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Opening Odds Favor Maryland By 2.5 Over Michigan State as Terrapins Try to Stay Atop Big 10 Standings

Maryland will try to fend off Michigan State on Saturday as the Terrapins look to keep the top spot in the Big Ten standings. Photo by @TerrapinHoops (Twitter).
  • #9 Maryland will host #24 Michigan State on Saturday in a huge late-season Big Ten tilt
  • The Terrapins have a two-game lead in the Big Ten standings. Can they hold on to their lead down the stretch?
  • Read below for a deeper look at Saturday’s matchup

The Xfinity Center will play host to a massive Big Ten tilt on Saturday at 8:00 ET, with the Terrapins of Maryland squaring off with Cassius Winston and the Michigan State Spartans.

The Terps hold a two-game lead in the conference standings, and the opening odds give Mark Turgeon’s team the edge to stay atop the Big Ten.

#24 Michigan State vs #9 Maryland Odds

Team Spread Total
Michigan State +2.5 (-110) Ov 138 (-110)
Maryland -2.5 (-110) Un 138 (-110)

Odds taken Feb 28th

Terps on Top

Turgeon’s team hold a record of 13-4 in conference play, with the Spartans at 11-6. Michigan State isn’t alone though, as three other teams also sit a 11-6. That’s a trio that includes Penn State, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

In a conference that is considered the best in the nation and has ten potential NCAA Tournament teams, Maryland’s run has been all the more impressive. Anthony Cowan Jr. has been the headliner, posting 16.2 points and 4.8 assists per game. He’s not alone, though as Jalen Smith has been equally impressive for the Terps, with his 15.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game.

With a supporting cast that includes experienced role players Aaron Wiggins, Eric Ayala, and Darryl Morsell, this squad has national title hopes to go along with their increasing Big Ten title chances. Their National Championship odds sit at +1600 prior to Saturday’s showdown with Michigan State, who’s own title odds are at just +2500.

Quick Turnaround

If it feels like these teams just played, it’s because they actually did. The Spartans and Terps met on the 15th of February, which will make it just 19 days between the matchups.

Maryland won that game by a score of 67-60, and it was the best kind of performance you can expect in a tough conference tilt for Maryland. Cowan had 24 points, and Smith added a 17 point, 10-reboun double-double, as the Terrapins closed out the Spartans at the Breslin Center.

Since that game, the Spartans have won two straight and entered themselves back into the Top 25. Tuesday’s 78-70 victory over Luka Garza and Iowa showed that Tom Izzo’s team, while not an elite squad in 2020, is still an extremely tough out.

What’s the Best Bet?

Maryland is the higher-ranked team with a better body of work, and they’re at home. It’s obvious they would enter this game as the favorite, but there is a case to be made for taking the opposite side here.

The last time these two teams played, it was a tale of two halves. The Terps won the first half by eight points, but the Spartans adjusted and were actually the better team during the contest’s final 20 minutes. Whatever adjustment was made by Izzo is sure to be in place for the full 40 on Saturday.

Additionally, the Iowa win certainly signals that this Spartan team rises up for big moments like this. They’ve lost to great teams, but the truly damaging losses have been occasions in which Michigan State didn’t show up against lesser competition. Those instances include defeats to Virginia Tech and Indiana.

Maryland will be the popular side in this one, but the Spartans are the way to go.

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