The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-3) host the Maryland Terrapins (2-2) this weekend for a BIG 10 East duel from Piscataway. Kickoff is set for 12:00 PM EST on Saturday, October 5th at SHI Stadium and the game will be televised on the BIG 10 Network.
Taking a look at the Week 6 college football odds, Maryland opened as a 13-point road favorite earlier this week. That spread has shifted by a point after early betting, as the Terrapins are currently listed at -14. The total for the game is sitting at 53.5 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Rutgers vs Maryland
Maryland dropped back to .500 overall last weekend after a 2-0 start to the season, losing 59-0 at home to Penn State. The Terps gave up 38 unanswered points in the first half and never recovered, getting completely shut out offensively over the final two quarters of the game as well. QB Josh Jackson completed less than 50% of his passes for only 65 yards and also threw two costly interceptions. Anthony McFarland Jr. experienced similar struggles on the ground, rushing nine times for only 24 yards. It was basically the same story for the receiving corps, as no Terrapin receiver gained more than 18 total yards against a stifling Nittany Lions secondary. Overall, the offense barely managed to gain more than 100 total yards in what was an absolutely dominant performance by the Penn State defense.
The Terrapins defense also had a terrible outing in Week 5, getting torched by the Nittany Lions for well over 600 yards of total offense and eight touchdowns. Maryland was repeatedly exposed through the air, as Penn State QB Sean Clifford passed for almost 400 yards and threw three touchdowns in the victory.
Rutgers lost their third consecutive game last weekend after getting crushed 52-0 on the road by Michigan to drop to 1-3 overall. The Scarlet Knights gave up 24 points over the first two quarters before giving up four more touchdowns over the last 30 minutes of the game. QB Artur Sitkowski was 17/24 for just 106 yards through the air while RB Isaih Pacheco only managed to rush for 23 yards on a team-high 10 carries. WR Raheem Blackshear led the way for the receiving corps, hauling in seven catches for 55 yards. As a whole, Rutgers generated just over 150 total yards and failed to score a single point against a powerful Wolverines defense.
The Scarlet Knights didn’t have much more success on the other side of the ball against Michigan either, giving up well over 400 total yards of offense and seven touchdowns. Rutgers had no success at all trying to slow down Wolverines QB Ian Book, as he threw for 276 yards and a touchdown while also finding the end zone three times on the ground.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: OVER 53.5
Even though I think that Maryland should find a way to cover the two touchdown spread against a struggling Rutgers squad, I just don’t think that there is enough value in this particular spot if the number stays at 14 or higher. Unless the Terrapins move downwards towards -12.5 or so, I think the OVER on 53.5 total points scored is the optimal play in what should be a high-scoring BIG 10 battle. The Scarlet Knights have now given up at least 30 points in three out of their last four games overall. Rutgers also scored 64 points combined in their two matchups this season that didn’t involve either Iowa or Michigan. On the other side, Maryland scored 141 points combined in their first two games this season before cooling down a bit in Week 4 and 5. The Terps defense also hasn’t been that great, as they’ve given up 20+ points three times this year already.
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I think that this is shaping up to be a perfect rebound spot for the Maryland offense, especially considering how poorly the Scarlet Knights have played on defense through their first four games. Even though the Rutgers offense certainly won’t blow the doors off of anyone, they should still be able score at least 2-3 touchdowns against a Terps defense that has really struggled as of late. While I’ll likely lay the points and roll with the road favorite if Maryland drops back below -13 before kickoff on Saturday afternoon, I think the OVER on 53 points makes the most sense if that doesn’t wind up happening.