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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State football returns Saturday after a week off, with the Buckeyes playing Maryland at Ohio Stadium. This also marks their return to the sportsbooks.

Ohio State’s 17-14 win Sept. 23 over Notre Dame was perfectly predicted by the sportsbooks as the Buckeyes entered the game as three-point favorites. Through four games, the Buckeyes have covered once and total points have gone under on three occasions.

With Big Ten play in full swing, the Buckeyes could develop a rhythm of covering the spread and getting games over the set total. Based on their history against the Terrapins, both of those bets could hit this weekend.

Odds are from DraftKings SportsbookFor a full explanation on how to read betting odds, click here.

Latest Odds

Moneyline: Ohio State (-1350), Maryland (+800)

Spread: Ohio State (-19.5, [-110]), Maryland (+19.5, [-110])

Total: 57.5 points (Over & Under, -110)

Betting trends

  • The total line of 57.5 is the second-lowest ever set for an Ohio State-Maryland game. In the teams’ eight previous games, the total has gone over 57.5 each time and has gone over higher set totals as well. Ohio State-Maryland games have averaged 80 points, with the highest total being 103 in the Buckeyes’ 52-51 overtime win in 2018.
  • Ohio State has covered against Maryland in five of eight games, including three times at Ohio Stadium. The matchup historically has been a roller coaster of small and large spreads with the largest being 42.5 in 2019 and the lowest 6.5 in 2014.
  • Maryland being 19.5-point underdogs is the lowest against Ohio State since 2018. The Terrapins have lost all eight times against the Buckeyes by an average of nearly five touchdowns but has scored at least 20 points against OSU in half of its matchups.

Why the Buckeyes can cover

Ohio State’s offense has yet to find consistent footing. Its defense, however, is already considered one of the best in the nation.

The Buckeyes have given up 8.5 points per game this season, second only to Michigan, and after limiting Notre Dame to 14 points, the defense could be dominant again.

Another factor that could spell a big defensive performance and an offensive jolt is fresh legs. The Buckeyes will enter the Maryland game after 13 days off and with a home crowd behind them for Homecoming weekend.

Despite the bye week, offensive momentum is surely in the right direction after Ohio State’s 15-play, 65-yard drive to beat Notre Dame at the last second. Marvin Harrison Jr.’s stats at the Horseshoe have been exceptional, with three touchdowns and 286 yards in two games coupled with a strong start for Emeka Egbuka.

The combination of all those factors and the fact the 5-0 Terrapins are playing their first team with a winning record, bettors could feel confident Ohio State can win by 20 or more points.

Why Maryland can cover

The Terrapins have a handful of games where they gave the Buckeyes a scare and Saturday’s could be no different.

Maryland is unbeaten with an offense that scores nearly 39 points per game, while the defense hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in a game this season. Even with weaker opposition, the defense has been stout against Big Ten opposition, only allowing nine points to Michigan State and 17 to Indiana.

Much of Maryland’s offensive success is thanks to senior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, the brother of Miami Dolphins QB and NFL MVP-candidate Tua. The Hawaii native has thrown 13 touchdown passes this season and put together two good games against the Buckeyes, with four touchdowns and an average of 286 passing yards.

The player to watch on defense that could affect the score is defensive back Tarheeb Still, one of the few players in college football who has three interceptions. Still is likely to assist in double-team coverage on Harrison.

A high-powered Maryland offense is also capable of scoring points late if the Buckeyes jump out to a big lead. Bettors could be swayed to think the Terps might cover with a late fourth-quarter touchdown.

How weather could factor

Storm Team 4 is forecasting temperatures in the mid to low 50s with chances for light showers and gusty winds. The forecast calls for west winds between 15 and 20 mph with a 30% chance for rain, which could create difficulties for quarterbacks and kickers.

Under similar conditions, Tagovailoa has struggled throwing, with a five-interception game against Iowa in 2021 being the most notable example.

Additionally, high gusts will affect the kicking game, creating a lower chance of field goal conversions from further distances.

If incompletions and interceptions start stacking up, each offense would shift to rely on the run game more, with the Buckeyes having a clear advantage. This could affect the total for the game and, for the first time, the total could go under if the weather acts up.