2021 Maryland Football Betting Preview Against West Virginia

Maryland football opens up their season with an intriguing matchup against West Virginia. The Terrapins are looking for some improvement after collecting just five wins through the first two years under head coach Mike Locksley. They’ll have a significant challenge against a Power Five rival.

Kickoff is set for Saturday, September 4th, at 3:30 PM Eastern. Sportsbooks have various odds released for much of the Week 1 action across college football. Here are the latest spreads and totals available through a selection of sportsbooks.

  • DraftKings: West Virginia -3.5 (-110), Maryland +3.5 (-110)
    • Total: 54 (-110)
    • Moneyline: WVU -165, Maryland +145
  • FanDuel: West Virginia -3.5 (-102), Maryland +3.5 (-120)
    • Moneyline: WVU -170, Maryland +138
  • PointsBet: No spread or moneyline
    • Total: 54 (-110)

Looking Back At The 2020 Maryland Football Team

The Terrapins played the least amount of games compared to the rest of the Big Ten due to various COVID cancellations. In total, five games were played and the season ended with a 2-3 record. Their two victories came at home to Minnesota and on the road at Penn State. It was essentially a season to forget with some blowout losses and an overtime loss to Rutgers at home to wrap things up.

Tagovailoa Must Start Off Strong For Maryland Football

It’s hard to predict what this Maryland offense will look like in 2021. The unit put up 45 points against Minnesota and 35 points in a victory at Penn State last season. However, prior to those games, it was able to put up just three points against Northwestern.

Much of the focus will be on quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa. It was an adequate campaign as the main guy under center for the Terrapins. He was able to break through over 1,000 passing yards in four games, completing 61.5 percent of his passes. He had an even ratio of 7 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.

As the running game comes together, Maryland may be relying on Tagovailoa early. That may include the defense, which is somewhat of a mixed bag as well. It finished at the bottom of the Big Ten with 449.2 yards per game allowed in 2019. Things didn’t improve much across their five games last season.

West Virginia Brings In Outstanding Defense

One of the strengths for the Mountaineers last season was its defense. They were at the top of the Big 12 in allowing 291.4 yards per game. The unit was exceptional in stopping the passing attack, which limited opponents’ scoring to 20.5 points per game.

A few pieces are missing on defense, but the majority of the starters will return. That includes much of the secondary, which was the highlight on that side of the ball. It could make life fairly difficult for Tagovailoa if Maryland can’t establish the running game.

Sports Betting Recommendation

  • West Virginia -3.5 (-102, FanDuel)
  • Over 54 (-110, PointsBet)

Even with the contest being at Maryland Stadium, it’s a tall order against a solid Big 12 opponent. West Virginia has an impressive defense that simply matches up well to the Terrapins. Their strength is stopping their opponent’s passing attack, which is what Tagovailoa needs to excel at.

There just hasn’t been enough consistency to trust Maryland football despite some of the talent coming back. As of now, the best bet is to take the Mountaineers as just over a field goal favorite. 

Going over on the total carries higher risk as the initial impression is to take the under. However, Maryland is inconsistent, and sometimes they can really explode when least expected. There’s also a potential that West Virginia can dominate if Maryland can’t get things going.

About the Author

Brian Spaen

Brian Spaen is the Managing Editor for Maryland Sharp. He has been a content writer and editor in various industries, including sports betting, environmental technology, and higher education. Brian is a graduate of Iowa State University and currently resides in Des Moines, Iowa. He’s an NFL and MLB fan.