Ohio State – Maryland Betting Preview 1/7

Now that conference play has been underway for a few games, teams are beginning to separate from the middle of the pack. As Big 10 Conference play continues, a matchup of two of the conference’s top teams highlights the Tuesday night college hoops slate.

Buckeyes Looking to End Skid

Ohio State started the season looking like a top-10 team in the country, but back-to-back losses against West Virginia and Wisconsin have the Buckeyes looking much more vulnerable heading into their fourth game on the Big Ten gauntlet. While back-to-back losses aren’t necessarily the kiss of death, two consecutive losses prior to hitting the road to take on one of the conference’s best foes is not exactly ideal.

Junior Kaleb Wesson leads the Buckeye attack, nearly averaging a double-double with 14.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Duane Washington Jr. has also played a prominent role on the offensive end of late, with a combined 30 points on 6-of-15 from three-point range over his last two games. With only Wesson and Washington averaging double-digit scoring for the Buckeyes on the year, Ohio State is reliant on a balanced team effort to create any semblance of an efficient offensive attack.

Without a doubt it’s the Buckeye defense that’s made them such a matchup nightmare this season, allowing more than 70 points just twice on the season. Giving up just 57 points per game, Ohio State’s stingy defense has kept nine teams under the 60-point threshold to this point in the year.

Unfortunately, the lack of consistency on Ohio State will prove too much to overcome in front of a raucous crowd in College Park. The Buckeyes will stop the bleeding soon, but traveling to a top-15 opponent is a tall task to end a two-game skid.

Terps Attempting to Defend Home Turf

While Maryland has a pedestrian 3-2 record away from the Xfinity Center, the Terps boast an unblemished 9-0 mark on their home court. Excluding a one-point home win over Illinois, Maryland hasn’t won a home game by less than 14 points at any point this season.

Similar to their opponents from Columbus, the Terrapins feature a suffocating defense, albeit not as dominant statistically as the Buckeyes can boast. Maryland gives up only 61.8 points per contest, fifth-best in the Big 10. The difference, however, is that Maryland features a top 25 offense and defense in terms of adjusted efficiency, one of only eight teams in the nation with that level of balance on both ends of the floor.

Senior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. is averaging 16.4 points and 4.3 assists per game on the year to pace Maryland’s offense. As Cowan Jr. goes, so go the Terps. In Maryland’s two losses, the senior guard has scored 16 points in each game, but shot a paltry 8-of-31 from the floor. The sharp-shooting senior guard has also broken the 20-point threshold on four occasions this year, and will likely need a big-time showing on Tuesday night to keep the Terps home record unblemished. Outside of Cowan Jr., sophomore forward Jalen Smith has put together an impressive 13.5 points and 9.9 boards as a reliable second scoring threat for Maryland.

Turtles Defend Home

In the end, the home-court advantage proves too much for the Buckeyes to overcome. Even though defense travels, Ohio State’s stumbling offense won’t be able to keep up with Maryland’s senior-led attack. This one also seems to be a case of two teams meeting up at two very different points in their seasons, with Maryland riding high and Ohio State hoping to establish an identity. This figures to be a tight, low-scoring affair, but I’ll roll with Maryland by a few possessions for their third conference win in four tries. Head to Realbookies.com our top pay per head bookie and bet on the Terrapins. Take Maryland (-2).

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