Taulia Tagovailoa throwing

Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (3) passes during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Howard, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Maryland (2-0) visits Illinois (1-2) on Friday night at 9:00 PM Eastern on FS1
  • The Terrapins are coming off a lopsided 62-0 victory over Howard; Illinois was drubbed at UVA
  • See the odds, predictions and best bet to make in the conference game below

Nothing beats Friday night football and there’s a premium betting opportunity when Maryland and Illinois battle it out under the lights at Memorial Stadium.

The Terrapins are 7.5 point favorites and enter the game undefeated, while Illinois is reeling after a lopsided loss to Virginia. This game has plenty of intrigue and one specific wager that bettors can take advantage of.

Maryland vs Illinois Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Maryland Terrapins -7.5 (-115) -300 O 60.5 (-110)
Illinois Fighting Illini +7.5 (-105) +235 U 60.5 (-110)

Odds as of Sept 15th at FanDuel

The odds have seen some movement, but the line has never been less than a touchdown. Let’s take a look at the key players, including the younger brother of a flashy NFL sophomore, as well as other key story lines to settle on the best bet on the board.

Taulia Taking Advantage of Soft Schedule

Taulia Tagovailoa is the younger brother of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, but he’s paving his own way.

Taulia has 606 yards passing and six touchdowns in two games this season. He’s looking confident in both his game and his two favorite receivers Dontay Demus Jr. and Rakim Jarrett. The two wideouts are tied for the team lead with 12 receptions apiece, with Demus Jr. topping all pass catchers with 261 receiving yards.

There’s an important note that needs to be made about these gaudy stats – and it’s the level of competition. Maryland opened the season with a competitive win over West Virginia before dismantling Howard 62-0. Illinois isn’t a juggernaut but they are a level above Howard and more comparable to the Mountaineers, who the Terrapins beat in a one score game.

Illinois Reeling After Back-to-Back Losses

Illinois was riding high after a season opening win over Nebraska. After back to back losses against UTSA and Virginia, however, suddenly things look bleak. The Fighting Illini rank 135th in total yards, 121st in passing yards and 129th in rushing yards. The only good news is there’s nowhere to go but up.

One player in particular that needs to take a step forward is starting quarterback Artur Sitkowski. He’s racked up 611 passing yards and six touchdowns with only one interception, but the 56.9 completion percentage simply isn’t good enough. Assuming the Terrapins will put some points on the board, Sitkowski will need to take a leap forward to help his team keep pace.

The Under Is the Best Bet

When you settle in to watch the prime time game on a Friday night betting the under isn’t exciting, but it sure looks like the smart play here. The Illinois offense is stuck in the mud and the Maryland offense won’t have the luxury of facing an FCS defense.

Need more evidence? The under is 6-1 in Maryland’s last seven conference games and it’s 5-1 in Illinois’ last six games after a loss. Asking these two teams to score more than a point a minute is something that just isn’t likely to happen.

If you’re dead set against betting on the under for entertainment purposes, it’s never a bad idea to fade Illinois. They are 1-5 against the spread in their last six games and this could be another notch in the loss column. Bet the under if you’re smart, bet the Terrapins if you’re a thrill seeker and bet them both on a parlay if you want to enter the weekend with a nice profit stack.

The Pick: Under 60.5 (-110)

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Ryan Bolta

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NHL
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