NCAA Basketball Duke Blue Devils (25-4, 17-9 ATS) vs. Maryland Terrapins (21-7, 15-9 ATS), Comcast Center, College Park, Wednesday, March 3rd, 9 PM Eastern, ESPN
By Z-Man of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Blue Devils -1/Terrapins +1
The Maryland Terrapins won’t just be playing to solidify their NCAA tournament credentials when they host the Duke Blue Devils Wednesday night. With a win the Terps would jump into a tie for first place in the ACC with the Dukies, and they’d avenge a bad loss at Duke last month. Not to mention they’d break a six-game losing streak in the series with the hated Devils.
Several online sports betting sites opened this game with Duke favored by a point, with a total of 148.
Duke returned three starters this season from a team that won 30 games last year, and they were expected to contend for the ACC championship. And with the collapse of North Carolina, the Blue Devils have emerged as the best team in the conference. Duke’s only losses this season have come at Wisconsin, at Georgia Tech, at NC State and at Georgetown. And they extended their current winning streak to eight games, which includes a Feb. 13 mauling of Maryland, by stuffing Virginia in Charlottesville Sunday 67-49.
With help from Oklahoma State, Tennessee and Michigan State, who beat Kansas, Kentucky and Purdue over the weekend, the Dukies are suddenly very much in the running for a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.
Maryland returned four starters from a 21-win team of last season, and was expected to fight for a top-four finish in the ACC this year. And since a somewhat shaky start to this season which included a loss to William & Mary, the Terrapins are 15-3. And Maryland has won five in a row, after outlasting Virginia Tech 104100 in double overtime in Blacksburg Saturday.
So at 12-2 in conference play Duke leads the ACC by a game over second-place 11-3 Maryland, with one game left on the conference schedules after Wednesday.
Statistically speaking, the Devils are shooting 44.5% from the field this season, 39% from 3-point range and 76% from the free-throw line.
The Terrapins are shooting almost 48% from the floor this season, 39% from long range and 71% from the line.
And while Duke is holding opponents to 40% FG shooting, Maryland is limiting foes to 38% shooting.
But Maryland isn’t one of the better rebounding teams around. The Terps have been outboarded in six of their last nine games, and are getting outrebounded by 1.9 RPG in ACC play.
Meanwhile, with one of its bigger teams of recent seasons, Duke leads the ACC in rebounding in conference play at +3.9 RPG.
The Blue Devils are 5-2 straight up and 3-3-1 ATS in ACC road games this season.
Maryland is 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS in ACC home games this season.
In that earlier meeting this season between these two teams Duke jumped out to a 16-point halftime lead and cruised home to a 77-56 victory, covering the spread as nine-point home favorites. The Devils only shot 42% from the floor, but held the Terps to 38% shooting, which included a 2/13 effort from 3-point land. The Dukies also committed just seven turnovers, and the game stayed well under its posted total of 147.
Duke is 12-16 on the totals this season, as their games have averaged 141 points. And six of the Devils’ last seven games have stayed under the totals, as Duke has held its last seven opponents to an average of 58 PPG.
Maryland is 14-7 on the over/unders this season, as their games have averaged 147 points. And the Terps have played three overs in a row going into Wednesday’s game.
Also, the last five games in the series between these two teams have gone under the totals.
Sagarin’s PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com rate the Blue Devils at +6.7 over the Terrapins. Factoring in Sagarin’s updated CBB home-court advantage figure of 3.8, and Duke is about a three-point favorite for Wednesday’s game over Maryland on the Sagarin line.
Z-Man’s Pick: Duke has pretty much owned the Terps over the past few games and there is no reason to think they can’t win out tonight.