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All times Eastern | Game odds via SportsLine consensus
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Virginia at Maryland, 7 p.m. | TV: FS1
- The Pick: Maryland -14.5 (-110)
- Key trend: Virginia is 1-4 ATS in nonconference games since the start of last season.
I got this line earlier in the week when Maryland was still a 13.5-point favorite, and while I’m much happier with that line (14 is an important number in football, you know), the Terrapins are still the correct side to take. With QB Tony Muskett hurt, the Cavaliers will once again turn the offense over to freshman Anthony Colandrea. While he was impressive against James Madison last week, there’s a difference between James Madison at home and Maryland on the road.
Also, you know, Virginia lost to James Madison last week, even with Colandrea playing well.
The reason Virginia lost is the reason I’m so confident in Maryland: Its defense is awful. It’s allowed 85 points in two games against Tennessee and James Madison, and it ranks near the bottom nationally in nearly every statistic I care about, both standard and advanced. Where the Cavs have really struggled is in run defense.
In short, the Vols and Dukes were able to get whatever they wanted whenever they wanted it on the ground, and I don’t see how that changes tonight. Maryland tends to lean more on its passing attack with Taulia Tagovailoa, but even with transfer receiver Tyrese Chambers expected to return tonight, we should see a heavy dose of the run game.
Maryland’s Roman Hemby has rushed for 220 yards through two games with a pair of touchdowns. Last week, he had 19 carries for 162 yards against Charlotte, and the Terps will lean on him again if they’re smart. That’s why, if they’re available to you, I’d suggest taking the over on Hemby’s rushing prop as well.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Terps build a lead in the first half with the passing attack and then use the ground game to control the second half and keep Virginia from being able to battle back. But, again, no matter what method the Terps choose, Virginia hasn’t shown much ability to stop anything yet. Run or pass, it’ll probably work.
👀 Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model is leaning toward Maryland with us, but it doesn’t have a strong feeling about anything.
💰 The Picks
South Carolina at No. 1 Georgia, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. | TV: CBS
- The Pick: Georgia -27.5 (-110)
- Key trend: Georgia is 12-7 ATS against SEC opponents since 2021.
South Carolina’s offensive line is not having a good time. So far this season, South Carolina ranks 122nd in sack rate allowed, 102nd in pressure rate allowed and 122nd in yards before contact per rush. I can’t see why that would be a problem against a team like Georgia … you know, the team that has sent roughly eleven billion defensive linemen to the NFL in the last two years!
Considering how much trouble South Carolina’s had offensively, I can’t give them the benefit of the doubt on the road against Georgia. They aren’t likely to light up the scoreboard. Now, Georgia hasn’t been great offensively, either. It has struggled to run the ball, but there’s more under the surface here. Kirby Smart’s Dawgs typically don’t run it up on opponents. However, in the last two meetings, Georgia has outscored South Carolina 38-14 in the second half of games despite being up by a combined score of 50-6 at halftime. And they weren’t just handing the ball off in the second half of those games. Even after Carson Beck replaced Stetson Bennett in the third quarter last year, the Dawgs were taking some shots downfield.
Commanders at Broncos, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. | TV: CBS
- The Pick: Broncos -3.5 (-110)
- Key trend: The Broncos are 6-4 ATS against the NFC since 2021.
The Broncos lost to the Raiders last week and didn’t look that much different from the team that flopped last year, but did you see the Commanders? Sure, Washington won last week, but it barely survived at home against the Cardinals, winning 20-16. The same Cardinals team most believe will finish with the worst record in the league and signed Josh Dobbs a couple weeks ago and then had him starting the first game of the season.
Sam Howell looked exceedingly ordinary, throwing a pick six and fumbling one of the six times he was sacked. That fumble was picked up and returned for a score by the Cardinals. Denver’s defense is much better than that of Arizona, and the road environment will make things much more difficult. It’s hard to trust the Broncos, but they should be closer to a touchdown favorite than a field goal favorite in this spot.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The Projection Model has sorted through the pile to find the best prop bets for Week 2 of the NFL season.