The Daily Sweat: Maryland is favored by 2 TDs over Virginia

It's the first meeting between the teams since the Terps left the ACC

Virginia is a heavy underdog Friday night as it looks to avoid an 0-3 start to the season.

The Cavaliers opened 2023 with a blowout loss to Tennessee and lost as a home underdog to James Madison in Week 2. Friday night, Virginia is a 14.5-point underdog on the road at Maryland (7 p.m. ET, FS1). The total is 46.5 points at BetMGM.

Quarterback Tony Muskett could return to the lineup against the Terrapins after missing the game against James Madison. He injured his shoulder against Tennessee and was 9-of-17 for 94 yards in that game. He’s been a full participant in practice ahead of the Maryland game.

If Virginia can pull the upset on Friday night it will be the biggest win in Tony Elliott’s tenure with the Cavaliers. Virginia is just 3-9 since the former Clemson offensive coordinator became the team’s coach, and a big reason for the team’s struggles is the offense. Virginia scored just 17 points per game in 2022. Only five teams scored fewer points.

After absorbing an early hit, Maryland redshirt senior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (3) completed 22 of 33 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a score to lead the Terps to a season-opening 38-6 win against Towson at SECU Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, in College Park, Maryland. (Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Maryland is 2-0 after wins over Towson and Charlotte to start the season. (Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Maryland, meanwhile, is 2-0 after wins over Towson and Charlotte to start the season. The Terrapins are on a four-game win streak after ending the 2022 season with wins over Rutgers and North Carolina State.

QB Taulia Tagovailoa has thrown for 547 yards over the first two games, while running back Roman Hemby has 31 carries for 220 yards and six catches for 69 yards.

It’s the first meeting between the two schools from neighboring states since Maryland left the ACC for the Big Ten. The two teams played 78 times from 1919-2013 and Maryland has a 44-32-2 edge in the series. Friday night, we’re hoping for a competitive game and would bet the over.

UTSA favored over Army

UTSA is an 8.5-point favorite at home against Army in the game with the lowest total of the evening (7 p.m. ET, ESPN). The Roadrunners averaged 37 points per game a season ago but have scored just 34 points through the first two games of 2023 despite the return of QB Frank Harris and most of the offense from 2022.

The Roadrunners lost 17-14 at Houston to open the season and beat Texas State 20-13 in Week 2. The victory over the Bobcats came after Texas State upset Baylor in Week 1 and racked up 441 yards against the Bears.

Army opened the season with a 17-13 loss to Louisiana-Monroe before beating Delaware State 57-0 in Week 2. The Black Knights are throwing the ball more than they have in previous seasons too. Army quarterbacks have combined to throw 27 passes over the first two games of 2023. In 2022, Army averaged just under nine passes per game.

The total for this game is just 44.5 and we’re leaning toward the under but are also tempted to stay away. Our play is UTSA minus the points at home. The Roadrunner defense should stifle Army’s running attack enough to get a win by two scores.

Air Force looks to go to 3-0

Air Force is a 9.5-point home favorite against Utah State on Friday night (8 p.m. ET, CBSSN).

The Falcons have allowed just 10 points all season, though its wins have been over FCS opponent Robert Morris and a Sam Houston team that was at the FCS level a season ago. Utah State lost 24-14 to Iowa in Week 1 before a 78-28 win over FCS opponent Idaho State in Week 2.

Since each team has played an FCS opponent, this is a game you may want to live-bet if you’re looking for action. Utah State is the best offense the Air Force defense has faced this season by far.

Rays favored over Orioles

The biggest MLB series of the weekend is in Baltimore as the Rays play the Orioles. Zach Eflin takes the mound for the Rays while former Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty starts for the Orioles. The Rays are +125 as -1.5 run favorites and -125 on the moneyline while the Orioles are +105.

Who cashed tickets Thursday?

The Vikings barely covered in a 34-28 loss to the Eagles on Thursday night. Philly was a 6.5-point favorite ahead of the game as the Eagles went to 2-0 and the Vikings dropped to 0-2.