Maryland Terrapins (2-7 SU, 6-3 ATS) vs. Michigan State Spartans (8-1 SU, 2-7 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date/Time: Saturday, November 14, 12:00pm
Where: Spartan Stadium East Lansing, Michigan
by Bob, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MAR +18/MSU -18
Over/Under Total: OFF
I am writing my second preview of week 11 in college football and I am starting to see a pattern of the games I have been assigned. Another top team, undefeated, primed to make a run at the final four that is coming off an upset loss. Yep, the Michigan State Spartans were unscathed in 2015, then just this past weekend, they suffered a loss to Nebraska by a gut wrenching score of 39-38. Usually it is okay to lose one, but not to a team like Nebraska who was having a very sub par season. Now, sitting at 8-1, the Spartans will welcome the Maryland Terrapins, another team who is having a very bad campaign here in 2015. Maryland enters at 2-7 and their only two wins came against Richmond and South Florida, not exactly impressive. This will be only the seventh all time meeting between these two schools, but now that Maryland is part of the Big Ten conference, we will see this match up more and more in the coming years. The first game between the Spartans and Terps took place all the way back in 1944 and Michigan State won 8-0. Over the years, Michigan State has accumulated a 5-1 record against Maryland, with the Terrapins only victory coming in 1950. The last game between these two actually took place last season, and the Spartans were again winners by a score of 37-15. Could this year be different?
Vegas opens the line of this game with the Spartans being an 18 point home favorite over Maryland. The total points have not been set yet, and I would expect something like 48 points or so, but we will see in the next 12-24 hours what the odds makers say. As of Monday at noon, eastern standard time, 68% of the early action is on Michigan State to take care of business. I like this match up from an Xs and Os standpoint for the Spartans, but there is one alarming stat, and to be honest, it is the most important one for us degenerates Michigan State is 2-7 against the spread in 2015 while Maryland is 6-3. We probably should take a closer look and see which side to lean. 18 points is a lot to make just a chalk bet on.
Michigan State now sits at 8-1, but lets be honest here, and even Sparty fans will tell you, they should be 7-2. The insane ending against Michigan in the Big House was one of the craziest in the history of college football. MSU had MAYBE a .001% chance to win that game at that time, and they did. Other than the close Michigan win, the Spartans also had to battle to beat Oregon, who is not the same Oregon we have seen over the last 5-6 years, and they narrowly escaped a so-so Purdue team as well. Now, I am not one to take shots at a team that finds ways to win, but we are talking points spreads here, not wins and losses. On a national scale statistically, Michigan State is pretty average. They rank 34th in the nation in passing, 90th in rushing offense, and are tied for 36th in the nation in scoring. On the defensive side, Michigan State is allowing 24 points a game which places them right in the middle of the entire FBS in scoring defense. The key this weekend is to play solid ball on both sides. Michigan State needs to just play mistake free football. This spread will not be easy to cover but it is possible against a Maryland team that themselves are very impressive as a team.
Maryland is struggling bad and I am pretty sure the entire ACC is loving every second of it. The Terps are 2-7 overall and winless at 0-5 in the Big Ten, and I see no indication that this will change this weekend. However, Maryland, could cover this 18 point spread if they played decent football for a change. Coming into this game, Maryland is is scoring 28 a game which is not too bad in the grand scheme of things, but their defense is allowing the opposition to put almost 35 a game. This is a very simple take on this game for me. Maryland needs to get the run game going. If they put together some long drives and run the clock, they can keep this game close headed into the second half. If they try to be something they arent and pass the ball more than 35% of the time, I can see the Spartans getting quick stops and pulling away. Keep the final score for Michigan State in the mid 20s, and I think Maryland not only keeps the game close, but interesting.
Again, the public is pounding the home favorite coming off of a loss, while they have underachieved pretty much all season against the points. I like Maryland to cover here. I do not like Maryland to win, but I think they will score enough points to keep this game within three scores. I could see a 31-17 type win for Michigan State in this one.
Bobs Pick to Cover the Point Spread: TAKE THE ROAD UNDERDOG, MARYLAND TERRAPINS +18 POINTS!
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