Free College Football Betting Pick ATS: Maryland vs Michigan State

A crazy week for the Maryland Terrapins will conclude when the team hosts the Michigan State Spartans. Game time is set for noon EST on Saturday, November 3, at Maryland Stadium in College Park, Maryland. Fans can find the game on ESPN2.

According to the Week 10 college football odds, the Spartans are 2-point favorites on the road. That line has decreased some after Michigan State began the week as 3-point favorites. The game also has an over/under of 44.5 points.

Maryland vs Michigan State Vegas Preview & Game Predictions

As mentioned, it’s been a crazy week at Maryland, as head coach D.J. Durkin was officially fired on Wednesday. Durkin had been on leave since before the season opener, so this firing shouldn’t have an impact on the day-to-day operations of the football team under interim coach Matt Canada. However, it’s surely been an emotional week on campus with the situation involving Durkin and the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair coming to some sort of conclusion.

On the field, the Terps are just one win away from qualifying for a bowl game after last week’s 66-33 win over Illinois. However, Maryland faces a difficult November schedule that includes games against both Penn State and Ohio State. A home game against MSU may actually be Maryland’s best chance to get the win they need to secure a bowl spot.

Michigan State has an identical 5-3 record but doesn’t have quite as much program turmoil or desperation after beating Purdue last week 23-13. The Spartans aren’t in the running for a spot in the Big Ten title game, but last week’s win helped to steady the ship heading into November. Michigan State was even able to win last week with backup quarterback Rocky Lombardi filling in for the injured Brian Lewerke.

As it stands, Michigan State needs just one more win to qualify for a bowl. With games against Nebraska and Rutgers at the end of the season, the Spartans will have plenty of opportunities to get that win. However, MSU will surely want to build on the momentum of last week’s win.

The Spartans will also want to avenge the loss they suffered in College Park two years ago. Since Maryland joined the Big Ten, Michigan State has won three of the four meetings between the two schools. However, the Terrapins knocked off MSU 28-17 in 2016.

Free NCAAF Betting Prediction: Michigan State -2

The emotion on the University of Maryland campus this week adds a little uncertainty to this game. However, I’ll try to focus on things that have happened on the field. Outside of their win over Texas in the season opener, the Terrapins have taken care of business against lesser teams but struggled against quality opponents. Michigan State is definitely a quality opponent, so with just two points to cover, I’ll lean toward the Spartans.

This game is a great example of strength vs strength. Maryland is one of the best rushing teams in the country. The Terrapins gain nearly 250 yards per game and 6.3 yards per carry on the ground. In any given game, they throw no less than three different running backs at teams, enabling them to play matchups and go with the hot hand.

On the other side, the Michigan State defense is one of the best in the country at stopping the run. On the season, the Spartans are giving up 77 yards per game on the ground. To date, Penn State and Purdue are the only teams to average better than four yards per carry against the Spartans. Week after week, the Michigan State defense makes it difficult for opposing teams to establish anything on the ground.

In this matchup, I think the MSU defense will win the battle against Maryland’s ground attack. In such instances, it’s usually best to side with the defense. Also, the Spartans know that if they slow down Maryland’s running game, the Terrapins don’t have much of a Plan B.

Freshman quarterback Kasim Hill has not proven himself to be a viable college quarterback. If you take away games against Big Ten doormats Rutgers and Illinois, he has just three touchdown passes on the season. He certainly isn’t capable of carrying the Terps against a team like Michigan State.

To be fair, the MSU offense isn’t exactly a juggernaut. We don’t even know if it’ll be Lombardi or Lewerke getting the start. The Spartans have also struggled to generate much of a running game this year, gaining just 3.1 yards per carry, which puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback. However, the Michigan State offense rarely has to carry the team, so as long as they get steady quarterback play and some productivity from their running game, they can usually find the end zone when they need to.

Ultimately, I don’t have much faith in the Maryland offense against the MSU defense. After all, the Terrapins were shutout and held to just 115 total yards just a couple weeks ago against Iowa. There’s no guarantee they do much better this week, which makes me confident that the MSU offense can score enough points to cover the 2-point spread.

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