Maryland Terrapins at Minnesota Golden Gophers NCAAM Pick – February 26, 2020

Is home state advantage the same as home-court advantage? The data tells us that while a team playing a semi-home game, as kenpom calls them, has an advantage, it’s not nearly as much as a true on-campus home game. So, when I saw that I could back the Texas Tech Red Raiders as small favorites in Oklahoma City, against a clearly outmanned and struggling Oklahoma Sooners team, I backed the Red Raiders.

But I guess the location did come back to bite us, as the Red Raiders had one of their worst shooting nights of the year. Particularly in the first half, where they managed just twenty-two points, Texas Tech just couldn’t score the basketball. The loss will likely cost the Red Raiders their spot in the top-25, and the bad loss will hurt them on Selection Sunday.

For Oklahoma, the Sooners had to have the win, and they got the job done. Oklahoma had lost four of their previous six games, and had they lost last night, would have almost certainly slid to the wrong side of the bubble. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to the Big 10, where another team in desperate need of a win, the Minnesota Golden Gophers, host the Maryland Terrapins.

Today’s Game

  • Maryland Terrapins (22-5) at Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-13)
  • Williams Arena, Minneapolis
  • 6:00 PM PST
  • TV: BTN

The Minnesota Golden Gophers are on the outside looking in right now for the NCAA tournament and are hoping to play their way back onto the bubble tonight, as they host the Maryland Terrapins. The Gophers have several signature wins this season, but their overall record has been less than stellar. Minnesota enters this game just 13-13 overall and 7-9 in Big 10 play. If the Gophers want to go dancing, they are going to need to find a way to string together several wins in the last couple of weeks of the regular season.

For Maryland, the Terrapins saw their nine-game winning streak snapped in their last game and are hoping to get right back on track tonight. Maryland has a two-game lead over four different teams for first place in the Big 10, with just four games left on their schedule. A win tonight in hostile territory gets them one step closer to locking up an outright Big 10 regular-season championship.

Spread:

  • Maryland +1 (-110)
  • Minnesota -1 (-110)
Money line:

  • Maryland +120
  • Minnesota -100
Total Points:

  • Over 134 (-110)
  • Under 134 (-110)

Maryland Terrapins

In a conference that is very likely the best top to bottom league in the country, one team stands out, the Maryland Terrapins. The Terrapins are near locks to capture at least a share of the Big 10 regular-season title at this point, and when you look at what is left on their schedule, they are probably going to win it outright. Of their last four regular-season games, the Terrapins play their toughest opponents at home.

And even away from home this year, teams have been fearing the turtle. Maryland has true road wins against Michigan State, Illinois, Indiana, and Northwestern. In a league where winning on the road has been nearly impossible, Maryland had done a very respectable job winning in other team’s buildings. A win tonight would go a long way to securing the Big 10 title, and the potential top seed in the NCAA tournament that could come with it.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

We already talked about how home teams have done a great job of protecting their home floors in the Big 10 this year, and early in the season, that was the case for Minnesota. The Gophers have home wins over Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State. But the wheels have started to fall off here in February as the Gophers have lost six out of their last nine games, including three home losses.

At one point, Minnesota was 4-0 at home in league play. But they are 1-3 in their last four home games and have fallen off of the bubble with their recent struggles. But in the Big 10, there is always going to be ample opportunity for quality wins, and if Minnesota can get back to .500 in league play before the end of the season, it would be hard to deny them a spot in the Big Dance.

Who Do I like?

I have been backing Big 10 home teams all season long in league play. It has been upset after upset by the home teams. But there has been one team that I have backed several times on the road, and that is this Maryland Terrapins team. Yeah, all of their losses this year have come in true road games, but when you look at who those losses came against, it is hard to fault them too awfully much.

They lost at Seton Hall, to a Pirates team that is going to win the Big East. They lost to Iowa, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Ohio State, and all of those teams are .500 or better in league play, and all are locks to be dancing in March with top-30 rankings on kenpom. Their last two road wins, against Michigan State and Illinois, both came against teams that have been basically unbeatable at home this year.

The Bet

At the end of January, I would have backed Minnesota in this spot and felt like I was stealing. But things have changed in the last five weeks, and I think this Minnesota team is done for the year. Recent home losses to Iowa and Michigan State were somewhat understandable, but losing their last home game to an Indiana team that is a bubble team at best, was unacceptable. And two of those three losses weren’t even competitive as they lost to both Michigan State and Indiana by double-digits.

And when you look at Maryland’s last several weeks on the road, they have really stepped up. Yeah, they lost to Ohio State on the road in their last game, but the Buckeyes are surging right now, and that was a one-possession game with a minute left to play, so it’s not like they got blown out. I think Maryland wins this one straight up tonight.

This number has been moving all over the place. It opened up with Minnesota -1 and shifted to a pick ‘em, before moving back towards Minnesota. I have seen this number anywhere from Minnesota -1, to Maryland -1, so you are going to want to line shop a little bit if your favorite book isn’t giving you the right price. Give me the Maryland Terrapins +1-point tonight in Minnesota as they pull off the road upset!

The Bet: Maryland Terrapins +1

My Pick
Maryland Terrapins +1
Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL