Following last week’s blowout win over Notre Dame, the no. 14 Michigan Wolverines will try to keep rolling when they pay a visit to the Maryland Terrapins. Kickoff is set for noon EST on Saturday, November 2 at Maryland Stadium in College Park. The game will be broadcast nationally on ABC.
Current odds list Michigan as a 19-point favorite on the road. The game also has an over/under of 56 points. Click here to view a complete list of the Week 10 college football odds.
Despite a couple of losses in big games this season, the Wolverines showed up in the spotlight with a 45-14 thrashing of rival Notre Dame last week. The win locked up a bowl bid for Michigan and puts them in a good position to win 10 games this season. Oddly enough, the Wolverines might have a better chance of reaching the College Football Playoff than the Big Ten Championship Game. If Michigan can win out, including a win over Ohio State the final week of the season, they would be 10-2 and could garner some consideration for a top-4 spot if they get a little help elsewhere. Of course, none of that will matter if they can take care of business against the Terrapins this week.
As for Maryland, their bowl hopes are quickly dissipating in Mike Locksley’s first year back in College Park. After starting the year 2-0 in impressive fashion, the Terps have lost five of their last six games, including a 52-10 loss to Minnesota last week. Maryland’s only win during that span coming against lowly Rutgers. The Terrapins still a chance to salvage their season and get to a bowl game by winning three of their last four games. However, they now have to play Michigan and Ohio State in back-to-back weeks. Without an upset over one of them, the season will be all but over before Thanksgiving, making Saturday’s game a must-win affair for the Terrapins.
The Terps have just one win against Michigan in eight all-time meetings. That win came against Brady Hoke’s Wolverines in 2014 in the first game Maryland played against Michigan as Big Ten foes. Since then, the Wolverines have rattled off four straight wins over the Terps with last year’s 42-21 game being the closest of the four.
The line in this game has steadily increased in Michigan’s favor, indicating a lot of action on the Wolverines. But even if the spread grew to the 21-24 range, the best bet here is still on Michigan covering the spread. The Terps look like a dumpster fire right now and playing a top-15 team probably won’t help. Despite some concerns about Michigan, I’ll eat the points and take the Wolverines to cover.
Maryland has faced two top-20 Big Ten opponents this season. The first game was when they hosted Penn State and lost 59-0. The second game was last week’s 52-10 loss to Minnesota. Those results tell you everything you need to know about how the Terps match up against elite competition. Minnesota may not even half top-20 talent on the roster, and yet the Terrapins managed just 10 first downs, 210 total yards, and possessed the ball for a mere 17 minutes.
By the end of last week’s game, Maryland had used three quarterbacks. The most effective of the three was Tyler DeSue, who only completed four of his 12 passes. Meanwhile, the Maryland rushing attack that looked so lethal early in the season was held to just 79 total yards. There’s little reason to think that things will get better this week against a Michigan defense that has conceded little to the Penn State and Notre Dame rushing attacks in recent weeks.
Defensively, the Terps are equally incapable of holding up against top competition. The Maryland defense allowed over 300 rushing yards last week against Minnesota. In their previous game, the Terrapins gave up over five yards per carry against Indiana. Meanwhile, the Wolverines ran all over Notre Dame last week, gaining over 300 yards and averaging over five yards per rush. I expect more of the same from the Michigan offense this week.
To be fair, the Michigan passing attack has been a little unreliable this season. If the Wolverines expect to win by at least 20 points, they’ll probably need a few big plays from the passing game. While Shea Patterson has struggled with his accuracy at times, there’s no doubt that he has the arm strength to take shots down the field. The Wolverines also have the talent at the receiver position to take advantage if Maryland stacks the box to stop the run.
The only thing that worries me about this pick is the lack of killer instinct Michigan had against Illinois a few weeks ago, allowing the Illini back in the game after building a big lead. But I can forgive that one incident given how Maryland has played in recent weeks. The Terps are giving up 42 points per game during their current three-game losing streak. Even if the Michigan defense relaxes a little in the second half, I don’t think Maryland can keep this game within 20 points, so I’ll trust the Wolverines to cover.