Maryland vs Michigan State Odds, Picks, and Predictions: Can Either Side Score Enough?

While Michigan State figures out just what the hell is going on in Week 4, Maryland's own struggles don't suggest a lit-up scoreboard. See why our college football picks think these two will be slow to start.

Sep 22, 2023 • 16:35 ET • 4 min read
Taulia Tagovailoa NCAAF
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Maryland takes its unbeaten record on the road for the first time in Week 4, as Michigan State plays host to the Terps as a college football odds underdog on Saturday.

Taulia Tagovailoa is off to a strong start, but he’s going to need to figure out his road woes after a 2022 season that saw Maryland go 1-3 away from home in conference play. He threw for less than 100 yards in two of those games, and must be better if his team is to win.

Michigan State will be glad to be back in front of its fans after being housed by Washington last weekend. With the Mel Tucker saga over for the moment, they’ll hope to get back to focusing on what’s happening on the field rather than off it.

Can Maryland end its four-game losing streak in East Lansing, or will Sparty pull off an upset and get their season back on track? We discuss the betting odds and more in our Maryland vs. Michigan State college football picks and predictions for Saturday, September 23. 

Maryland vs Michigan State best odds

Maryland vs Michigan State and predictions

Things couldn’t have gone any worse last week than they did for Michigan State. With its head coach suspended and playing in one of the best environments in college football, it had a nightmare start as its seven first-half possessions all ended with either a punt or turnover. The Spartans trailed 35-0 at halftime en route to a 41-7 humbling.

Now they return home, and perhaps it’s a good thing for them that Tucker was fired this week. The distraction of whether he would return is now gone, allowing the players to focus on the game plan and instruction from interim head coach Halon Barnett.

But things may not be as bleak as they looked last week. Sure, Michigan State got torched through the air as Michael Penix Jr threw for 473 yards and four touchdowns on just 27 completions. But Penix is an elite quarterback with a trio of weapons at wide receiver that might be the best bunch in college football.

Which brings us to this week’s game. Everyone is looking at Penix’s performance and expecting Taulia Tagovailoa to go off in a similar fashion. And I get why. He’s a solid quarterback, capable of putting up big numbers as he did in the game against Michigan State last year where he threw for 314 yards and a touchdown.

And I’m not here to say he won’t do just that. But I don’t think he’s going to do so from the start. In fact, he’s failed to do so in the past two games, and that’s why our best bet is to take Michigan +2.5 points in the first quarter of Saturday’s game. 

There are two main reasons for this play. First, Tagovailoa has to prove he can get the job done on the road against a Big Ten opponent. Last year, Tagovailoa threw for 74 and 77 yards, respectively, in November road games against Penn State and Wisconsin. His team lost by a combined score of 53-10. 

His previous road game, a five-point win over Indiana, was his only really good outing in conference play away from home, as his first conference road game against Michigan saw him throw two picks in a 207-yard passing performance. 

Secondly, Maryland’s gotten off to bad starts each of its last two games. I mean, really bad starts. Last week, it trailed a rebuilding Virginia squad 14-7 after the first quarter, despite playing at home. The week before? The Terps were shockingly losing 14-0 after the first 15 minutes to Charlotte. 

Michigan State may not beat Maryland, but I fully expect a strong showing out of the locker room. Its defense ranks 24th in college football in havoc created, and Tagovailoa has looked solid while facing very little pressure this season. He’s been sacked just three times, while Michigan State’s 10 sacks rank 15th in the country.

So, stay away from what could be a tricky game to handicap for the full 60 minutes, and focus instead on getting some early profit and possibly finding more on the live market. Take Michigan State getting 2.5 points in the first quarter, as I expect them to be trailing slightly or ahead heading into the second stanza.  

My best bet: Michigan State +2.5 first quarter (-110 at FanDuel)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.

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Maryland vs Michigan State same-game parlay

Michigan State +3.5 1Q (-150)
Tagovailoa under 7.5 rushing yards (-115)
Either team to score 3 unanswered times — No (+215)

Our same-game parlay over at bet365 adjusts the best bet a small amount, but adds in two terrific props to boost the price up to +750. 

First, we’re taking Maryland’s quarterback to rush for fewer than eight yards. Tagovailoa rushed for seven or fewer yards — or lost yards — in seven of his 12 games last season, and he’s lost yardage in each of his last two games. 

In fact, his usage has gone down completely when compared to last year. Throw in the fact that any sacks Michigan State gets will count against his rushing total, and I love this prop here. 

Secondly, this matchup has been tightly contested the past few years. In fact, last year was the only time in the last six meetings that either team scored three times in a row, and that was because Sparty failed to score at all in the second half. We’re taking another closely fought affair here to bump our parlay price way up. 

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Maryland vs Michigan State spread and Over/Under analysis

Despite playing at home, Michigan State is understandably the underdog. However, the line opened at +5.5 and has moved too far, in my opinion. You can now get Spartans +7.5 and I like that number personally. If you think Michigan State can pull off the upset outright, then you’ll love the price of +250 at FanDuel.

I think Michigan State has value at +7.5, enough so that I contemplated making it my best bet and putting it into the parlay. However, I felt the other plays offered better likelihood and better value. But I also wouldn’t be shocked to see the Spartans win outright, given Tagovailoa’s struggles last year on the road and Michigan State’s motivation. 

As for the total, there’s been little movement since the line opened. It began at 53.5 at most books, and has settled down a point to 52.5 heading into Friday. Maryland’s last six games have seen it score fewer points than its team total, which could be bringing the game total down. The Terps have also seen the Under go 3-0 in their games this season.

Maryland vs Michigan State betting trend to know

Michigan State is 4-0 SU in its last four at home against Maryland. Find more college football betting trends for Maryland vs Michigan State.

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Maryland vs Michigan State game info

Location: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Date: Saturday, September 23, 2023
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBC

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