Big Ten basketball is rising. Prior to the season, the Big Ten was considered the deepest league in the country and now with nine teams ranked in both the AP and Coaches Poll, the conference has cemented itself as arguably the best in the nation.
One of the ranked teams, No. 16 Michigan Wolverines (7-0, 2-0 Big Ten) will look to remain undefeated when they tangle with the upstart Maryland Terrapins (6-3, 1-2) in College Park on New Year’s Eve.
Betting Odds & Game Information: Michigan vs Maryland
- Spread: Michigan -2.5 (-108) | Maryland +2.5 (-112)
- Moneyline: Michigan -144 | Maryland +122
- Total: OVER 142.5 (-110) | UNDER 142.5 (-110)
Odds via FanDuel as of 12/31/20 (9:30 AM ET)
- Date: Thursday, December 31, 2020
- Time: 8:00 PM ET
- Location: College Park, Maryland
- Stadium: XFINITY Center
- How to Watch: ESPN
About the Michigan Wolverines
Michigan enters its second road contest of the year with the nation’s fourth-longest winning streak at seven straight. UM is also one of 12 undefeated DI programs that have played at least six games. While the Wolverines coasted – relatively speaking – through the non-conference slate of games, they have had to dig down in their Big Ten wins over Penn State (62-58) and, more recently, Nebraska (80-69).
Leading Nebraska by two (36-34) at halftime on Christmas Day, Michigan stepped up its play on both ends of the court in the second stanza to create separation as the Wolverines made 15 of 26 shots, including 5 of 10 from beyond the three-point arc, over the last 20 minutes to finish the night with a 50.7 field goal percentage. UM held Nebraska to 39.1 percent shooting from the field, including 34.1 percent in the second half. Hunter Dickinson continued his fabulous play in the early going by picking up his second double-double of the season with 13 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. But Franz Wagner was the top scorer on the night with a season-high 20 points on nine of 14 shooting. Isaiah Livers, who pumped in 17 points and three triples, finished with 17 points while Chaundree Brown Jr. and Mike Smith compiled 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Livers leads a well-balanced offensive attack with 15.4 points, to go along with 2.2 treys and 5.6 rebounds. Dickinson is second on the team in scoring (13.4) and tops the team in both rebounds (8.4) and blocks (1.7). Wagner (11.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG), Brown Jr. (10.4 PPG), Eli Brooks (9.3 PPG, 3.7 APG), and Smith (8.1 PPG, 5.0 APG) are the other top contributors. Austin Davis has missed the last two games with a leg injury and is out indefinitely.
Michigan averages 82 points on 51.5 percent shooting from the field, 35.3 percent from three, and 77.2 percent from the charity stripe. Defensively, UM allows 67.7 points on 36.4 percent shooting from the field, 34 percent from three and force 10.6 turnovers per game.
About the Maryland Terrapins
Maryland returns to the XFINITY Center, where they are 5-1 on the season, after splitting two road games against Purdue and Wisconsin. Following their failed second-half comeback against Purdue on Christmas Day, Maryland produced its best performance of the year on Monday night with a 70-64 victory over No. 6 Wisconsin. The Terrapins, who trailed 34-26 with 16 minutes left, shot a blistering 64 percent from the field in the second half as they got out in transition a little bit more, outscoring the Badgers 10-0 in fast break points for the game. They also dominated the paint, totaling 18 more points (38-20) close to the bucket than Wisconsin. Eric Ayala led the way for the Terps with 17 points and Aaron Wiggins added 15 points along with nine boards. Donta Smith chipped in with 12 points including a thunderous dunk in the closing minute to seal the victory.
Like Michigan, Maryland is a well-balanced offensive team with Ayala leading the way at 14.7 points and 1.5 treys a game. Scott contributes 12.9 points on 63.1 percent shooting from the field and 51.9 percent from beyond the arc, while also producing a team-high 6.9 rebounds. Wiggins (11.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.8 APG), Hakim Hart (9.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG), Darryl Morsell (8.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.8 APG), and Jairus Hamilton (8.1 PPG) are the other top contributors.
Maryland averages 74.6 points on 48.3 percent shooting from the field, 35.1 percent from beyond the 3-point line, and 69.6 percent from the charity stripe. The Terrapins allow 65.1 points on 42 percent shooting from the field, 36.4 percent from three and force 10.9 turnovers per game.
Michigan vs Maryland Betting Breakdown
- Michigan is 4-1 ATS in its last five games overall.
- Michigan is 5-2 ATS in its last seven road contests.
- Michigan has won four of its last five games against Maryland.
- Maryland is 18-2 in its last 20 games at home.
- The over has hit in five of the last seven games between the Wolverines and Terrapins and five of the last six contests at Maryland.
- The over is 12-3 in the Terrapins’ last 15 games overall.
Prediction: I expect this to be a typical Big Ten knockdown and drag-out fight between two physical teams. Both squads are highly efficient on offense and strong defensively. But I’m going with the Wolverines in a close game as Dickinson has become a force down low and Livers is a go-to-scorer who has shown the ability to carry a team.
Picks: Michigan -2.5 and UNDER 142.5.