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Big Ten battle here as the Ohio State Buckeyes host the Maryland Terrapins. Maryland has been up and down this season, while Ohio State enters this one ranked in the top spot in the College Football Playoff rankings. Oddsmakers have Ohio State as a truly massive favorite for this one, which will be televised nationally on FOX.
Maryland CollapsesMaryland got off to a great start this season. After trouncing Howard in their opener, they then dominated Syracuse who was ranked 21st at the time, beating them by 43 points. Things have been all downhill since then though, as they've lost six of their last seven games entering this one. They did look impressive in that one win though, beating Rutgers by a score of 48 - 7. The defense has been a liability, and it is obviously going to be hard for them to slow down Ohio State. As such they are going to need to rely on the offense if they want to stay in this game and cover the hefty spread. Quarterback Josh Jackson, a transfer from Virginia Tech, has shown flashes but hasn't been consistent enough.
I'm still pretty high on his talent, as he showed a lot during his time at Virginia Tech, and I think he could turn things around towards the end of the season. Maryland also has a fairly strong running game, and they're averaging 5.0 yards per carry as a team. Javon Leake looks like a star in the making, and the junior is averaging 7.7 yards per carry this year while scoring seven touchdowns. Maryland simply needs to get him more carries, and hopefully they do so here. Ohio State has a tough defensive front, and that is going to be the matchup to watch here. Maryland's secondary actually hasn't been terrible recently, and in their most recent game against Michigan, they held Shea Patterson to just 151 yards. Maybe that will help them slow down Justin Fields here.
OSU Playoff Bound?Another year, another season in which Ohio State is one of the best teams in the country. The College Football Playoff committee recently unveiled their first rankings of the season, and Ohio State occupied the top slot. If you've watched them this season that wasn't all that surprising, and they have a clear path to the playoff. They're undefeated and have won most of their games with relative ease, although this is still a massive spread to cover. They have had some middling efforts against inferior teams already this season, such as when they gave up 21 points to FAU and only beat them by 24. The spread here is 43, and they've only won two games by more than that margin so far this season.
Also concerning is the fact that Ohio State is pretty banged up at the moment. Transfer quarterback Justin Fields has been sensational, and he could be a little bit limited in this one. He went to the injury tent with a back issue during their most recent game, and that could linger here. Several rotational defensive lineman are also banged up, which could hinder their defensive front depth as they try to stop Maryland's ground game. Quietly, Ohio State has played a pretty easy schedule of opposing offenses, and I'm not sure their defense is good at the stats would indicate. Not that Maryland is an offensive juggernaut by any means, but this could be a real test for them and not the cakewalk that many seem to be expecting it to be.
Update: 11/8: Star defensive end Chase Young will not play in this game.
Trends courtesy of Covers.com: Buckeyes are:
- 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games in November
- 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games following a double-digit loss at home
- 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games following an ATS loss
- 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating less than 275 total yards in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I'm taking the points with Maryland here. These Ohio State point spreads are starting to get out of control, and there is value in fading them. Maryland isn't as bad as their record would indicate, and I think they should be able to score some points here. Ohio State is a little banged up at the moment, and it's possible that they are a little complacent after receiving the top spot in the recent rankings.
Prediction: Maryland +43
Full-Game Total Pick
The over also makes a lot of sense here. Maryland's defense has been a liability, and Ohio State's defense isn't as good as the stats would make you believe. Maryland knows their only chance to keep up here is to score early, and I think they're going to play at a very fast pace. Fields is going to have a big day, and Jackson could make some noise as well. The over is also 5-0 the last five times these teams have played each other, so this one has shootout written all over it.