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Maryland-Ohio State betting odds, lines and picks

Resident degenerate gambler FlaTerp takes a closer look at Maryland's matchup with Ohio State

Apologies for the lateness this week but it wasn't without good reason: Maryland-Ohio State was off the board until Thursday, presumably because of uncertainty surrounding the Terps' situation at quarterback, where C.J. Brown's status appears as though it will be cloudy right up until kickoff. In any case, the wiseguys eventually decided income outweighed uncertainty and opened the game for betting Thursday morning, so we're off.

We'll get right to work and talk about last week's results. Look out folks, our humble managing editor, Pete Volk, has surged into the lead with another winning week that boosted him to 14-9 overall, making him the only one to pick 14 games correctly. Hey Pete, you should think about changing careers. Sports handicapping might be both more fun and more lucrative than your current job of stabbing Maryland fans in the eyeballs with terrible Terps news. Oh wait, do I sound resentful that Pete is kicking my ass at the very thing I profess to be the staff expert at? Yeah, maybe I am a little.

Anyway, nice picking Pete. You're just ahead of ESterps08, TerpsAught1, QuigTerp and TerpsRising who all have 13 correct picks. In terms of winning percentage, TerpsRising had built such a giant cushion that he was able to stomach a 3-3 week and still maintain a nice lead with a 13-5 overall record. And speaking of 3-3, that's precisely where I landed, leaving me at a very mediocre 11-12 on the season.

None of you really killed it last week, with 4-2 serving as the best record, shared by the aforementioned Pete along with chiterp, Octavian, terpsfinish, testudbro, Testudo's Attorney and umcp96. Here's the leaderboard:

How FlaTerp fared (season record in parenthesis):
Maryland vs. spread: Won (2-2)
Maryland straight up: Won (2-2)

Overall vs. Spread: 3-3 (11-12)

How you all fared:

chiterp 4-2
Octavian 4-2 (11-6)
Pete Volk 4-2 (14-9)
terpsfinish 4-2 (9-8)
testudbro 4-2 (9-8)
Testudo's Attorney 4-2 (7-9)
umcp96 4-2 (9-8)
Charles Owen 3-3 (11-6)
cliffhanger45 3-3 (10-7)
Lauderdale Terp 3-3 (10-7)
Maryland1206 3-3
MellophoneMathMajor 3-3 (7-10)
mtcassell 3-3 (9-13)
TerpsAught1 3-3 (13-10)
TerpsRising 3-3 (13-5)
Zol 3-3 (12-9)
PAB522 2-3 (6-10)
FearTheTurtle 2-2 (8-13)
Brendan Darr 2-4 (7-10)
ESterps08 2-4 (13-10)
Jersey Terp 2-4 (2-9)
NattyBoAndOldBay 2-4
NYCSportsFan 2-4 (4-7)
NickTerp85 2-4 (6-17)
nyterp1 2-4 (8-13)
QuigTerp 2-4 (13-10)
sleteach 2-4 (7-10)
tbeeman 2-4 (6-11)
Terptown16 2-4 (8-9)
thedurtyturtle 2-4 (8-15)
wittcap79 2-4 (7-11)
younghollywood5 2-4 (6-11)
Noah Niederhoffer 1-5 (10-12)
englandumd 1-5 (9-8)

Time to talk about this week's gigantic B1G home opener against none other than Ohio State ....

Ohio State (3-1, 0-0) at Maryland (4-1, 1-0)

Opening line: Ohio State -8.5

Current line: Still mostly -8.5, although it's dropped to -8 at a couple books.

Trends: At a spread of 8.5, the public initially backed Maryland at a rate of about 65 percent. The slight drop in a couple books to -8 has achieved Vegas' desired result of balancing the action even further and it's 57-43 in favor of Maryland at the time of this writing.

What it means: Generally speaking, when you see Vegas taking measures to split the action on a game at 50-50, it means the wiseguys aren't sure which side of the spread they want to be on, so they'll settle for the guaranteed house win that a 50-50 split gives them — since they take 10% juice from all the winning tickets. So Vegas set an 8-9 point line and my take on it is that it's Vegas's best guess about the amount of points they believe Ohio State is better than Maryland by at Byrd.

