Willie’s NCAAB season picks record: 37-27-2 (+8.60 units)
Friday, 6:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
Free NCAAB Pick: Maryland ATS
Best Line Offered:
Short and sweet would be the best way to describe Friday’s NCAA basketball odds card. It’s certainly sweeter than what we used to see on Friday with three ranked teams taking part in the seven games on tap, including a huge Big Ten clash that finds the Maryland Terrapins at the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The matchup provides a great opportunity for Mark Turgeon and the Terrapins to prove they belong in the same conversation with Michigan and Michigan State in what is shaping up to be an exciting conference race. Entering play Thursday, Maryland sat a half-game behind the Spartans, who were in Nebraska taking on the Cornhuskers, and the Wolverines, who are idle until Saturday.
Terps Can’t Get Caught Looking Ahead To Spartans
This is the first of two tough road tests for the Terrapins, with a trip to East Lansing to face Michigan State to follow on Monday. Playing on Friday didn’t throw Maryland off a week ago when Indiana came to College Park and the Terps took care of business with a 78-75 decision. That was trailed by a 64-60 win Monday at home over the Badgers, Maryland suffering its worst shooting performance of the season but still managing to push as 4-point chalk.
Chris Holtmann will try and pull his Buckeyes out of a tailspin that has seen them drop three in a row after a strong 12-1 start, and 2-0 beginning on the Big Ten fixture. The latest came last Saturday at Iowa where Ohio State closed as a 2½-point underdog at Heritage but couldn’t close out a halftime lead in a 72-62 setback. It was the fourth consecutive loss against the spread, and sixth in seven games, and a case of too many turnovers plus putting the Hawkeyes on the free-throw line too many times as Iowa outscored OSU 18-8 at the charity stripe.
4 Of Last 5 Send ‘Over’ Bettors Back To Pay Window
You certainly can’t get more even in a head-to-head series than the 6-6 record this still-budding Big Ten rivalry has produced. Seven of the 12 contests have come since the Terrapins joined the conference, and they hold a very slight 4-3 edge in those games. The lone matchup last season came in Columbus where the Buckeyes pounded Maryland, 91-69. The Terrapins had won the previous four encounters, two of those at Value City Arena and each victory coming as a ranked team while Ohio State failed to cut it in the top 25, like this collision.
In such a tightly-lined game as this one, I generally side with the home team. Not this time, however, as my free NCAA basketball pick is on the turtles in this race.