Sorry for the late entry this week. Hectic work week and some major family stuff going on, but we must make room in our lives, no matter how crazy or dire things get, for picking football games against the spread. I'm still pretty jammed so will have to withhold the flowery introduction this week. Without further ado ...
How FlaTerp fared (season record in parenthesis):
Maryland vs. spread: Lost (5-4)
Maryland straight up: Won (7-2)
Overall vs. Spread: 3-3 (28-29-1)
How you all fared:
younghollywood5 5-1 (21-29-1)
MellophoneMathMajor 4-2 (21-30-1)
NYCSportsFan 4-2 (18-26-1)
sleteach 4-2 (24-27-1)
TerpsRising 4-2 (31-21-1)
wittcap79 4-2 (26-25-1)
Doug Douglass 3-3 (6-5)
Maryland1206 3-3 (10-5-1)
NickTerp85 3-3 (22-33-1)
Noah Niederhoffer 3-3 (12-11-1)
Pete Volk 3-3 (30-27-1)
Lauderdale Terp 2-4 (20-31-1)
Maryland (6-4, 3-3) at Michigan (5-5, 3-3)
Opening line: Michigan -4.5
Current line: Michigan -5 across the board
Trends: It's almost exactly 50-50 and pretty much has been from the start.
What it means: The trends reflect solid work by the wiseguys. They know they can't rely on either of these two teams to look too either good or too bad against mediocre opposition, which they're both facing this week. So in that situation, you seek out a 50-50 balance, which they achieved here. Win, lose or draw, the house makes money when it's 50-50. For the rest of us, it's take your best guess.
My pick: My take is pretty simple. When it's 50-50 and you don't have a strong feeling, take the points or leave the game alone, so I'll take the Terps to cover. As for the win, who knows. Michigan won't let Maryland run, while Maryland is unable to pass, so that doesn't speak well for the Terps' chances of scoring a lot of points. Michigan, however, isn't any less dysfunctional and really doesn't have anything close to a quality win under its belt. Maryland would be Big Blue's biggest win of the year -- that's a little frightening -- just because the Terps are a bowl team and beating the Terps would turn Michigan into a bowl team too. If I have to make a call, I'll say this is going to be a Penn-State-ish, ugly, low-scoring affair in front of a sparse and apathetic crowd. Sounds like a blast, no? Maybe Maryland's special teams will be the difference in a stinker.
Pick vs. the spread: Maryland +5
Game pick: Maryland 16, Michigan 14
5 I like
@NEBRASKA (-10) vs. Minnesota: The public likes Minny at a 76% clip, I think because of a game effort vs. Ohio State last week (that we knew was going to happen). The Gophers will fare worse defensively in enemy territory against a nasty OL.
SYRACUSE (+7.5) @Pittsburgh: I wish I knew how to quit you, Syracuse. This is an 80-20 game in Pitt's favor. Pitt just doesn't merit that much favor in any conference game.
@IOWA (+10.5) vs. Wisconsin: 76% of the action on Wisky as 10-point road favorites after they clobbered Nebraska last week. It's a kneejerk line that's too big and a kneejerk reaction by the public. Erase the Nebraska game and this line is half of what it is.
STANFORD (-5.5) @Cal: 83% of the public likes Cal. I'll happily bet with the house here and take the better team, road or not.
@UCLA (-3.5) vs. USC: The trends aren't that overwhelming toward USC at 67-33, but I don't see what's to like really about USC on the road here with a small line. UCLA has been the class of these two teams all season long. Seems kinda easy to me.