College Football Picks: Marshall vs. Maryland in Military Bowl

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, December 25, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

The favored Marshall Thundering Herd may be averaging over 40 points, but they have not faced defenses as good as Maryland possesses while playing in Conference USA.

The major conference underdog could have the advantage vs. the Conference USA favorite when the Maryland Terrapins (7-5) out of the ACC take on the Marshall Thundering Herd (9-4) in the Military Bowl from Navy-Marine Corp Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD on Friday, December 27th at 2:30 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Maryland as a small underdog for this contest with the current line at +2½ with odds of -107.

The Maryland Terrapins had a nice bounce-back season at 7-5 after going a combined 6-18 in their first two seasons under Coach Randy Edsall, although the did not close out the season particularly strong following a 5-1 start mainly due to injuries. However, the Maryland walking wounded has slowly but surely started to return, including the most important piece in quarterback C.J. Brown.

Marshall won nine games while ranking seventh in the country in scoring with 43.0 points per game and while dropping the points against by their defense all the way down to 23.3 points this year after allowing 43.0 points per game last season. However the Herd did not play nearly as well away from home such as in their 41-24 loss at Rice in the Conference USA Championship game, and now in addition to being away from home they are facing an ACC team.

That makes Marshall a very vulnerable favorite in this spot, especially when you consider that the Terrapins should have a high majority of the crowd support in Annapolis, which is only about 30 miles from College Park. And Maryland ended the year on a high note with Brown back at quarterback, going on the road to North Carolina State and routing the Wolfpack 41-21.

Like most of the Maryland offensive skill position players, Brown missed some time due to injury this season but he showed his versatility in the finale, passing for 259 yards and two touchdowns and adding 138 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns, thus accounting for all five Terrapin touchdowns in the contest.

The most important aspect of this game though is probably the Maryland defense, which finished 36th in the country in total defense allowing only 367.7 yards per game. Only top ranked Florida State and FBS bowl bound Clemson topped 34 points against the Terrapins, and we feel they are very well equipped to slow down the Marshall offense.

The Thundering Herd went a perfect 6-0 at home this year, but they were 3-4 away from Huntington and the 24 points they put up on the Rice defense in the Conference USA championship is deceptive as they scored two touchdowns after the game was decided, when down 34-10. While they ranked 13th in total offense this year with 502.3 yards per game, it is not as if they faced units as good as this Maryland one in Conference USA.

Marshall managed only 371 total yards vs. Rice, and that figure would have been less if the Owls did not take their foot off the gas late. We expect the Herd to struggle similarly here vs. a better defense from a major conference.

With all of this in mind, back the underdog Maryland Terrapins out of the ACC in the Military Bowl.

[gameodds]6/252347/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

College Football Pick: Maryland +2½ (-107)

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