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Maryland-Michigan State betting odds, lines and picks

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

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
We're back for some more collaborative gambling after a much-needed bye week.

No, I didn't actually take a week off from gambling, just writing this column. I was busy, sorry, but it's time to hit the ATM and take another run at that elusive windfall every degenerate believes is out there beyond his fingertips. "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board," Zora Neale Hurston once wrote. For me, that ship has a fat stack of winning tickets in its cargo bay. It never comes to port, and I don't seem to swim that good. Oh well.

Some conclusions from last week:
1. South Carolina really stinks. How did that happen?
2. Virginia really stinks too. I want Mike London on our staff next year to help with recruiting.
3. Army stinks. And I knew it and even wrote it and then I picked 'em and bet 'em, so ...
4. I stink
5. Most of you stink too. But not PSU week, which turned out to be a pretty simple slate of games for almost everyone but your humbled host. Testudo's Attorney, umcp96 and cliffhanger45 won the week at 5-1, while Testudo's Attorney and cliffhanger45 also jumped into the outright lead amongst regulars winning percentage, while Zol is now our totals leader with 28 correct picks. Solid work, gentlemen!
6. Penn State stinks. Not sure they're worthy of being our rival, but we'll be gracious and give them another year to try and figure it out before we fire up the "Not our rival" chants.
7. Maryland ... doesn't stink! Look, the Terps have a way of making their bad weeks feel about as bad as a loss can feel for us fans. Wisconsin and Ohio State were the prime 2014 examples of this. But this year's Terps are quietly handing their business against every other team that is similar in stature. I'm no Edsallite, never have been and probably never will be, but wins like Penn State, Iowa, Syracuse, Indiana, they mark a massive step forward for this program, which would have lost at least half those games in the first three years of the this coaching era. It's easy to forget during the bad weeks — because those weeks have been so bad — but things are definitely getting better. How much better? Well, a better showing against a top-tier B1G team would mark a giant leap, from my perspective. The Terps have that opportunity vs. Sparty. Are they up to it? We'll find out. In the meantime, maybe that could be our new motto: Maryland football. It Doesn't Stink.

Now let's get to work finding some ATS winners.

How FlaTerp fared (season record in parenthesis):
Maryland vs. spread:
Won (5-3)
Maryland straight up: Won (6-2)

Overall vs. Spread: 2-4 (25-26-1)

How you all fared:

**Editor's note: If some of you regulars (TerpsAught1, Noah, chiterp, etc.) have a prior season record from an earlier week than PSU week, please let me know in comments and I'll edit it in.

cliffhanger45 5-1 (27-18-1)
umcp96 5-1 (8-9-1)
Testudo's Attorney 5-1 (27-18-1)
chiterp 4-2
lockwood11j 4-2
Maryland1206 4-2 (7-2-1)
NickTerp85 4-2 (19-30-1)
nyterp1 4-2 (20-27-1)
QuigTerp 4-2 (26-22-1)
TerpsRising 4-2 (27-19-1)
wittcap79 4-2 (22-23-1)
Zol 4-2 (28-21-1)
Doug Douglass 3-2
TerpsAught1 3-2
duck 3-3 (5-6-1)
FearTheTurtle 3-3 (19-30-1)
MellophoneMathMajor 3-3 (17-28-1)
Noah Niederhoffer 3-3 (9-8-1)
Charles Owen 2-4 (19-25-1)
ESterps08 2-4 (26-25-1)
Lauderdale Terp 2-4 (18-27-1)
mdterps7 2-4 (10-17-1)
NYCSportsFan 2-4 (14-24-1)
Pete Volk 2-4 (27-24-1)
sleteach 2-4 (20-25-1)
younghollywood5 2-4 (16-28-1)

Maryland (6-3, 3-2) vs. Michigan State (7-2, 4-1)

Opening line: Michigan State -11

Current line: Every book is listing either 12, 12.5 or 13, so we'll use 12.5 as our working line for this week's picks.

