College Football Week 7 Picks: Virginia Cavaliers vs. Maryland Terrapins

Doc MosemanCorrespondent IOctober 8, 2013

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - SEPTEMBER 7: David Watford #5 of the Virginia Cavaliers looks to throw a pass against the Oregon Ducks during the game at Scott Stadium on September 7, 2013 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Oregon won 59-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Virginia Cavaliers will try and snap a two-game skid this Saturday afternoon when they face the Maryland Terrapins in an ACC clash at Byrd Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.

The Cavaliers started the season with a pair of victories in their first three games. Then, they had a tough 14-3 loss to Pittsburgh, where they were a six-point road underdog in their ACC opener, followed by last Saturday’s 48-27 loss to Ball State as a 3.5-point favorite at home. The total has gone “over” in three of their last four games.

Maryland cracked the Top 25 with a perfect 4-0 start that included a stunning 37-0 victory over West Virginia as a 3.5-point home favorite. The stay in the national rankings was brief after getting destroyed by No. 8 Florida State 63-0 this past Saturday as a 17.5-point underdog on the road. The total went over the 57-point line in that game after staying “under” in two of their last three games.


Virginia at Maryland Betting Story Lines

Virginia has now lost three of their last four games by a combined score of 121-40. Oregon rolled up 59 points on this defense on Sept. 7, which was not all that unexpected, but the 48 points it gave up to Ball State this past Saturday is some serious reason for concern. This game was tied at 17 after the first two quarters, but the Cardinals’ offense exploded in the second half with three rushing touchdowns and a fourth score on a 72-yard pass play. The Cavaliers are now ranked No. 70 in the nation in points allowed, giving up an average of 27.4 per game.

Of even greater concern is an offense that is suddenly having trouble finding the end zone. Quarterback David Watford has thrown for 813 yards and just three touchdowns while completing 59.1 percent of his passes. He has been picked off seven times this season on 171 attempts. Virginia’s running game is led by Kevin Parks, who has 398 yards on 88 carries. Overall, the offense is averaging just 171.4 yards a game through the air while averaging 178.2 yards per game on the ground.

Maryland will have to try and pick up the pieces from this past Saturday’s debacle against Florida State, but it may have to do it without the services of quarterback C.J. Brown. Adding injury to insult, he left last week’s game late in the second quarter with an apparent concussion. His status for this game is currently listed as “questionable.” If he can’t go, look for Caleb Rowe to get the start. He completed 9-of-17 passes for 119 yards against the Seminoles in relief of Brown.

The Terrapins will also need a much better effort from a defense that pitched a shutout against West Virginia a few weeks back before getting torched by Florida State for 614 yards of total offense, including 431 yards through the air. Before this loss, this unit had allowed a total of just 41 points in four previous contests. The Seminoles posted 42 points on the board before the start of the fourth quarter.


Virginia at Maryland Betting Odds and Trends by 5Dimes 

Point spread: -7

Total Line: OFF

Brown’s playing status makes the spread on this game something to watch all week long, but for now Maryland has been opened as a seven-point home favorite.

The Cavaliers are 4-10 against the spread in their last 14 games following a straight-up loss and are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games on the road. The total has stayed under in four of their last five road games.

The Terrapins are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 conference games, but 6-1 ATS in their last seven games overall. The total has gone over in five of those seven games.

Head-to-head in this ACC clash, the road team is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings, and the total has stayed under in four of the last five games played at Maryland. The Cavaliers are 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings.


College Football Picks: Virginia at Maryland Betting Predictions 

Maryland is a much better team than the one that got pushed around by Florida State last week, while Virginia’s weaknesses on both sides of the ball were painfully exposed by Ball State. The loss of Brown at quarterback would hurt, but stick with the Terrapins to still win this game by more than the current seven-point spread.


Take: #128 Maryland (-7) over Virginia (3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12)