At least one betting site has the Maryland Terrapins listed as the favorites in what can only be deemed a rivalry game against West Virginia on Saturday. According to Vegas.com, the spread sits at -5 in two different locations, and -5.5 in another, which definitely suggests a couple of things.
The first is that this is going to be a relatively close game. Last weekend, the spread was Maryland -7, and they won by 11 points against Connecticut despite playing perhaps their sloppiest game of the season. For West Virginia to be heading into Baltimore and only need 5 points suggests that this one might come down to the wire. That’s probably good news, since in recent years this game has been a complete blowout due in large part to a combination of Pat White and Geno Smith.
The second is that Vegas has absolutely no confidence in either team. In case you didn’t already know, you can tell a lot about how close a game might be based on the spread Vegas sets, and it’s very much tried and true. If it’s 3 points or less, the favorite tends to lose, statistically speaking, 47% of the time. When its in the 3.5 to 7-point range, the favorites odds of losing plummets to 35%. While those are still very bad odds, they’re most certainly better than being in the dreaded 3 points or less range.
The good news is that it’s still early, and the spread will likely change. You have to also factor in that, typically, Maryland’s home field advantage gives them an added three points. Sure, this may be a neutral site location, but I highly doubt as many West Virginians are going to show up as Terrapins. Of course, I could be overestimating the Terps drawing power and underestimating West Virginia’s, but I don’t think that will be the case.
In any event, this just ensures us of one thing we already know: Maryland is going to be facing their toughest opponent yet. They’d better get fired up if the Terps intend on finally breaking their losing streak against West Virginia, which extends all the way back to 2004. Last time Maryland beat WVU? New Years Day back in 2004. With West Virginia in a bit of a down year and Maryland on the rise, this could be a prime opportunity to turn the tables.