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Big Ten action here as the Maryland Terrapins travel to Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes. Maryland started off the season hot, but quickly cooled down, then got sort of hot again. Iowa has played well all season long outside of one loss to Wisconsin, and has climbed to number 19 in the rankings. Oddsmakers have penciled Iowa in as 11 point favorites here.
Maryland Hard To Pin Down
Maryland has been one of the weirder and hardest to predict teams in the country this year. Playing with a massive cloud over the program due to the scandal surrounding the death of an ex-Terrapin player, they’ve had an up and down year.
They opened the season with a surprising upset victory over Texas, but two weeks later were blown out by an 0-2 Temple team which had just lost to an FCS school. Right after that they bounced back though, and beat Minnesota by 29 points. They then lost by 21 on the road to a very good Michigan team, which is by no means a bad loss.
Maryland relies almost entirely on their ground game for offense, and how their offensive line does against Iowa’s defensive front will be the matchup that determines the outcome of this game.
Maryland has over twice as many rushing yards as passing yards this season, something that’s extremely rare in 2018. Unfortunately for Maryland, Iowa is second in the nation in rushing defense, and gives up just 2.69 yards per rush attempt.
Iowa Matches Up Well
Iowa has won every game they’ve played by double digits, except for their one loss to Wisconsin. They beat in-state rival Iowa State by ten and recently beat Indiana and Minnesota both on the road by a combined 43 points.
This year’s Iowa team is a bit more pass-happy than Iowa teams usually are, with junior quarterback Nate Stanley earning the full trust of the coaching staff. Iowa’s coaches allow Stanley to air it out, and he’s performed well this year, averaging 8.47 yards per attempt with fifteen touchdowns and only five interceptions.
Nate Stanley will not be troubled by your marginal attempts to tackle him. pic.twitter.com/cGrlHwHQqj
— patrick meyer (@myrdsm) October 13, 2018
The real story of this game will be how Iowa’s defense holds up against a suddenly strong Maryland ground game. The Hawkeyes have some tough defensive linemen, and seemingly always have a strong linebacking corp.
I think the defensive front for Iowa will continue their dominance from earlier this season and shut down the Maryland rushing attack. If Maryland is forced to abandon the run and start chucking the ball with an inexperienced quarterback, it could be a very long day for the Terrapins.
- 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall
- 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game
- 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 home games
- 5-21 ATS in their last 26 games following a straight up win
- 2-8 ATS in their last 10 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
- 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I like the Hawkeyes a lot here. What Maryland will be seeking to do offensively should play right into the hands of what Iowa does well defensively. If Maryland can’t put up a bunch of points, they stand almost no chance here, as their defense isn’t good enough to consistently stop Stanley and the Iowa offense. I think this one could get away from them early, and Iowa will win by multiple scores.
Prediction: Iowa -10.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I think both offenses will struggle a little bit. Maryland will be running the ball like they always do, and won’t have much success doing it. Iowa will have a balanced attack, and should have some success, but this game will still be played at a relatively slow pace. I think this one could be a typical physical BIG 10 match, with points at a premium.
Half-Time Side Pick
I like Iowa in the first half even more than the full game. Iowa gets one of the best crowds in the nation, and should be full of adrenaline in the first half with this crowd noise. Even if Maryland settles down later in the game, they’ll be rattled at first and should trail by at least a touchdown entering the break.
Prediction: Iowa -5
Half-Time Total Bet
This total is low, but not low enough for two very solid defenses. Throw in the fact that Maryland absolutely cannot pass the ball, and I don’t see how there’s more than three touchdowns in the first half here. I could very easily see the Terrapins being held without a touchdown in the first half, so under 21 makes a lot of sense here.
Prediction: Under 21