The No. 8 Michigan Wolverines (9-1, 6-1 in Big Ten) meet the Maryland Terrapins (5-5, 2-5) Saturday in a Big Ten East showdown on Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. The kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET and broadcasts on the Big Ten Network.
Michigan won its second consecutive game Saturday by beating the Penn State Nittany Lions 21-17. The Wolverines play smash-mouth football: Michigan has the 16th-highest rushing rate in the country, and DE David Ojabo leads the Big Ten in sacks (10) and forced fumbles (five). According to USA TODAY’s Jeff Sagarin, Michigan is 8-2 against the spread (ATS) and 4-6 Over/Under (O/U) with the 38th-toughest strength of schedule.
Maryland has dropped five of its past six games, including two straight to Penn State in Week 10 (31-14) and at the Michigan State Spartans last weekend (40-21). The Terrapins like to air the ball out with junior QB Taulia Tagovailoa. He leads the conference in pass attempts (268), passing yards (3,105), and interceptions (10). According to Sagarin, Maryland is 3-7 ATS and 5-5 O/U with the 26th-toughest schedule.
- Opening Line: Michigan -15
- Current Line: Michigan -15
- Total (Over/Under): 57.5
This line hasn’t budged off of the opener despite Michigan getting nearly two-thirds of the money wagered on it, according to Pregame.com. However, there’s been a sharp line move towards the Under. Circa Sports in Las Vegas opened Michigan-Maryland at 61.5 but has been steamed down to the current price.
Michigan hired head coach Jim Harbaugh in 2015. Since then, the Wolverines have been 11-12-1 ATS as a road favorite and 29-27-1 ATS vs. Big Ten foes. Michigan is 5-0 overall and ATS vs. Maryland under Harbaugh.
Head coach Mike Locksley took over Maryland’s football program in 2019. During Locksley’s stint, the Terrapins are 1-9 ATS vs. ranked teams, 3-5 ATS as a home underdog, and 5-16 ATS in conference play.
Last year’s Michigan-Maryland game was called off due to the COVID-altered schedule.
The only pro-Maryland argument I can fathom is “it’s a lookahead spot for Michigan who plays Ohio State next week.”
Otherwise, Maryland has a net negative predicted points added (PPA), yards per play, Havoc rate, 3rd-down conversion rate, and red zone scoring rate. The Terrapins have lost ATS in the last six games and have been boat raced in five of those contests. The Terrapins looked good until they started playing good teams. But that’s par for the course for Maryland football.
As mentioned before, Maryland has gotten crushed vs. Big Ten opponents since Locksley took over. Even before the Locksley era, the Terrapins were getting stomped in conference play. Since Maryland joined the Big Ten in 2014, the Terrapins are 20-36 ATS in conference play with a -6.0 spread differential.
Also, Michigan should have no problem in taking away Maryland’s ground game. That’ll force Maryland QB Tagovailoa into costly errors and having to convert a lot of long 3rd-downs. Michigan’s pass rush will be able to pin its ears back and get after Tagovailoa. Maryland’s offense ranks 93rd in Havoc rate allowed and 102nd in 3rd-down conversion rate. At the same time, Michigan’s defense is 28th in sack rate and 13th in 3rd-down conversion rate.
The bottom line is Michigan can execute at C-level and will easily cover this spread. Whereas Maryland needs a lot of luck to keep this one close.
PICK: Michigan -14.5 (-110 on DraftKings)
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