Trends: It's been a dogpile on Michigan State from the get-go. When the game opened at -11, the early trends were about 95% Michigan State. The Wiseguys have since chased some Maryland money by bumping it up a couple points but it hasn't helped the imbalance much. As I write, 87% of the public is still on Sparty, making this a wheelhouse game for me (for better or worse).

What it means: The trends really surprised me here. I figured the double-digit opening line would force the public to take the bait on the Terps coming off a road win vs. Sparty coming off a home loss. It was the complete opposite of that, so I guess the public dismissed Maryland as a viable opponent for top-25 teams after that dumpster fire performance in Madison. As an aside, it doesn't speak well for Penn State either, since Maryland got absolutely no street cred at all for winning in Happy Valley. Sucks for you, Penn State. Anyway, Sparty getting 87% support as a road favorite in a prime time game would scare the living sh** out of me if I was a Michigan State fan. Vegas has tried in earnest to draw in some Maryland action and even the split, so it doesn't feel like a slam dunk (you know, like how Army was a trends layup), but the line hasn't moved that much so it's pretty clear that Vegas likes the Terps to at least keep this one reasonable.

My pick: I so want to pick Maryland to win outright here, but that would be a heart pick and I've been trying to make head picks all season long instead with the Terps. My heart is probably going to force me to bet the money line at a juicy +350 or so, just looking for a big score, but my head says that Maryland has shown no evidence that it can outfox a team that has inherent advantages in most every facet of the game. Vegas loves the Terps against the spread, so that's an easy choice for me, but I just can't pull the trigger on an outright upset until Maryland shows it has the stones to beat a superior team by way of smarts and execution. Maybe this is the week, but they gotta prove it before I can bet it.

Pick vs. the spread: Maryland +12.5

Game pick: Michigan State 27, Maryland 20

5 I like

@PENN STATE (-11) vs. Temple: Penn State is now fully out of favor after a strong start, to the extent that they're only getting 24% support at home with a pretty reasonable line against a MAC team. Losing at home to Northwestern and Maryland, those were bad days in Happy Valley, but struggling to beat in-state patsy Temple would mark a new low. If the trends hold, I like this game a lot.

@MINNESOTA (+12) vs. Ohio State: The Buckeyes are coming off a huge road win and may be due for a letdown, at least if the 85-15 betting split in their favor is any indication. I think Minnesota can slow it down, stink it up and keep it close in a way that Maryland couldn't when they got their chance at OSU.

VIRGINIA TECH (+5.5) @Duke: Yes, I got the Hokies again. The 8th time is the charm, right? Look, Duke is a meaty 5-point favorite here and they're getting 86% of the action. C'mon. This is Duke. 86 percent? Duke? As favorites? Against Virginia Tech? Really? VT has more talent and a good coaching staff. You can't tell me this team can't deliver for Vegas as underdogs at Duke. I don't like getting beat up by the same teams every week, but this is a screaming play. Also, F*** Duke. We still hate you.

@OKLAHOMA STATE (+2.5)  vs. Texas: It's a 75-25 betting split toward Texas as road favorites. I don't understand that at all. Texas doesn't deserve that, no matter what Oklahoma State is, or isn't, this season.

@MIAMI (+2.5) vs. Florida State: Fascinating game. This year's 'Noles have got to be the worst championship contender vs. the spread in the history of gambling, and maybe that's why Vegas finally bailed on them with such a tiny line against a Miami team that hasn't really proven anything beyond being able to beat bad teams. It's 77% Seminoles and the line is so small that if Miami covers, Miami probably wins too. Is that really going to happen? Hard to imagine, but when lines are this curious, it generally makes me think Vegas loves the game. The U is a far cry from what it was a decade or more ago, but the 'Canes do have a dazzling skill player or two and FSU simply can't defend anyone. The 'Noles have been escape artists all year long, but it looks like I'll be betting that they'll dig a hole too deep to crawl out of this time.