The best way to see where a team is headed is to look at where they have been. For College Football that means reviewing the previous season. The problem with doing that for the Maryland Terrapins is that they played only five games in 2020.
During the shortened 2020 season, the Big Ten originally canceled the season and then decided to resume the season in October. As a result, many surprising things happened.
Ohio State won the conference as predicted, but other than that the Big Ten was all over the place. Penn State started the season 0-5, and Wisconsin had a 3-3 record. Additionally, Indiana had a 6-1 record.
One surprise that was not as notable was that Maryland had a 2-3 record instead of a 1-4 record or an 0-5. Since joining the Big Ten, the Terrapins have been a basketball school with a football problem.
However, in 2020 the football team showed promise. When you are looking to get your betting tips from different sources, you want to consider the team’s past performances and other key factors.
The Terrapins beat Minnesota outright as a 20.5 point underdog, and most impressively they beat Penn State as a 27 point underdog. Their only game in which they lost as a favorite was against Rutgers where they lost by only three points.
For the 2021 season, MD returns 17 of 22 of their 2020 starters. The question for 2021 is if Maryland overperformed in 2020.
2021 Maryland Terrapins Preview
The major difference between 2020 and 2021 for Maryland is that they have a non-conference slate to bulk up their record. The dirty secret with FBS football is that most teams end the season with a .500 or better record.
On the surface, this looks impossible as winning and losing teams should be equally distributed. However, bigger college football programs like Maryland pay lesser teams money to play them at home in exchange for their likely loss.
For Maryland, they are hosting Howard and Kent State in games that they should easily win. However, in their other non-conference game, Maryland is hosting a tough West Virginia team that is currently only a 3.5 point favorite. If Maryland can go undefeated in their non-conference schedule, then they need to win only three of their nine conference games to qualify for a bowl game.
While most FBS programs play four non-conference games, Big Ten programs play only three. Unfortunately for Maryland, they face the herculean task of playing 75% of their games against a Big Ten conference that is rated as the second-best in college football.
While the Illinois and Rutgers games on the road are tossups, in the rest of their non-conference slate Maryland should be a heavy underdog. Against Iowa, Ohio State, Minnesota, Penn State, and Indiana, the Terps should be at least a touchdown underdog.
If Maryland can’t beat West Virginia, then they must win almost half of their conference games by winning both tossup games and having two major upsets.
Maryland Head Coach Mike Locksley has done a good job in his first two years in
College Park since coming over from Alabama. However, building a college football program takes a long time.
Despite returning most of their 2020 core, Maryland got lucky last year as they should have gone 1-4. While Maryland has a plausible path to qualifying for a bowl game, it is unlikely.
At +110, it is worth betting on Maryland winning fewer than 5.5 games and therefore not qualifying for a bowl game. With a tough schedule, it will be hard for the Terrapins to not have a losing record.
Best Bet: Under 5.5 Wins (+115) (DraftKings)