History is on the line as #3 Michigan visits Maryland this Saturday (11/18/23). Get Michigan vs. Maryland odds, picks and predictions below. Our best bet is Michigan -19.5.
Michigan vs. Maryland Prediction
After weeks of speculation and accusations around Michigan’s opponent-scouting behaviors, or as it has been more popularly billed, the sign-stealing scandal, the Big Ten unleashed a ruling. Coach Jim Harbaugh drew a three-game suspension from the conference. Of course, Michigan has launched an appeal, but due to the timing of the suspension being announced – the day before a game at Penn State while Michigan’s team plane was airborne – the Wolverines weren’t able to do so before kickoff last Saturday.
Without its head coach, Michigan was led by offensive coordinator turned interim head coach Sherrone Moore, into their biggest test of the season to date. They needed to make a statement, and they did with a convincing win in which they stopped throwing the football starting about halfway through the second quarter.
Potentially still without Harbaugh pending the ruling of a Friday court hearing, the Wolverines are hitting the road again, sitting on 999 all-time wins as a program. A win over Maryland would see them become the first college football team at any official, organized level to win 1,000 contests. It’s a major potential accomplishment that should not be drowned out by the drama, although it will be.
Maryland will be looking to spoil the party, and delay it at least one week. The Terrapins are officially bowl-eligible. After a hot start that gave way to a disastrous losing streak, Maryland will be looking for positives to end the year. The Terps finally snapped their run of futility with a gritty 13-10 win over Nebraska. They will be looking to build on that defensive success as they face one of the most efficient offenses in the country.
It’s often hard to gauge motivation levels headed into a game like this for Michigan. Next week is a mega-clash against No. 2 Ohio State, which would potentially be followed by a Big Ten Championship Game and then the College Football Playoff. So this could be a classic lookahead spot. We’ve seen the Wolverines “sleepwalk” through games against lesser competition not to the point of losing, but perhaps enough that they could fail to cover such a large spread.
That shouldn’t be the case this weekend. Michigan seems to be taking every snap personally en route to disproving the notion that they need a “competitive advantage” to win. Whether Harbaugh or Moore is at the helm, Michigan will be looking to prove it is superior to Penn State and Ohio State, who beat Maryland 51-15 and 37-17, respectively, and should come out hot.
Michigan vs. Maryland Prediction: Michigan -19.5
Michigan vs. Maryland Best Betting Odds
No. 3 Michigan is a huge favorite with -1400 odds to win, or a 19.5-point spread. Maryland is +800 to pull off the upset, while both sides of the total of 50.5 are -110 to hit.
Michigan vs. Maryland Key Matchups
Slowing down the run is everything when it comes to stopping Michigan, while the Wolverines will look to clamp down on the Maryland air game through quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa
Michigan Rushing Offense vs. Maryland Run Defense
The Wolverines had spent much of the year getting away from their gritty, run-first persona established over the past few seasons. That is back at the focus of what they’re doing, especially if Moore is once again calling the shots. This will be even more true if star quarterback J.J. McCarthy is injured. He looked a bit banged up toward the end of the Penn State game. It’s hard not to wonder if he’s at full health after his coach opted to spend the entire second half exclusively running the football.
If Michigan does run the ball, it hould find some success doing so. Blake Corum looks to be back to his best with a 145-yard performance against Penn State, including two more touchdowns,.That gives him a national-best total of 18 on the season. He’s also running behind one of the best offensive lines in the country, the third-best run blocking unit as per PFF. They’ll be attacking a Maryland run defense that barely ranks top-100 against the run by EPA per play. But the Terps will be expecting Michigan to keep it heavily on the ground, which could make for an intriguing matchup.
Maryland Passing Attack vs. Michigan Air Defense
Maryland’s passing offense has slipped a bit in EPA this season due to a relative inability to find the big plays. The Terps are still 43rd in success rate with a figure of 44.5%. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa has done a good job of finding some safe plays to keep the chains moving. He’s thrown 22 touchdowns to just eight picks. But without a elite receiving room, he will have a tough time going up against a Michigan team that ranks third in per-play EPA against the pass.
The Terps offensive line is a pretty solid one, ranking inside the top-50 of PFF’s pass blocking grade. but Michigan’s pass rush is in a totally different league. The Wolverines rank third by the same metric. Michigan’s secondary is also phenomenal, ranking second in PFF’s coverage grades. Will Johnson has been one of the best cornerbacks in the country, while safety Keon Sabb has had a major breakout season for the Wolverines. They should be able to shut down this Maryland offense with relative ease.