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Maryland-West Virginia betting odds, lines and picks

Resident degenerate gambler FlaTerp takes a closer look at Maryland's matchup with West Virginia.

We're a week into the 2014 college football season and I've got good news and bad news on the gambling front.

The good news first: We nailed the Maryland game last week to start off the betting season, reading the Vegas trends well enough to call a USF cover but a Maryland win. Right and right. Smart gamblers try to learn from every game, and I'd say the take-away from USF was that no matter how badly we Terp fans want our team to turn the corner and become the type of program that can predictably get blowout road wins, Maryland just isn't there yet. You see the Terps laying a big number on the road -- even against a bad team -- steer clear of it.

Now, the bad news, I stunk up the joint everywhere else, going 1-4 in games not including Maryland. What happened exactly? Well, I've always been a fan of the home underdog when the public likes the visitors, and it didn't pay off this time around. Pitt, Ole Miss and Missouri each covered easily as road favorites, ruining my contrarian plays of BC, Vandy and Toledo, respectively. Ohio State regressed further without their star QB and lost a stinker to Va. Tech -- not only failing to cover a pretty big spread, but losing the game outright, and pretty handily at that. Ugh. Only the Dame came through for me, routing Michigan to cap a bloodbath of a day for the B1G overall.

So what did we learn from all those losses? Well, I try learn things every week about every team I play, win or lose, hoping to pounce on those same teams again at some point. Since I try to always view sports betting as a long game and I don't bet money I can't afford, I can stomach a one-week beating. I'll get 'em this week. (In other words, it doesn't sound like I learned anything at all.)

Hopefully, you guys learned something though. That something: Don't ever act on my gambling advice. Maybe it was my influence, or maybe you guys are no better at this than me, but of the 17 commenters who picked along with me last week, only three of you had winning records. Ouch!

A quick hat-tip to ESterps08, who won the week by picking 5 of 6 games correctly. Those days don't come around that often. Well done!

On to the results, and then we'll pick some games this week.

How FlaTerp fared:

Maryland vs. spread: 1-0
Maryland straight up: 1-0

Overall vs. spread: 2-4

How you all fared:
ESterps08 5-1
Florida Turtle 4-2
thedurtyturtle 4-2
Pete Volk 3-3
FearTheTurtle 3-3
Noah Niederhoffer 3-3
NickTerp85 3-3
QuigTerp 3-3
boylan1802 3-3
TerpsAught1 3-3
zol 2-3
mtcassell 2-3
nyterp1 2-3
BET on Terps 2-4
Miked1612 2-4
wittcap79 2-4
Baltimoronic 1-5

I'll ask this week that every commenter who wants to participate please pick the same 6 games as me. It makes it much easier for me to tally.

Let's get rolling.

Maryland (2-0) vs. West Virginia (2-0)

Opening line: Maryland -3.5

Current line (Tuesday p.m.): Maryland -3 to -3.5, depending on where you look.

Trends: When the Terps opened as 3.5-point favorites, the public jumped all over West Virginia. On Monday morning the trends were 95% Mountaineers, 5% Terps. Vegas has been resolute so far, holding steady at a field-goal or 3.5 despite the weighted action toward the 'Neers. That gap narrowed a little by the time of this writing Tuesday night, to 77% West Virginia, 23% Maryland.

What it means: Let me first say that this line was surprising to me. WVU looked good in a Week 1 loss to juggernaut Alabama, then beat Towson last week the way a good team is supposed to beat Towson. After Maryland tried badly to lose to a soft USF team in a very ugly game, I figured West Virginia would open as the slight favorite or at least as a pick'em in this game. Everyone else must've figured the same thing, because they threw money at underdog West Virginia in bunches. What did Vegas do? Nothing. Remember: Vegas can move a line whenever and however much they want in order to try and achieve a 50-50 betting split that will guarantee them a profit. When they see an 80-20 split and don't adjust toward the middle, you can read what their hunch is on that game. Here, the wiseguys seem pretty happy being on the Maryland side, and that means I'm going to be happy betting the Terps too. In fact, I feel just about as good about betting Maryland as favorites this week as I did about USF as underdogs last week. And let's be honest, last week's tilt in Tampa was painful to watch from a Maryland perspective, but if you bet the Bulls, it was a pretty damn easy game.

My pick: Maryland-WVU was a mismatch last year. A bad, bad mismatch. West Virginia appears to be a much better team now, while the book is still out on the Terps. But the players on both sides will still remember that smackdown a year ago and it should give Maryland some much-needed confidence in their first big-crowd game of the season. I'm looking for a glorious day at Byrd, with a loud, proud and rowdy crowd cheering on the Terps in their badass Triumph jerseys.

Pick vs. the spread: Maryland -3

Game pick: Maryland 27, West Virginia 17

5 I like

HOUSTON (+18.5) @ Brigham Young: Love this one. Houston was a darling team in the preseason, then squandered it all in one shot with a bad loss to UTSA. They're not as bad as that loss made them look, while BYU is getting too much credit for blowing out a very uneven Texas team with a new coach. This line is too big, but the public is still backing BYU at an astonishing 94% rate, even laying all those points.

@SOUTH CAROLINA (+6) vs. Georgia: The Gamecocks have been underwhelming, sure, but this is a great matchup and a close game. I just don't see SC as 6-point underdogs at home against anyone. Too much talent there. Right now, 88% of the public likes the Bulldogs. I'll take the points, and what the heck, I might even take a peek at the money line on this one.

WAKE FOREST (+14.5) @ Utah State: Vegas has been climbing this one up big time. It opened at 11 and took just 2 days to surpass 2 TDs. The public isn't taking the bait yet -- only 18% of the public is on Wake. Utah State lost by 31 to Tennesee in Week 1. Should they really be getting this much support laying a fat spread to an ACC team, albeit a shaky one? 

PURDUE (+28) @ Notre Dame: Reminds me a little bit of the Houston-BYU game. Notre Dame is due for a step back to earth, while Purdue (17%) was probably shamed plenty enough last week that they'll bring something better to the table. No upset here, just not a 29-point win for the Irish.

KENTUCKY (+18) @ Florida: This is definitely a contrarian bet, as Kentucky with all those points is still getting just 24% support against a Gator team coming off a 4-8 season. This was only a 24-7 game last year, and Kentucky has built a head of steam since then. I think UF gets a good little scare in this one.

OK, there you go. Let's see your take on these games.