College Football Odds & Picks for Kent State vs. Maryland: Few Defensive Stops Projected
Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Taulia Tagovailoa.
- Maryland faces Kent State in a game that should feature very little defense.
- The Terps are coming off a road win over Illinois, while the Golden Flashes just got drubbed by Iowa.
- Kyle Remillard break down the matchup and provides his pick.
Kent State vs. Maryland Odds
|Kent State Odds||+14.5 (-115)|
|Maryland Odds||-14.5 (-105)|
|Moneyline||+450 / -630|
|Over/Under||70 (-120 / +100)|
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||Big Ten Network|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.|
Maryland looks to stay perfect on the season as the Terps welcome Kent State, which is in search of its first FBS victory this year.
This Maryland team is night and day compared to the Terps from last year. After finishing the shortened 2020 season 2-3, Maryland has won its first three games this season.
One of the main contributors to their recent success is the improvement of the offense behind quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa. Maryland averaged 23.6 points per game last season and has improved that statistic by two touchdowns so far in 2021.
The Terrapins match up this week against a Kent State offense that ranked among the top 10 in nearly all offensive statistics last season. The Golden Flashes are averaging nearly 50 points per game through four games, but they’ve allowed 38, as well.
Kent State lives up to its team name of the Golden Flashes, playing at a lightning-quick pace.
With two teams who want to play fast, this game is destined to see plenty of possessions and scoring opportunities.
Kent State vs. Maryland Betting Preview
Kent State Offense
Head coach Sean Lewis returns for his fourth year after implementing his “Flash Fast” offense. That scheme led the country in scoring putting up 49.8 points and over 600 yards of offense per game last season.
Quarterback Dustin Crum is heartbeat to Lewis’ offensive scheme, using both his arm and legs. In 2020, he completed 74% of his passes last season while tossing 12 touchdowns to just two interceptions. He averaged 10.5 yards per pass attempt while averaging just below 300 passing yards per game.
In 2021, Crum has seen a bit of a decline through three games this season, averaging 6.9 yards per pass attempt, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
That’s greatly affected the Kent State offense, which is averaging just 25.7 points per game.
The Golden Flashes returned 10 offensive starters, and the scheme has remained the same, so why the decline?
Kent State has played a brutal schedule so far against two of the most prolific defenses in the country in Texas A&M and Iowa.
The Flashes rank ninth in plays per minute and should see plenty of opportunities to score against a Maryland defense that has allowed explosive plays.
Kent State Defense
Running a fast-paced offense like the Flashes do will inadvertently have negative impacts on the defense.
That proved to be true in 2020 where the Golden Flashes allowed 38 points per game last season. They ranked 124th defensively in Finishing Drives and it seemed anytime a team crossed the 40-yard line, they were finding paydirt.
Kent State has returned eight starters and looks below average so far this season, which is a step up from last year. The Flashes allowed 41 points to Texas A&M and 30 points against the slow-paced Iowa Hawkeyes.
Kent State sits outside the top 100 in Rushing Success, Line Yards and Pass Rush. The Golden Flashes are not much better defending the pass, where they sit at 92nd in success rate.
Allowing Tagovailoa time in the pocket is a recipe for disaster since he will pick this defense apart.
In 2020, the offense lacked consistency and was reliant on rare explosive plays. They ranked 102nd in Offensive Points Per Drive and 123rd in Finishing Drives.
Fast forward to 2021, and it looks like a whole different offense.
The Terrapins rank ninth in Passing Success and have improved to 65th in Finishing Drives. Much of that is thanks to Tagovailoa refining his play this offseason.
Last year, Tagovailoa showed flashes of greatness but was inconsistent matching seven touchdowns with seven interceptions.
This season, he has seven touchdown passes with zero interceptions through three games. He’s completing 75% of his passes while averaging 10 yards per pass attempt.
The running attack has improved from last season, averaging 4.4 yards per carry and ranking 33rd in Rushing Success. They have four running backs who share the load, but redshirt senior Tayon Fleet-Davis leads the group by averaging 84 yards per game.
The offense is averaging 37 points per game and should exceed that number against a Kent State defense that ranked outside the top 100 in nearly every defensive statistic last year.
The Terps also have seen a strong improvement on the defensive side of the ball this season.
They let up 32 points per game in 2020 and improved upon that number allowing just 13 this year on 4.4 yards per play. The unit returned 96% of its production, according to TARP, which is a large contribution to those improvements.
The secondary is the strength of the defense led by junior safety Nick Cross, who has two interceptions on the year. The defense has seven forced turnovers while contributing 11 sacks and 17 tackles for loss this season.
The biggest enhancement has been the improvement in Finishing Drives, where they ranked 114th in the nation in 2020. They’ve improved that ranking 18th along with their Havoc through three games
They will be matched up against a fast-paced offense that will look to push the pace, opposite of what they faced against Illinois last week.
Kent State vs. Maryland Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Kent State and Maryland match up statistically:
Kent State Offense vs. Maryland Defense
Maryland Offense vs. Kent State Defense
Pace of Play / Other
Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.
Kent State vs. Maryland Betting Pick
Both FBS opponents that Kent State has matched up with wanted to play slow-paced games and slow down the tempo. Same can be said for Maryland, who matched up against Illinois last week.
Finally, these two offenses will have a chance to shine in what will be an up-and-down game where we see explosive plays from both offenses.
Maryland will have success both rushing and passing against the abysmal Kent State defense.
On the other side, Kent State with its “Flash Fast” tempo will find big plays against a Maryland defense that ranks 92nd in that category.
This game will consist of few defensive stops, which is why I’m playing the over.
The total is heading up, already at 70 on DraftKings. You can still get 69.5 at PointsBet, as of Thursday afternoon.
Pick: Over 69.5 (Up to 70)
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