5-4, 0-1 away) pay a visit to those Boston College Eagles (3-6, 2-1 home) at Silvio O. Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, MA at 7:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Maryland as a small road favorite for this contest with the current line at -2½ with odds of -111.

This is the ACC opener for two teams that have each lost two straight games, but at least something is being done to attempt to correct the biggest problem for Maryland, which is turnovers. And besides, one of those last two Maryland defeats did come on the road at Ohio State after all vs. a Buckeyes’ team that leads the country in defensive efficiency and has been turning a lot of teams over frequently.

The problem for Boston College though is its lack of defense, and that is not something that can be corrected overnight. The Eagles allowed an ungodly 80.6 points per game during the non-conference portion of their schedule to rank 327th in the country, and because of that generosity, Boston College is very close to being 1-8 this season, as in two of their three wins, they needed overtime to beat something called Sacred Heart and they nipped Florida Atlantic 82-79.

Maryland opened up its season with a tough 78-77 loss to an excellent Connecticut team in Brooklyn, but the Terrapins then won five of their next six games before the current two-game losing streak, as they followed up the 76-60 loss at Ohio State by getting nipped 77-75 by George Washington in the BB&T Classic in Washington, DC on Sunday. The key to that loss was the 18 turnovers the Terps committed.

Maryland is actually ranked a very good 48th overall on the Pomeroy Ratings compared to a 110th ranking for Boston College, but the Terps are being held back by ranking 276th in the country on offensive turnover percentage at 20.6 percent compared to a national average of 18.5 percent. The Terrapins can be a very dangerous team if they are more careful with the basketball.

To that end, Coach Mark Turgeon has announced that freshman Roddy Peters will take over the bulk of the ball-handling duties. Peters has been coming off the bench for the first nine games and yet still leads the Terrapins with his 3.3 assists per game, so if the young freshman can handle the expanded duties, he can be a key factor that could help Maryland climb the rankings.

Now we get that Boston College is home here where they are 2-1, but this is where the two aforementioned squeakers vs. seemingly outclassed opponents took place, and in its other home contest, BC was outscored 95-92 by Toledo. The Eagles’ defense has already allowed more than 80 points four times in nine games and they almost did it three more times, allowing 79 to FAU and 78 to Washington and 78 again in their most recent loss 78-62 to USC on Sunday.

That is how you rank 265th in defensive efficiency like the Eagles do, and we do not think being home for the ACC opener will help in that regard. That Boston College defense is also 246th in effective field goal percentage allowed at 52.1 percent and 332nd out of 351 Division I teams in defensive turnover percentage, making this the perfect opportunity for Maryland to work its promising freshman guard Peters into the lineup.

We simply do not see Boston College making many stops here, so Maryland should prevail on the road on Thursday.

[gameodds]14/251982/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Maryland -2½ (-111)

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