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WVU vs Maryland Football: Take the Over

Seventeen point spread is too much for a rivalry game, but the over looks solid.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

After a bye week I'm back with some more mediocre advice on what lines to play this weekend. As of this writing West Virginia University is a seventeen point favorite against the Maryland Terrapins. I personally believe the Mountaineers are going to cover and then some, but I would avoid picking them to do so given it's a rivalry game, and there seems to be better value at picking the over (58 points).

Against some fairly pedestrian competition WVU has averaged 42.5 points per game, and allowed 8.5 points per game. Maryland, through three games, is averaging 37.3 points per game and allowing 28.7 points per game. You could make an argument based on those numbers alone to take the over. Of course, if it was as easy as looking to average points scored and allowed Vegas wouldn't be offering over and under plays. Digging a little deeper shows some trends working in favor of the teams passing the over.

From 2004-2014 the teams have played nine times. In those nine matchups the winning team has averaged 33.5 points per game, the losing team has averaged 19.8 points per game, and the teams have combined to score slightly over 53 points per game. However, there are two outlier games within those contests. The first outlier is the low scoring 2004 matchup that the Mountaineers won 19-16 (thank you Chris Henry). The second outlier is the 37-0 pounding the Terrapins gave the Mountaineers in Baltimore in 2013 (damn you turnovers, rain, and Randy Edsall). If you take those games out, then the winning team has averaged 35 points per game and the losing team has averaged 23, a total of 58. Based on the averages, the trends in the matchup, and Maryland's atrocious turnover margin (116 out of 128 teams) I look for plenty of scores and the teams combining to go over 58 points for the game.

Bonus picks: TCU -6.5 over Texas Tech, Arizona +135 over UCLA, and BYU +197 over Michigan

Week 2 Record (no week 3 picks): 1-2

Week 1 Record: 3-1

Total Record: 4-3