The Maryland Terrapins (2-1) will look to rebound after a disastrous loss against Temple last weekend when they host the Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-0) on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is set for 12:00 PM EST at Maryland Stadium and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Taking a look at the Week 4 college football odds, Maryland opened as a 2.5-point home favorite earlier this week. That line has stayed pretty much the same, as the Terrapins are currently listed at -2.5. The total for the game is sitting at 46.5 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Maryland vs Minnesota
The Terrapins looked great the first two weeks of the 2018-19 college football season, beating Texas and Bowling Green consecutively to start their year 2-0. Things really went off the rails last weekend however, as they somehow lost 35-14 to Temple despite entering the game as double digit favorites. The offense was pretty much a no-show, as Maryland only recorded 11 first downs and gained only 195 total yards all game. They also went a horrific 1-12 on third downs, which is tough to do against a Temple Owls team that had given up 55 points combined against Buffalo and FCS Villanova. QB’s Kasim Hill and Tyrell Pigrome were sacked seven times total after both starting offensive tackles were forced to miss the game due to injury. Hill’s play has been especially troubling, as the sophomore has thrown one or less touchdowns in five of his first six NCAA games.
On the other side of the ball, Maryland is currently giving up an average of 26.0 points per game which is 76th overall nationwide. However, the Terrapins have looked extremely strong against the run, as they are giving up an average of just 107.3 rushing yards per game to opponents (27th). Unfortunately, their secondary has been relatively poor, as opposing teams have averaged 223.3 yards per game through the air (77th).
Minnesota improved to 3-0 on the season last weekend after an impressive 26-3 victory against Miami-Ohio. It was the defense that stole the show for the Golden Gophers, limiting the RedHawks to just 10 first downs and 199 total yards. Over their first three games, Minnesota is giving up an average of just 184.3 yards per game through the air while also limiting opponents to an average of 9 points per game (7th overall). They have also been extremely impressive against the run, holding opponents to an average of only 72.0 yards per game (6th overall). The Golden Gophers are in a great spot defensively again on Saturday, as Maryland is in the midst of a big slump on offense.
Things haven’t been running quite as smoothly on the other side of the ball, as Minnesota lost starting QB Zack Annexstad last game to an apparent ankle injury. However, it seems likely that he will be ready to play on Saturday after practicing this week and being named as the starter by head coach P.J. Fleck. Annexstad is a true freshman who, after walking on and winning the starting QB role, has already passed for almost 600 yards and 4 touchdowns. RB Bryce Williams has also looked great, rushing for a career high 141 yards on 33 carries against Miami-Ohio. WR Tyler Johnson will look to have a second consecutive monster outing this weekend against a lackluster Maryland secondary after racking up 133 receiving yards and three touchdowns in Week 3.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Minnesota +2.5
Although I don’t like overreacting to one bad performance, I have a hard time believing that Maryland’s performance against Temple was just an outlier. Both quarterbacks looked terrible while the offense as a whole was in complete shambles. I’m not sure if they can rebound in time at home on Saturday, especially against such a strong Minnesota defense. Although the Terrapins did rush for over 200 yards per game in Weeks 1 and 2, the Owls held them to just 130 yards on the ground last weekend. I think Minnesota might be able to repeat that feat again on Saturday, which would put them in a great position to cover and possibly even win outright.
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Minnesota is 4-1 ATS over their past five games in September and 4-1 ATS in their last five games on fieldturf. On the other hand, the Terrapins are just 2-6 ATS over their past eight conference games, 1-4 ATS in their past five games against teams with a winning record, and 1-4 ATS in their past five outings on fieldturf. It is also worth nothing – especially after last week – that Maryland is just 2-5 ATS over their last seven home games.
All things considered, I actually think Minnesota is the better team and wouldn’t be surprised at all if they won outright in this spot. Their defense is an extremely tough match-up for any team, especially one that has two struggling quarterbacks and multiple injuries on the offensive line. I’m also not sure how the Terrapins will be able to slow down a red-hot Tyler Johnson, who is scoring multiple touchdowns per game with ease right now. I just can’t get over how awful Maryland looked in Week 3 and am expecting them to struggle yet again this weekend against a much stronger team. I’m rolling with the Golden Gophers in this one – the extra couple of points are just a bonus.