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Maryland-Indiana betting odds, lines and picks

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

I've been preaching for three weeks now about how sports betting is a marathon, not a sprint. The goal should be winning more than you lose, not getting rich in one game or on one day, because crazy sh** happens. It's gambling, after all. So when you look through the season-long lens, it's important to try and learn things about the teams you're focusing on each week so that you'll have that information at your disposal the next time they show up on your radar. Especially in those weeks when you stunk up the joint, like I just did. You can't take it personally, because you're going back to the well in a few days. So you sack up, you swallow your losses, and you figure out how to be better next weekend.

Here's what we learned last week.
1. Michigan sucks: I tried to write off the drubbing they took from the Dame as a one-off, but now I think it was more of an indicator. I will often play bad teams if the trends set up well for them, but you have to at least recognize that they're not good teams and then consider the circumstances of the week that could lead to an ATS (against the spread) win anyway. That's where I failed last week. So the takeaway here is that going forward, I'm going to be fully cognizant that Michigan is not a good team. That's OK though, we can still make money with them if the situation is right.

2. I was impressed with Arkansas: I liked NIU in that game because I thought Arkansas was an iffy SEC team while NIU was a proven winner in the MAC and had already beaten Northwestern on the road, so the trend was there for NIU when it comes to competing with a major conference team away from home. Well Arkansas blew that theory the f*** up, didn't they? To me, a 52-14 win over a solid NIU team was quite impressive, and I'm going to be looking for favorable trends in which I can sneak in a bet on Arkansas going forward. Also, Northern Illinois may be penalized by the betting public for that huge loss when they return to playing crappy MAC teams, and if that happens, I'll be there waiting to pounce. 

3. Miami isn't good, and neither is anyone else in their division: I really thought the U had a talent advantage over Nebraska, and they still might, but they were thoroughly beaten, even against Vegas's better judgement. Toss in the 70 POINTS (!!!!!) East Carolina hung on UNC, Virginia Tech's suspect home loss, and Pitt's misfire against visiting Iowa and you've got one giant greasefire of a Coastal Division. Anyone buying Duke and Georgia Tech as teams that can make the ACC championship game interesting? No, you aren't. I'd say anyone can beat anyone in the Coastal, so I'll be on the lookout for lines that are suspiciously big and for any opportunity to grab a 20% team.

4. What about Maryland?: Did you really just ask me that? Clearly, I don't have the Terps figured out. The Terps are now 1-2 ATS vs. FBS opposition, having covered against Syracuse but whiffed against WVU and USF (in a win). Just when we think the Terps might be good (at USF, first half vs. WVU) they no-show, then when we want to write them off (at Syracuse) they bring it. Interestingly, though, Vegas appeared to wise up about the Terps at some point last week. At the time of this writing a week ago, Maryland was favored by 80 percent of the public and that made me feel pretty good about Syracuse's chances to cover and thus win the game. But a funny thing happened as Saturday crept closer. Even as Vegas moved the line up to 2, making Maryland even more enticing for the majority who was already betting the Terps, the action swayed Syracuse's way. Late money flew in on the Orange and by kickoff it was nearly 50-50. I'm not betting Maryland this year anyway because it ruins watching the games for me, but if I were, the things I liked about Syracuse early last week had evaporated by Saturday. This is Exhibit A of why you should place your bets at the last minute ... because you never know what the wiseguys are thinking until they've played their cards. (Another reason: you never know when a Heisman winning quarterback is going to get into a "f*** her right in the p****y" scandal and be suspended at 11 p.m. on Friday). Anyway, back to Maryland. Here's my current stance: The Terps have been wildly inconsistent the past two seasons, so tread lightly if you want to bet on them. I'd probably only bet Maryland as underdogs when they're completely out of favor by the public.

Now, let's talk about last week's performance, or lack thereof in my case. I scratched the FSU-Clemson game for obvious reasons and also didn't score any KSU-Auburn picks that came in after kickoff Thursday. I'm starting to notice a trend that when I do well, the majority of you guys do well also, whereas those weeks I stumble, it's kind of a train wreck for many of you also. If I have some undue amount of influence, that's on you guys, not me. I already know I'm full of sh**. The real question is, how many of you are going to figure it out fast enough to have a winning year? Congrats to TerpsRising and Terptown16 for rejecting my advice and finishing 4-1 to win the week. The season standings are going to get a little tougher to measure from here on because so many people have played different amounts of games, but QuigTerp had another solid week and, along with ESTerps08, has picked the most games correctly (11), while TerpsRising, at a very impressive 10-2, is our runaway leader in percentage. Nice work!

OK, let's get on with it.

How FlaTerp fared (season record in parenthesis):
Maryland vs. spread: Lost (1-2)
Maryland straight up: Lost (1-2)

Overall vs. Spread: 1-4 (8-9)

How you all fared:
TerpsRising 4-1 (10-2)
Terptown16 4-1 (6-5)
Charles Owen 3-2 (8-3)
cliffhanger45 3-2 (7-4)
Denton5 3-2
englandumd 3-2 (8-3)
Lauderdale Terp 3-2 (7-4)
Octavian 3-2 (7-4)
Pete Volk 3-2 (10-7)
QuigTerp 3-2 (11-6)
Roofio 3-2
TerpsAught1 3-2 (10-7)
Noah Niederhoffer 2-2 (9-7)
Zol 2-2 (9-6)
BET on Terps 2-3 (9-8)
Brendan Darr 2-3 (5-6)
ESterps08 2-3 (11-6)
FearTheTurtle 2-3 (6-11)
Florida Turtle 2-3
Marilyn_Tara_Penn 2-3
NYCSportsFan 2-3
sleteach 2-3 (5-6)
tbeeman20 2-3 (4-7)
terpsfinish 2-3 (5-6)
testudbro 2-3 (5-6)
umcp96 2-3 (5-6)
ibleedturtleblood 1-3 (4-6)

LeoinMD 1-4 (5-6)
MellophoneMathMajor 1-4 (4-7)
NickTerp85 1-4 (4-13)
PAB522 1-4 (4-7)
thedurtyturtle 1-4 (6-11)
younghollywood5 1-4 (4-7)
Testudo's Attorney 1-4 (3-7)
nyterp1 0-4 (6-9)
Jersey Terp 0-5
mtcassell 0-5 (6-10)

Time to talk about this week's games, starting with ....

