Steward Butler of Marshall Thundering Herd

NCAAF Post Season Betting Lines – Marshall Favored at -2.5 Versus Maryland

A lull in the volume of NCAAF bowl season betting lines ramps up again two days after Christmas as Marshall clashes with Maryland in the Military Bowl. This game has already seen a decisive split in action since both teams played relatively evenly over the course of the year, and neither ended the season that well. Marshall earns the early lean in this game, but only barely.

Marshall Thundering Herd (9-4) vs. Maryland Terrapins (7-5)
The Marshall Thundering Herd are 2.5 point favorites over the Maryland Terrapins in the Military Bowl.
Starts: 12/27/2013 2:30PM
Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, U.S. Naval Academy
Annapolis, Maryland


The Thundering Herd are led by quarterback Rakeem Cato, an undersized play-maker who managed to throw for 3,579 yards along with 36 touchdowns against just 9 interceptions. He was one of the top-10 producers in terms of stats, and Marshall rallied around his efforts all year. Despite his size Cato almost never rushes the ball unless he absolutely has to. His highest rushing total was 59 yards, and that came on the first game of the year. He came close to reaching that mark a few times, but stayed in the pocket more often than not.

Marshall was a bit of a glory hound down the stretch, building up a polished 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS record where they vanquished their opponents by an average of +34.0 points per game. However, they’ve already been hammered in one of their NCAAF post season betting lines already, losing to Rice in the conference championship by an end score of 24-41 as -6.5 favorites. That was a bad game, but it says more than enough about the Herd, who haven’t played against great competition all season.

That’s not necessarily their fault, but comparing the ACC to Conference USA is like comparing apples to a piece of used chewing gum. The Maryland Terrapins went 7-5 SU and ATS on the year, and offered their backers balance on both sides of the ball. This offense was often stagnant against great teams, but Marshall is not a solid defensive team. They proved excessively vulnerable to Rice’s rushing attack, and the Terps averaged 144.6 yards on the ground this year as a team thanks in large part to the backfield tag team of quarterback C.J. Brown and Brandon Ross. This is a matchup nightmare for Marshall yet again.

I’m not the type of handicapper that totally derails the value of a team because of the conference they play in, but it’s hard to get that excited about a C-USA team especially when they play a good team from the ACC as dogs on one of the NCAAF post season betting lines. Maryland has honed its craft against great schools, and traveled well down the stretch with a 3-1 SU and ATS record on the season while visiting Virginia, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and North Carolina State.

Maryland is also 3-1 SU against NCAAF post season betting lines, and this marks their first trip to a bowl game since Randy Edsall became their head coach in 2011. They are not a complete team, but they’re a solid one and they’ll use their run game to run the Marshall Thundering Herd off a cliff in an upset. This is one NCAAF post season betting line where you need to take the dog on the moneyline.

Military Bowl Betting Pick – Maryland +2.5