NCAA Basketball Picks Maryland vs. Duke

Darin Zank

Saturday, February 15, 2014 1:42 PM GMT

The end of a longtime Atlantic Coast Conference rivalry may be at hand when the Duke Blue Devils and Maryland Terrapins meet Saturday night at Cameron Indoor Insane Asylum (6 pm ET, ESPN).

With Maryland's move to the Big Ten next season this could be the last time these two original ACC members meet for who knows how long.

Duke is 19-5, chasing Syracuse and Virginia in the ACC standings, on its way toward another high seed in the NCAA tournament.

But the Terps are only 14-11, and even with an upset victory Saturday might not make the Dance.

The Blue Devils are double-digit favorites on the betting line for Saturday; they'll probably win, but will they cover? Or can Maryland at least keep this one close, or perhaps even pull an upset?

Terps-Dukies Betting Line

Some books we sampled opened Duke at as low as -12.5 points for Saturday's game, some at as high as -14.5. As of early Saturday morning most shops were chalking the Dukies at -13.5, with an OVER/UNDER right around 150.

According to Sagarin's PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com the Blue Devils should be favored by 14.5 points for this game.

Game Set-Up

Duke lost its top three scorers from last season, but simply reloaded, with freshman Jabari Parker and transfer Rodney Hood stepping in. The Blue Devils have lost just five times this year; early on to Kansas, to former No. 1 Arizona, at Notre Dame by a bucket, in a burp at Clemson and, most recently, two Saturdays ago at undefeated Syracuse in overtime.

Last time out Duke beat Boston College up at Chestnut Hill 89-68, going 11-for-21 from 3-point range, covering as 10-point favorites on the road.

The Blue Devils were supposed to play North Carolina Wednesday night, but the game got postponed due to weather.

The Dukies have also been one of the better teams in college basketball to bet on this year. So far Duke is 16-8 ATS on the season, riding a seven-game ATS winning streak. And that's hard to do when you're favored almost every time out.

Maryland, meanwhile, won 25 games last year but missed the NCAA tournament. So the goal for this season was to get back to the Big Dance. But to this point the Terps haven't done enough to earn an invitation. 

However, a victory Saturday would certainly enhance their chances.

Maryland started 10-5 this season, but then lost four of its next five games. The Terps then beat Miami and Virginia Tech, but lost at North Carolina.

Last Saturday Maryland shot 52 percent from the floor in a 83-71 win over Florida State. But they couldn't back next time out, losing at Virginia Monday 61-53.

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Terps-Dukies, By the Numbers

Duke is shooting 47.5 percent from the field this season, 42 percent from 3-point land (second-best in the country) and 74 percent from the free-throw line. At the other end of the court the Devils are allowing foes to shoot 45 percent.

Maryland is shooting 44 percent from the floor, 35 percent from long range but just 66 percent from the line. But the Terps are also holding foes to 42.5 percent shooting.

Maryland owns a negative assist-to-turnover ratio, giving it up 13 times per game, while Duke owns one of the top ten A/TO ratio's in Division 1, turning it over less than ten times per game.

Terps-Dukies Recent History

Duke had beaten Maryland six times in a row, including an 84-64 romp in the first of three meetings last season. But the Terps upset the Blue Devils at College Park last February 83-81, then bumped the Dukies from the ACC tournament last March 83-74.

All three of last season's meeting played OVER on the totals.

Terps-Dukies Betting Trends

Maryland is 11-9 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, as Terps games have averaged 141 points.

Duke is 12-11 on the totals, as its games have averaged 150 points.

Maryland is 3-5 ATS this season as an underdog, 3-4 ATS on the ACC road.

Duke is 8-3 ATS as a double-digit favorite this season, 4-1 ATS in ACC home games.

Terps-Dukies Free Pick

Obviously, Duke is very likely to win this game; the Blue Devils will have to shoot very poorly to keep Maryland close.

But the Terps can play a little defense, and they're not bad on the boards. If they can just take decent care of the ball, work for some good shots and limit Duke's possessions, they could keep this one interesting. And we think that's possible.

So we'll with go with the underdog Terrapins at the +14 points offered at 5Dimes for our free NCAA basketball pick for Saturday.

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