Maryland (3-1) at Indiana (2-1)

Opening line: Indiana -2.5

Current line: Pretty wide range at the time of this writing, from a low of 3.5 at the Las Vegas Hilton to a high of 5 at several books. Most published spreads fall in the 4-4.5 range. We'll go with a working line of 4 for our purposes this week.

Trends: The public currently backs Maryland at a 64% clip, which is not a decisive enough split for me to base my action on it. The interesting thing that's happened is that the wiseguys continue to build up the line, even while the bettors are already on Maryland's side.

What it means: Again 64% is not a heavy enough split for me to feel comfortable basing decisions on, but if I had to guess what the counterintuitive line movement (making Maryland a bigger dog even while they're already being bet by the majority) means, it means that Vegas is seeking an even higher percentage of Maryland bettors than they already have -- because they like Indiana. If you saw the line moving down, not up, that would tell you that Vegas is looking for a 50-50 split.

My pick: Right now, the 64% support Maryland is getting isn't compelling enough for me to pick Indiana for my typical contrarian reasons. If the line keeps growing to a point where Maryland draws 80% of the action vs. the spread, that would probably move me away from the Terps, but right now things are even enough that I'll just look at the matchup on its merits. Looking objectively, Maryland is the more talented team here. In the five recruiting years between 2009 and 2013, the Terps finished an average of 29 slots higher than Indiana in the Rivals team rankings, which is a pretty decisive difference. Now we all know that recruiting rankings aren't the end-all, but this divide can tell you that your average physical specimen at Maryland is more advanced at the start of his college career than at Indiana. Take that for whatever it's worth to you. Looking at the bodies of work this season, both teams are coming off high-quality wins, with the Hoosiers' triumph at ranked Missouri easily the more impressive. There's been some debate in the Testudo Times world over the quality of Maryland's win at Syracuse, but to me it was a decisive road win over a team with similar-to-better talent than Indiana and over a team that hammered the Terps last year at Byrd. Maryland led wire to wire and won without stress -- on the road against a major-conference team. I loved that win. Meanwhile, Indiana's win over Mizzou was much more signature, but the Hoosiers still showed some warts -- just like Maryland did in Syracuse. They were 1-for-14  on 3rd down conversions, got shredded through the air, and faded badly in the fourth quarter before rallying for a late TD. A peek at Indiana's prior two games sends up even more red flags. The Hoosiers took a loss to Bowling Green, which isn't exactly beating this world this year, and before that only managed 28 points despite rolling up nearly 600 yards against a FCS team (Indiana State) that was 1-11 in 2013. I'm not sure who's going to win this game, but I do feel pretty certain that a 4- to 5-point spread favoring IU is not a fair reflection of the matchup, which I strongly believe would slightly favor Maryland if it were on a neutral field. You tell me: Is Bloomington worth a full touchdown?

Pick vs. the spread: Maryland+4

Game pick: Maryland 38, Indiana 24

5 I like

NORTHWESTERN (+11) @ Penn State: I have a feeling I may be lonely with this pick, but it's a 91-9 betting variance in PSU's favor. The Nittany Lions, while 4-0, are not ranked and have yet to decisively beat anyone not named "UMass." Their opposition in those other wins (Rutgers, Akron, UCF) hasn't exactly been murderer's row. Northwestern got some love in the preseason but is off to a slow start. Now I'm interested in them in underdog scenarios when the trends allow for it. This is one of those times.

MISSOURI (+6.5) @ South Carolina: Here's a straight contrarian play with 89% of the action on the Gamecocks at home. Missouri is a well-coached team that will circle the wagons after stumbling vs. Indiana, and the road probably isn't a bad place for them after their home stinker. South Carolina is still trying to find itself and I don't see them in blowout mode. They had a great win over UGA (that we nailed!) but were suspect before that against A&M and again last week in a lackluster showing vs. Vanderbilt.

FLORIDA STATE (-21.5) @ N.C. State: FSU, without their Heisman QB, got the scare of a lifetime from Clemson last week at home while the Wolfpack is 4-0 against creampuffs, two of whom (Ga. Southern and ODU) made things a tad uncomfortable for our friends from Raleigh. The 'Pack is a team that has given FSU well-publicized problems in the past, but this is an other-level 'Noles team that will be elated to be back at full strength. Because of that Clemson game -- to me, a throwaway without Jameis -- only 27% of the public likes FSU to lay the three touchdowns. Count me among them. Also, never pick state!

@PURDUE (+10.5) vs Iowa: We're 1-0 playing the Boilermakers this year and I really like them this time around even though it's not a contrarian play -- the action is almost exactly 50-50. My take is pretty simple: Iowa just isn't nearly good enough to be laying 10 points on the road in a conference game.

@SYRACUSE (+12) vs. Notre Dame: Here's an 80-20 game and understandably so. Syracuse is way out of favor here because they  didn't look good last week against the Terps and now a much more respected team comes in. Lost in that loss, though, was a pretty darn potent rushing attack and a quarterback, Hunt, who I really like. Just a hunch: 'Cuse keeps this one close and breaks a lot of bettors' hearts.