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Minnesota vs. Maryland: Week 9 College Football Picks and Predictions

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Minnesota vs. Maryland: Week 9 College Football Picks and Predictions
Tanner Morgan #2 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. David Berding/Getty Images/AFP

The Big Ten is back baby! Their first week of games brought a few surprises, with Penn State being shocked by Indiana, the Michigan Wolverines smacking a good Minnesota team in the mouth, and Rutgers pulling off a conference win against Michigan State.

It’ll be easy to overreact to what happened since there’s such little to work with here. Generally, it’s a good rule of thumb to continue keeping preseason expectations for the first couple of weeks unless there seems like a terminal issue within the program.

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Maryland Terrapins

Friday, October 30, 2020 – 07:30 PM EDT at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Minnesota will travel to Maryland to face a bad Terrapins team that lost to Northwestern 43-3. No one would've guessed the Terrapins would be this bad but here we are. 18.5 points is a modest amount on the college football odds boards based on the last 12 months for these programs.

The Gophers may have lost big to Michigan but their recruiting classes should've led to that result even if that hasn't mattered for the Wolverines in recent years. Minnesota is a tough-nosed program under P.J. Fleck, and have the offensive playmakers to really stretch Maryland thin quickly.

Quarterback Tanner Morgan will certainly play better as he gets used to life without Tyler Johnson. Rashod Bateman is awesome, and watch for Chris Autman-Bell to be more than a deep threat in the coming weeks. There's been legitimate NFL interest in Morgan and he's a solid Day 2 talent. It wasn't an accident he logged a 66 percent completion rate, over 3,200 yards, and a nice 30-to-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio last year.

He's a smart passer with solid fundamentals and enough physical traits to get the job done. There's just less room for error without Johnson. Running back Mohamed Ibrahim helped pick up that slack last week as he dashed Michigan for 140 yards and two scores on 26 touches. He's a bulky runner who will pulverize smaller defenders in the hole, and his return to a prominent role within the offense is a good thing after a down 2019 season.

Maryland Terrapins

Meanwhile, the Maryland debut was absolutely atrocious. Taulia Tagovailoa was far from his brother's equal as he completed only 14-of-25 passes for 94 yards and three interceptions. The offensive line couldn't get much going, and it didn't seem like the receivers were getting much space. Mike Locksley has a lot of recruiting work to do, but also the scheme has to help create some production this week.

The defense has some talent at least. Chance Campbell was all over the place as he logged 14 total tackles. He was one of five defenders with at least six tackles, and the group tackling efforts were notable for the unit. They absolutely need a playmaker to emerge though after logging only two pass defenses last week.

Prediction

With the Terps just 1-5 against the spread in their last five and under in four-of-five, there's not much of a reason to think they add much competition to this game. That means a good parlay opportunity of a blowout. Maryland can drop their ninth game in a row, and the Gophers start to rebuild their season after their early loss.

The value on these lines is solid for our college football picks. The 60.5 total seems vastly high, and 18.5 is a reasonable number to cover considering what we saw out of both teams last year and Week 1.

My Picks: Minnesota -18.5 (-110) at Bovada and Under 60.5 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

Minnesota -18.5(-110)
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