The Maryland Terrapins (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) stops by The Horseshoe to play the No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-1, 2-0) on Saturday. Ohio State bounced back from a shaky start of the year to hammer Rutgers 52-13 in Week 5 as 15-point road favorites. The Buckeyes are winners of three straight after a 35-28 upset at home by No. 8 Oregon on Sept. 11. Ohio State has covered its last two outings following a 0-2-1 against the spread (ATS) start.
Conversely, Maryland got trounced this past Friday 51-14 by No. 3 Iowa as 3-point home underdogs. Otherwise, the Terrapins are off to an impressive 2021 campaign. Maryland covered three of its first four games and junior QB Taulia Tagovailoa leads the Big Ten in passing yards, touchdowns, and completion percentage.
- Opening Line: Ohio State -20
- Current Line: Ohio State -20.5
- Over/Under: 71
- Location: Ohio Stadium
- Start Time: Saturday, October 9, 2021, noon ET
- Last Meeting: Ohio State pummeled Maryland 73-14, easily covering as massive 42.5-point home favorites on November 9, 2019.
Maryland head coach Mike Locksley and Ohio State head coach Ryan Day were both hired in 2019. Since then, the Terrapins are 1-6 ATS vs. ranked opponents with a minus-14.7 spread differential and 5-11 vs. Big Ten competition with a minus-9.0 spread differential. Ohio State is 11-6-1 ATS in conference games and 7-6 ATS at home over that span.
Everyone and their grandmothers are betting Ohio State. According to Pregame.com, nearly 90% of the cash wagered is on the Buckeyes laying three scores, which has caused oddsmakers to move Ohio State’s spread up to 20.5. As for the total, one-sided action on the Over has steamed this total up from 67 to the current number.
If Ohio State is going to make another College Football Playoff it’ll need to tear through conference play. In a way, there’s value in the Buckeyes because of their upset loss to Oregon and subsequent hangover game against Tulsa. Ohio State beat Tulsa 41-20 but failed to cover as 24.5-point home favorites. More importantly, Maryland’s defense stands little chance vs. Ohio State’s offense. This game will get away from the Terrapins fast—like in their previous loss to Iowa—if they cannot get stops.
For instance, Maryland has the 116th-highest non-garbage time rushing rate. While Ohio State’s defense ranks 20th in both rushing success rate and predicted points added (PPA) and 16th in standard down success rate. So not only do the Terrapins not like running the ball. But, also, Maryland’s ground game probably won’t be successful vs. Ohio State. This will lead to many problems for a Maryland offense that isn’t good on passing downs. In fact, the Terrapins have just a 30.0% success rate on passing downs (ranked 81st) and the 94th-ranked third-down conversion rate.
Furthermore, Maryland committed seven turnovers last week due to playing a stout Iowa defense and needing to play catch up. Ohio State’s defense has intercepted seven passes over the past three weeks. The Buckeyes should feast against this clumsy Maryland offense if it has to play off-script.
Pick: Ohio State -20.5 (-110 on FanDuel)
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