As we approach Week 4, only half of the conference remains undefeated, as several lost contests to other Power 5 opponents. One of the few left standing is Maryland, which beat a good SMU team at home in Week 3. Other wins over Charlotte and Buffalo has College Square bouncing thanks to stellar play from star quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa.
Let’s take a deep dive into this matchup and some of the other top games in Week 4.
No. 4 Michigan Wolverines vs Maryland Terrapins
- TV: FOX
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: Noon ET
- Location: Ann Arbor, Mich.
- Weather: 63 degrees, cloudy
- DraftKings Odds: MICH -16.5, O/U: 65.5, ML: MICH -750, MARY +550
- Best Bet (4-6): MICH -16.5
This game should not be very close, but for some reason Vegas wants you to think it will be. Only 57% of the money on this game is on the Wolverines, while 87% of the public favors the Wolverines. Getting in on this game below 17 feels like a steal. Other losses to Big Ten powers over the past few weeks might have betters feeling shaky about the Wolverines’ chances on Saturday.
Maryland is a good football team, don’t get me wrong. Tagovailoa has been one of the best quarterbacks in the FBS over the last two seasons and he is off to a hot start in 2022. He’s on pace for another 3,500+ yard season and is currently completing over 77% of his throws. But the quarterback alone is not going to be enough for this Terps team to beat Michigan.
J.J. McCarthy is going to have the opportunity to light up what is a terrible Maryland defense. This season, the Terps have allowed almost 273 passing yards and 392 total yards per game. Last week, SMU put up 520 yards and if it weren’t for three costly turnovers, it likely would have won the game. The narrative of a 2-1 Maryland team could be much different to the one that comes in at 3-0.
The fact Michigan is at home and a very similar team on offense that crushed the Terps 59-10 last season in College Park should be enough to tell you the spread is too low. And this same Terps team put up much gaudier numbers early in 2021 in tune to a 4-0 start. Then, Iowa dropped 51 on them in a 37-point victory. Maryland would lose every top-25 matchup they had in 2021 by an average of more than 30 points. I sense an eerily similar path in 2022, starting with this contest on Saturday.
No. 20 Florida Gators vs No. 11 Tennessee Volunteers
- TV: ABC
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: 3:30 p.m.
- Location: Knoxville, Tenn.
- Weather: 83 degrees, sunny
- DraftKings Odds: TENN -10.5, O/U: 62 ML: FLO +295, TENN -360
- Best Bet (4-6): FLO +10.5
Two of the most explosive quarterbacks in the country will go head to head this weekend when Anthony Richardson and the Gators head to Knoxville to renew their rivalry with Hendon Hooker and the Vols. The eyes of the nation will be on this one as everyone is wondering if Tennessee is a legit contender in the SEC this season.
My best guess — they aren’t. It feels like it’s either Florida or Tennessee every year that gets a bunch of early season hype and then completely crumble once reaching conference play. What makes the 10.5-point spread even wilder is the Gators have won 16 of the last 17 meetings, with the only loss coming in 2016. Yes, Florida has won the last five in a row, so what is going on with the spread here?
Well, despite a 2-1 record, Florida has allowed more points and yards this season than what it has gained. That being said, the Gators also have played two top-25 teams and beat a very interesting Utah squad that was a top-10 team in Week 1. A poor performance last week against USF has people down on the Gators, but a bounce-back week seems in order.
The Volunteers narrowly defeated a No. 17 Pittsburgh squad in Week 2 that lost it’s starting quarterback and leading wide receiver from 2021. They still allowed more than 400 yards of offense in that game. Hooker has been unbelievable, throwing for 844 yards and six touchdowns against two of the worst teams in the FBS, and that Pitt team is definitely not known for defense.
I think this game is much tighter than expected and if I can get Florida with the points, I’m definitely taking it.
Wisconsin Badgers vs No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes
- TV: ABC
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Location: Columbus, Ohio
- Weather: 69 degrees, partly cloudy
- DraftKings Odds: OSU -18, O/U: 56.5 ML: WIS +675, OSU -975
- Best Bet (4-6): Over 56.5
Another week, another game where I expect Ohio State to bulldoze its opponent. This Wisconsin Badgers team ain’t it. Their offensive flaws showed when Washington State stacked the box and allowed just 98 yards to Heisman-hopeful Braelon Allen on way to a 17-14 win in Madison.
Graham Mertz was supposed to come into Madison and help the program get where it hasn’t been before. He was the most anticipated quarterback to join the Badgers since Russell Wilson, but entering his junior season at Wisconsin, his status is very much up in the air. He’s played well against bad teams, but he’s also shown he cannot be relied upon if the running game isn’t popping the way it should be. Talk to most Badger fans, and they are anticipating getting blown out by the Buckeyes.
As for Ohio State, this is going to be its first legitimate test against a strong run game, where the team struggled mightily in 2021. If Braelon Allen has his way against the Buckeyes, it could mean really good things for Michigan later in the year.
Offensively, C.J. Stroud will be challenged by a defense that has been stifling against some poor offenses so far. Still, he should have enough firepower with the weapons at his disposal to pour on the points.
The 56.5 total just seems a little low to me here. I suspect Allen has a decent enough day to get some touchdowns on the board. However, the Buckeyes should still win this game handily, even if they don’t get off to a hot start. Either way, I expect them to come away with a victory, and maybe in convincing fashion.