My pick: In a game where the action is split in the neighborhood of 50-50, you're not really getting help from the betting trends, so you're on your own to just handicap the game and take your best shot. My general stance is that when you can bet a team with clear advantages and not be betting against the house while you do it, it's always a solid play. And I do believe Ohio State is clearly the more talented team here. Maryland has a physical advantage matching up their receivers against the Buckeyes' secondary, but I'd say just about every other positional battle brings a physical advantage to Ohio State. Now this doesn't guarantee anything for the Buckeyes — just ask Virginia Tech — but what it does mean to me is that Ohio State controls its own destiny in this matchup. In other words, if the Buckeyes play their best game, there's probably not much Maryland can do to get in their way. Maryland needs to play good football and get help. Ohio State just needs to play good football. It reminds me of all those time the Terps took on FSU. Maryland was fighting for infield singles while the 'Noles could afford to swing for the fences. It's precisely what superior recruiting buys you. Last week, I liked Maryland more than Indiana in a game that felt a little toss-up-ish, in the end, because Maryland recruits better and has better athletes. Well, Ohio State recruits much better than Maryland and has much better athletes. I just can't pick against that when Vegas isn't offering any assistance.

Pick vs. the spread: Ohio State -8.5

Game pick: Ohio State 42, Maryland 24

5 I like

@SYRACUSE (+3) vs Louisville: Syracuse has stung me two times in a row at home (vs. Maryland, vs. Notre Dame) so what do I do about it? Nothing! Always a great strategy. In any case, the thinking here is twofold. 1. It's a classic contrarian 80-20 split .. the public loves Louisville and the wiseguys are content letting that love affair continue. As I've said over and over again. I'll always side with the house when they make it look too easy. Louisville -3 looks too easy. I'm leery. 2. I love to bet a team when everyone else has abandoned it. Syracuse has lost ATS two weeks in a row and that's usually a signal to buy low. Vegas knows when everyone's down on somebody and they use it to their advantage.

PITTSBURGH (+6) @ Virginia: I don't care for Virginia. I don't like their holier-than-thou attitude, I don't like their middle-of-nowhere location, I think orange and blue is a hideous color combination, I don't know why you'd have a pirate as your mascot when you're nowhere near the coast, and I have no idea what a wahoo is, other than a fish. I don't care for you, Maryland's Mexico, so when I can bet against you at home against a team that just got thumped by Akron, what the hell, I'm doing it. Eighty percent of the public loves UVA here. Is UVA that lovable? Um, no. Give me Pitt for the win. (But I'll still take those points please).

@NORTH CAROLINA (+3) Virginia Tech: Yet another contrarian play, as only 25 percent of the action is on UNC as home dogs. Obviously, this is related to the 70 points they gave up to East Carolina ... hold on a second ... BAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! ... ok, let's resume. Yeah, so anyway, we discussed last week how the ACC Coastal is an awful division this year where you can't trust anyone to beat anyone else. We're looking for bigger-than-they-should-be point spreads and 80-20 splits, and this game, to me, features both of those things. Virginia Tech just isn't a reliable team and they don't deserve 80-percent backing as road favorites in a conference game. Once again, I'll side with the house.

@NORTHWESTERN (+9) vs Wisconsin: How bout Northwestern, coming through for us last week, not just with the ATS win but with the outright win. In blowout fashion. On the road. Against our new conference team we love to hate most, Penn State. Nice going, Wildcats! I'll keep rolling with Northwestern here because once again, Vegas seems to like them so much that they're not compelled by the 83-17 betting split in Wisconsin's favor. We learned it early this year: the good teams in the B1G are not as good as people think they are. I say Northwestern takes this one to the wire at home.

@TCU (+5.5) vs. Oklahoma: Nothing but trends plays this week. And mostly home teams that are way out of favor with the public. TCU is definitely one of those, drawing only 13% support as big, bad, unbeaten, #5 Oklahoma comes rolling into the Metroplex. But here's the thing. TCU is also unbeaten and ranked, and since joining the Big 12, the Horned Frogs have played OU twice and lost by inside one possession both times. When was the last time Oklahoma held up to their gaudy early season ranking? The public always overpays for the Sooners. This game strikes me as one that could go either way. The road team should not be laying that many points.

OK, get your picks in quickly, fellow degenerates. I didn't give you much time to work with this week.