Maryland survived its first season in the Big Ten with a third-place finish in the East Division. This season, though, the Terps may struggle, and might be a good team to fade on Saturday afternoons.
Maryland Terrapins 2015 Betting Preview
Maryland forged a .500 campaign in its first season in the Big Ten last year, but didn't exactly impress; they didn't beat anybody of any real consequence, and got blown out by some of the conference bullies. Unfortunately for the Terrapins, things won't get any easier this season, with a bunch of holes to fill and enough tough games to make a tough task out of a bowl bid.
2014 in Review
Maryland opened last season 4-1, with three road wins, the only loss coming in a crazy game against West Virginia. But the schedule got a little tougher, and the Terps finished 3-5, with two more road wins, but bad losses against some of the big boys of the Big Ten (Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State, by an average score of 47-15), a terrible upset at the hands of Rutgers, blowing a 25-point lead, and a blowout bowl loss to Stanford.
So Maryland finished 7-6 overall, 4-4 in Big Ten play, 2-4 at home but 5-1 on the road. Basically, the Terps ended up about where most “experts” figured they would last season.
Maryland also went 6-7 against the spreads last season, but 4-1 ATS as a dog on the road. And the Terps played the totals 7-5, as their games averaged 59 points.
Maryland returns just 10 starters this season, tied for the last in the conference and among the least in the nation. Six starters are back on offense, including three along the offensive line, but they'll have to replace quarterback CJ Brown, who led the team in rushing last season, and last year's top two receivers. Defensively only four starters are back, just one along the front seven, after the loss of six of last year's top nine tacklers.
The Terps averaged 342 yards of offense per game last season, while giving up 436 yards PG, and there's little to indicate they'll improve upon either of those figures this season.
Maryland will play what Phil Steele ranks as the 17th-toughest schedule in college football this season, which includes just three true Big Ten home games and several tough road bouts. The Terps open with home dates against Richmond, Bowling Green and South Florida, and better be upset-wary for all three. They then visit West Virginia, to whom they've lost eight of the last nine meetings. Maryland then opens Big Ten play by hosting Jim Harbaugh and Michigan, and from there plays a five-game stretch against Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan State, just one of those games coming at College Park. The Terps then finish at home against Indiana and at Rutgers.
From two months out we see five or six winnable games on that slate for Maryland.
Betting the Terps in 2015
Randy Edsall is a solid coach but this program is still a work in progress. In the end Maryland might have a tough time becoming bowl-eligible. Most books we sampled, including Bovada, were tagging the Terps with a wins OVER/UNDER of 4.5 for this season, and they might have to win their last two games to go OVER that figure.
Maryland is hoping, even with a new staring quarterback, its air attack will help offset a poor running game. If that's the case, the Terps might cover some spreads, and probably play some OVERS. But if that's not the case, Maryland might be a good team to fade.