Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:30 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Maryland +18 over Michigan
SECU Stadium – College Park, MD
12:00 PM EST. Last week, we ripped a ticket when we faded Michigan but we are “sticking with it” this week because the Wolverines are stepping into what would typify the term “sandwich game”. It's the oldest trap in the book, but the "sandwich game" still has bite. The no-name opponent on the schedule between two big games. The letdown and the lookahead rolled into one and it remains a common cause of a C-game, because there are so many ways for it to go wrong. The first big game can be taxing, thrilling, deflating, emotional or any other thing that big games often are, the second one can be anticipated in several different distracting ways, and then there's the meat of the sandwich itself: never feared, perpetually overlooked, disrespected and written off.
Last week, with their Head Coach Jim Harbaugh suspended from coaching just hours before kick-off at Penn State due to the on-going sign-stealing scandal, Michigan pulled off a hard-fought 25-14 win against the Nittany Lions in Happy Valley in what was considered their biggest test of the year. Given all the drama, the victory surrounding the Michigan program heading into the match along with the shocking surprise of Harbaugh being forced to watch the game from the team hotel in State College was nothing short of emotional, demonstrated by the visceral response of interim head coach and offensive coordinator Sherron Moore crying in the post-game interview. The lookahead is “The Big Game” next week against a likely undefeated Ohio State in Ann Arbor. The scale and the size of this collision cannot be quantified, as it will be a showdown with Michigan’s biggest rival with everything on the line. Showdowns past and future with Penn State and Ohio State are the bread, Maryland catching almost three TD’s touchdowns is the filler, and Michigan is the team on C-game alert.
After getting off to a 5-0 start, the Terrapins have since come crashing back down to Earth as they marked off four consecutive losses before finally ending the skid last week with a 13-10 win in Nebraska. Under the stewardship of Michael Locksley with a stud quarterback in Taulia Tagovailoa under center, the Terps were expected to be a bigger player in the B1G pecking order in 2023 but it has very simply been a “tale of two seasons” for the Terps. With a disappointing second-half to their campaign, Maryland is an especially dangerous team in this spot because they will be “free-rolling.” In other words, they will be coming into this match-up with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Underdogs of this nature in general can be problematic but when we factor in that the Terps will get a preeminent blue-blood program in their own backyard in between two big games, the Terrapins are positioned to make the most of it. The Terrapins have the offensive wherewithal to score points from an X’s and O’s perspective and they have the defensive prowess to create turnovers, as they produced five last week in Lincoln. Now throw in an early kick-off time and many of the features of this game comprise the anatomy of an upset. We’re not calling the upset but Maryland will bring its “A” game and figure to easily come in under the number.
Maryland +18 -109 (Risking 2.18 units - To Win: 2.00)