Ohio State Buckeyes (8-1 SU, 5-4 ATS) vs. Maryland Terrapins (5-4 SU, 3-6 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Saturday, November 12 at 3:30pm ET
Where: Maryland Stadium
by Evergreen, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: OSU -28.5/MD +28.5
Over/Under Total: 57.5
The stretch run in college football is pure adrenaline with teams facing must win situations to keep their conference or bowl hopes alive. If you are lucky enough to root for a top NCAA team, the added bonus of a potential playoff berth makes for high drama no matter the opponent. The Ohio State Buckeyes travel to Maryland to tangle with the Terrapins in a Big Ten game that is very important to both clubs. OSU has a clear path to the Big Ten Conference Championship should they win the remainder of their regular season games and a playoff berth is likely the reward should they win in Indy. Maryland is teetering on a bowl berth at 5-4 and will look to derail the Buckeyes march to a conference title and beyond. This will be the third time these schools have met since Maryland joined the Big Ten with Ohio State winning both by definitive margins. A win for Maryland would mark one of the biggest moments in program history.
The online betting sites listed Ohio State as early 28.5-point favorites with the over/under total set at 57 and a half. Both teams are just 1-4 against the spread in their last five Big Ten games with Maryland an equal 1-4 ATS in the last five against an above-.500 opponent. OSU comes in as the 3rd rated Sagarin team with the 28th toughest schedule while Maryland is at 70th and has faced the 59th toughest slate. The Buckeyes are 3-1 against Top-30 competition with the Terrapins 0-2 in their two Top-30 contests. The offense-defense method is predicting a 40-10 OSU win.
It has been a shaky month for Ohio State with a couple of uneven efforts. After a gutty overtime win against Wisconsin in Madison, the Buckeyes fell to Penn State and squeaked out a four point win against Northwestern. Those two games took a little shine off the overall OSU profile but momentum is back on their side after a 62-3 drubbing of Nebraska last week. The Buckeye offense that sputtered at times in previous weeks came alive for 590 yards against the Huskers and J.T. Barrett led the way with four touchdown passes. The date with Michigan during rivalry week looms as the largest Big Ten regular season game left on the schedule but Urban Meyer knows that beating up on a team like Maryland is the best way to roll into that matchup with the Wolverines.
Maryland jumped out to a 4-0 mark to start the season but enter the week on a 1-4 run and havenít looked great over most of that stretch. The win came against a floundering Michigan State team and while a win is always a win, the losses have revealed the biggest cracks in the Terrapins armor. In the four losses, Maryland has given up 38, 31, 42 and 59 points, totals that have just proven too much to overcome. The defense takes most of the blame as the Terrapins allow 226 rushing yards per game and over five yards a rush. That run defense now gets to take a try at stopping the 9th ranked rushing offense, one that averages 268 yards per game and nearly six yards per carry. The defensive line for the Terrapins is better at rushing the quarterback than run-stopping so you could see some duress coming J.T. Barrettís way but blitzing the Heisman candidate is a risky play. Ohio State dominates the time of possession most weeks, making Marylandís defensive stamina a big factor as well.
There is no shortage of playmaking ability for Ohio State. Barrettís dual threat ability is nightmare fuel for defensive coordinators but this isnít a one-man show. Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel are both over six yards per carry with Samuel leading the team in receptions and receiving yards. Noah Brown is not a high volume pass catcher but Barrett has found him for seven touchdowns and the duo works the play-action game well. As a team, Ohio State has accounted for 24 rushing touchdowns with six belonging to Barrett. The offense averages 44.8 points per game, good for 6th and nets 503 total yards per contest. Maryland is a solid pass defense but OSU might not need to throw much at all if they see the kind of ground game success they are used to.
Maryland does have some upper-tier offensive talent. Perry Hills has thrown for ten touchdowns against three interceptions and has four rushing touchdowns to add a little dual threat of his own. Hills isnít throwing for a ton of yards per game but the efficiency of the passing game has helped the Terrapin run game stack on track and average 232 yards per game. Hills is questionable after leaving the Michigan game with a shoulder injury. The backups, Caleb Rowe and Tyrell Pigrome, are significant steps down from the level Hills has shown so his availability is a big factor. Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison are big-play runners with the ability to knock out big chunks of yardage but Ohio State is allowing just 3.6 yards per carry and 124 rushing yards per game. Maryland might be toast if OSU bottles up the run game like Michigan did last week.
Even though the 28.5 points is a big number, the case for Maryland is not easy to make. The Terrapins are minus-4 in turnover margin this season and do not have the quick strike passing game to stay in a shootout. It was all over quite quickly last week for Maryland and the possibility of a similar game is high with the Buckeyes looking for style points. OSU has won the two previous meetings by 21 and 28 points but Maryland got to at least 24 in each of those contests. It feels like Ohio State can put up 48 or 52 like in the other games but I donít think the same can be said for Maryland. Take the Buckeyes, they look like they are past their mid-season struggles and they leave this one with a 44-14 win.
Evergreenís Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Ohio State
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