Illinois vs Maryland: Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions (1/21/22)

Illinois vs Maryland Betting Odds

Illinois is coming off an emotional, double-overtime home loss against the best team in the conference. Luckily, the Terps get an easy bounce-back game Friday.

Maryland fired its coach, is still underperforming, and has the worst against the spread mark in the conference (6-12). Things are not well in College Park.

But the Terps are catching over seven points at home in a Big Ten grind.

Is that too many?

Illinois Fighting Illini Odds

Despite the loss, Illinois is back.

Following back-to-back November losses against Marquette and Cincinnati, the world was low on the Illini.

Then Andre Curbelo got hurt.

When Curbelo was hurt, the backcourt tandem of Alfanso Plummer and Trent Frazier exploded. The two are now combining for almost 30 points per game and doing so with a combined true-shooting mark of over 60%.

Moreover, wing Jacob Grandison has a 129.3 ORtg, which is tops on the team and 34th nationally.

While I never root for injuries, Curbelo’s concussion allowed some guys behind him to find an offensive rhythm. Now, Illinois has as many offensive weapons as anybody in the nation.

That’s without mentioning Kofi Cockburn, who has the third-best odds to win the Wooden Award. Cockburn is dropping a casual 21 points and 11 rebounds per game while anchoring a solid interior defense.

Plus, with Cockburn’s presence on the floor, Illinois is an excellent rebounding team. Here are the Illini’s advanced rebounding numbers compared to the rest of the conference:

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Image credit: CBB Analytics

Despite losing Ayo Dosunmu, the Illini will once again be a Final Four contender.

Maryland Terrapins Odds

Maryland is a downright embarrassment.

After snagging Fatts Russell from Rhode Island to pair with Eric Ayala, the Terps were supposed to have one of the best backcourts in the Big Ten.

That’s not what happened. The Terps perimeter defense is awful and the team is 241st in effective field goal percentage. Fatts and Ayala have a combined 100.3 ORtg, so the duo has been completely average.

Meanwhile, grabbing Qudus Wahab from Georgetown would help significantly on the interior, where Maryland has struggled for years.

Wahab is mostly doing his job, but he’s doing so in limited minutes.

For what it’s worth, Maryland has improved in important areas. The Terps are much better at rebounding, and their interior defense is much better.

But it hasn’t been enough. Maryland has lost five of its last six games and has fallen to 9-9 overall and 1-6 in conference play. The Terps are down to 95th in KenPom and have little chance to head back to the Big Dance.

Illinois vs Maryland Prediction and Pick

My pick: Maryland +7.5 (-110 at BetMGM)

That being said, I will not be laying over seven points on the road in the Big Ten.

Despite their lackluster spread record, the Terps are 4-3 against the spread as underdogs this season. And they’re coming off a tough stretch of games. Danny Manning’s squad is due for a big performance.

Plus, Maryland could be due for some positive regression. ShotQuality’s metrics project the Terps should be 10-8 based on the quality of shots taken and allowed.

Therefore, I think the Terps can keep it within two possessions in College Park on Friday night. But I’m keeping this play on the smaller side, and I wouldn’t dare touch it below +7.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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