The wins just keep coming as we picked up our seventh win in eight bets this week when we backed the Cal Bears at home against the Washington State Cougars. I try not to make a habit of backing teams that are barely inside the top-200, but I felt that getting the opportunity to fade an awful Washington State team on the road, in league play, at even money, was just far too juicy to pass up.
Matt knocks down the triple to tie his career-high at 25 points and put away the Cougs! pic.twitter.com/RdutozUXbE
— Cal Basketball (@CalMBBall) January 10, 2020
After falling behind early, by as many as fourteen points, the Bears battled back and pulled away in the second half to secure their first PAC-12 league game win of the year. Cal managed to hold the Cougars to just 38% shooting from the field in the win. Home teams in league play continue to be a consistent money maker for me this year, and for today’s pick, we will head to the Big 10, where the Iowa Hawkeyes host the Maryland Terrapins.
- Maryland Terrapins (13-2) at Iowa Hawkeyes (10-5)
- Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City
- 4:00 PM PST
- TV: FS1
The Iowa Hawkeyes face the biggest test of their season so far, as they host the Terrapins of Maryland tonight at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa has played an absolutely brutal schedule this year, as their SOS is at #21, but they have still managed to win their fair share of games. The Hawkeyes have resume-building wins over top-100 teams like Iowa State, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Syracuse, and Texas Tech. A win tonight over Maryland would be a major feather in the cap of the Hawkeyes as they look to finish in the top half of a loaded Big 10 this season.
— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) January 10, 2020
For Maryland, they have their sites set on a Big 10 regular-season title. The Terrapins are 3-1 in league play and trail only Michigan State in the race for the conference championship. Maryland owns eight wins over top-100 teams, and they are currently ranked just outside of the top ten nationally, coming in at twelfth in the latest AP Poll.
This is a really good Maryland Terrapins team this year. They are ranked in the top-25 on kenpom for both offensive and defensive efficiency, and their two losses both came to teams inside the top-30. They have a superstar in senior guard Anthony Cowan Jr, who is in the running for national player of the year, and they have been ranked as high as number three in the country.
The one thing that is a bit concerning for Maryland is that they have played nearly all of their games at home. The Terrapins are 10-0 at home, that includes wins over Notre Dame, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, and Rhode Island. Maryland has played just two true road games and they are 0-2, with losses to Seton Hall and Penn State. Looking forward on the schedule, Maryland plays four out of their next five games on the road, we are going to find out a lot about just how good this team is over the next several games.
We already talked about how tough of a schedule Iowa has played, and that will only continue as they get deeper in Big 10 play. Despite losing their last two games, both on the road in league play, the analytics love Iowa as they are currently ranked at #20 on kenpom. A win over a very talented Maryland team would make a big statement that his Iowa team is ready to compete on a high level with the best of the Big 10.
If you had to find the most improved player in the country this year, Luka Garza would be on the shortlist of favorites. Garza was a nice player last year for Iowa. He averaged thirteen points and four boards a game. But this year, the seven-footer has emerged as one of the best big men in the country.
Garza is scoring twenty-two points a game to go along with nearly eleven rebounds and a block and a half per contest. Not many guys are averaging a double-double a game, and if you don’t have a way to contain Garza, he can torch you. We saw this when he dropped forty-four points, on the road, against Michigan early last month.
Who Do I Like?
These teams are probably both better than they are getting credit for right now. Maryland got some love from the media early in the year, before dropping in the rankings, but they are absolutely a threat to make it al the way to the Final Four and cut down the nets. And when you look at Iowa, this team is capable of beating any team in the nation with their mix of three-point shooting, a strong inside post-up game, their ability to share the ball, and a propensity to very rarely turn it over.
If you read my daily picks often, you know that I have two plays that I absolutely love to make. I love home underdogs, especially in the Big 10, and I love to get on the other side of the betting public. In this game, I get to do both.
Home underdogs in the Big 10 have literally been free money for me this season. I have made nearly a dozen plays on home dogs in Big 10 league games, and I have yet to lose a bet. Just this week alone, I took Nebraska and Rutgers as home dogs, and they both won outright. And when you look at this number, it opened up at Maryland -1 and has been moving towards the Terrapins all morning long, and now stands at Maryland -2 as the public continues to back Maryland.
So, I will dip into that honey hole one more time tonight, and back the Iowa Hawkeyes as home underdogs. I do think they are very likely to take the game outright, but I will snatch up the +2-points just in case the ball doesn’t bounce our way late. Give me the Iowa Hawkeyes and the points tonight at home!