The second round of the 2021 March Madness continues on Monday, March 22, so here’s the best betting pick for the East Region duel between the No. 10 Maryland Terrapins and the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
These rivals have met on two occasions before, and the series is tied at 1-1. According to PointsBet Sportsbook, the Alabama Crimson Tide are 5-point favorites to get a victory and progress to the Sweet 16, where they could face the winner of the clash between UCLA and Abilene Christian.
The Terrapins made a little upset with a win over the Huskies
The Maryland Terrapins were underdogs in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against the UConn Huskies, but they secured a 63-54 win thanks to a strong opening half. They allowed only 22 points in the first 20 minutes and limited the Huskies to 32.3% from the floor.
Junior guard Eric Ayala led the Terrapins with 23 points, five rebounds, and game-high three steals. Aaron Wiggins had 14 points, five boards, and two blocks, while Donta Scott added 12 points, four rebounds, and two rejections.
It’s the 29th time for Maryland to make it to Big Dance, and they are hoping for the first appearance in Sweet 16 since 2016.
This season, Maryland is the 248th team in college basketball when it comes to the offense as they average 68.6 points per game, while they are 46th on defense with 64.6 points allowed per contest.
Ayala is the team’s top scorer with 15.2 ppg, while he averages 4.2 rpg and 1.2 spg. Wiggins has 14.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, and 1.1 spg, while Scott is averaging 10.9 ppg and 6.1 rpg.
The Crimson Tide breezed past the Gaels
The Alabama Crimson Tide had some issues with the Iona Gaels in the first half, but they switched to a higher gear in the second 20 minutes and secured a 68-55 victory. Alabama dominated the pain and recorded 42 rebounds opposite Iona’s 26.
Senior forward Herbert Jones led the Crimson Tide with 20 points, six rebounds, and game-high three steals. John Petty Jr. added ten points, game-high seven boards, and two blocks, while Jaden Shackelford chipped in with ten points and four rebounds.
It’s the 22nd appearance in the NCAA Tournament for Alabama, who never made it past the Elite Eight (2004). The Tide are looking for the first Sweet 16 appearance since 2004, and considering how they are playing this year, that goal is quite achievable.
This year, Alabama has the 29th offense in the country that averages 79.2 points per game, while their defense is 146th as they allow 69.3 points per contest. The Crimson Tide are in the top 10 in rebounds per game (40.5), while they are in the top 10 when it comes to defending the perimeter, allowing only 28.5% to the opponents.
Shackelford leads the team in points with 14.1 per game. Jahvon Quinerly averages 12.6 ppg, Petty Jr. has 12.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, and 1.3 spg, while Jones is averaging 11.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.8 spg, and 1.1 bpg.
- 5-12 ATS in their last 17 games played in March
- 5-12 SU in their previous 17 games when playing as the underdog
- 1-4 ATS in their last five games played on a Monday
- 4-2 ATS in their last six games
- 7-0 SU in their previous seven games
- 6-0 SU in their last six games played in March
It seems that Alabama has an open path to the Elite Eight as I think they have a better team from Maryland, UCLA, and Abilene Christian. Still, we do know the unpredictable nature of March Madness, and we already witnessed some major upsets, so anything could happen. The Crimson Tide shouldn’t have problems progressing to the Sweet 16, and I am backing them to do it and cover the spread along the way.
The Pick: Alabama Crimson Tide -5.5 (-110)
Maryland is not an efficient team, and they are relying on the defense to win games. I don’t expect to see a bunch of points in this one for a few reasons. First, the total has gone Under in 12 of Maryland’s last 15 games this season. Second, the total went Under in six of Alabama’s previous eight games. And in the end, the total has gone Under in five of Alabama’s last seven games when playing as the favorite.
The Pick: Under 138.5 (-110)