The infuriating version of Michigan showed up last weekend and that’s been the main issue with backing them the last few years. To help against Maryland, the Wolverines return home and were -17.5 point favorites with an over/under of 49 as of Wednesday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
The funny thing is that Maryland has probably been more all over the place than Michigan because after beating Texas in the opener, it went on to lose 35-14 to a subpar Temple team and then win 42-13 most recently against Minnesota. This Game could go a number of ways from a Michigan blowout to another close contest, but most of the bets will still be on the Wolverines.
It’s hard to put too much into last year’s 35-10 win for Michigan because both teams were a lot different with worse quarterbacks. Maryland started Ryan Brand, who only started that Game last year and is no longer on the team. Maybe more intriguing in that loss for Maryland was that it was still able to move the ball even though it only scored 10 points as it outgained Michigan on the ground with 180 rushing yards on 5.6 yards per carry.
That stat is the main reason the Terrapins could cover this Game and keep it close. Their running Game has been dynamic in the first month with both Ty Johnson and Anthony McFarland averaging at least 7.5 yards per carry. Michigan has a great defensive line, but it did last year and still had a problem with this offense. If the Terps can at least keep the chains moving, that’d be a start because they won’t ask quarterback Kasim Hill to do too much since they don’t want him to turn it over like Brand last year.
The interesting thing is that Maryland’s defense has played pretty good this year, though that’s mostly due to Schedule and even then it gave up 35 points to Temple. Playing at home, Michigan should be set to Scoreat least 30 points, which means Maryland would need a couple touchdowns to cover. Shea Patterson still hasn’t been asked to do too much and even in the comeback against Northwestern, he went just 15-of-24 for 196 yards and no touchdowns. The Wolverines will likely rely heavily on their ground Game once again with Karan Higdon and Chris Evans and that could be enough to win. The question is if Maryland’s rush defense is for real, allowing only 2.7 yards per carry. If UM’s running backs are slightly held in check, that’d be a boost to the road team.
Neither one of these teams is easy to predict, but Michigan has won and covered the last three matchups by a wide margin so it will be hard to go against that. The Terrapins are 6-21 ATS in their last 27 following an ATS Win and 4-9 ATS in their last 13 road Games. The Wolverines are 4-1 ATS in their last five home Games, but 1-4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Our Pick – Maryland +17.5