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Maryland vs. Illinois picks and best bets for Week 3

Friday night action in the Big Ten as Maryland invades Champaign to battle Illinois.

Howard Bison defensive lineman Aaron Motley moves up on Maryland Terrapins quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa during a college football game between the Howard Bison and the Maryland Terrapins, on September 11, 2021, at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, in College Park, Maryland. Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We have Friday night action in the Big Ten as the Maryland Terrapins will seek their first 3-0 start since 2016 when traveling to Champaign to battle the Illinois Fighting Illini at 9 p.m. ET on FS1.

So far, so good for Maryland (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) in the 2021 campaign as they followed up a season-opening victory over West Virginia with a 62-0 slashing of Howard last Saturday. Yes, it was against an FCS opponent but the Terps offense looked as explosive as it could possibly can. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa went 22-27 through the air for 227 yards and three touchdowns with Dontay Demus Jr. and Rakim Jarrett serving as his primary targets. The Maryland defense accounted for five TFLs, two sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception on the day.

Illinois (1-2, 1-0 Big Ten) quickly came crashing back down to earth after their Week 1 victory over Nebraska, getting upset by UTSA before suffering a 42-14 beating at Virginia last Saturday. The Illini defense was torched for 405 yards and five touchdowns by UVA QB Brennan Armstrong and couldn’t get form of pressure. Illinois signal-caller Arthur Sitkowski completed just over 50% of his passes in his second start, generating only 221 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.

Here’s all the data you’ll want, and a pick for the game!

SP+ Rankings

Maryland: 25th overall, 38th offense, 25th defense
Illinois: 84th overall, 78th offense, 87th defense

Injury update

Maryland

LB Fa’Najae Gotay is out after surgery

Illinois

WR Marquez Beason is questionable with a hamstring
QB Brandon Peters is questionable with a shoulder
DB Tailon Leitzsey is questionable with an undisclosed injury
DL Keith Randolph Jr. is questionable with a leg injury
RB Mike Epstein is questionable with an undisclosed injury

ATS/Total

Against The Spread

Maryland: 2-3 ATS (2020)
Illinois: 3-5 ATS (2020)

Total

Maryland: Over 1-4 (2020)
Illinois: Over 4-4 (2020)

Returning/Overall Talent from 247Sports

Maryland: 50th overall, 65th offense, 25th defense
Illinois: 63rd overall, 60th offense, 63rd defense

Current lines at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Maryland -7
Total: 61.5
Moneyline: Maryland -300, Illinois +235

Opening line: Maryland -7.5
Opening total: 58.5

Weather

64 degrees, 4 MPH wind NW, 10% chance of rain

The Pick

Maryland -7

If Brennan Armstrong was able to light up the Illini last week, then Taulia Tagovailoa and the insanely talented Maryland receiver group should put up similar numbers on the road. The Terps should roll and cover easily as Illinois won’t have any answers to counter them.

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