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Coach Mike Locksley and the Maryland Terrapins aim to continue a red-hot start on Friday evening. Maryland hits the road for the first time, and Friday's tilt also represents the team's Big Ten opener against the Illinois Fighting Illini. The Terrapins are 2-0 this season, and they have been stellar in non-conference play. Illinois stumbled a bit out of the gate, to the tune of a 1-2 record, though the Illini are 1-0 in Big Ten competition.

Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET. Caesars Sportsbook lists the Terrapins as seven-point favorites in the latest Maryland vs. Illinois odds. The total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, or the over-under, is 61.5, up three points from the opening line. Before finalizing any Illinois vs. Maryland picks or college football predictions, make sure to check out the college football predictions and analysis from the SportsLine Projection Model

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past five-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of over $3,500 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It also enters Week 3 of the 2021 season on a 67-50 run on all top-rated college football picks. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Maryland vs. Illinois and just released its picks and predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see its picks. Now, here are several college football odds and betting trends for Illinois vs. Maryland: 

  • Maryland vs. Illinois spread: Maryland -7
  • Maryland vs. Illinois over-under: 61.5 points 
  • Maryland vs. Illinois money line: Maryland -300, Illinois +240
  • MAR: The Terrapins are 4-3 against the spread in the last seven games 
  • ILL: The Fighting Illini are 4-7 against the spread in the last 11 games
Featured Game | Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Maryland Terrapins

Why Maryland can cover

Significant attention should be paid to Maryland's offense, with the Terrapins averaging more than 530 yards and 46 points per game in the early going. While that attention is warranted, the Terrapins have also been very strong defensively. Opponents are averaging only 12 points per game through two contests, and that is backed up by Maryland ranking second in the Big Ten in allowing only 235.5 total yards per game. 

The Terrapins are giving up only 5.0 yards per pass attempt this season, with three interceptions compared to only one touchdown pass allowed. Maryland is also allowing fewer than 180 passing yards per game and, against the run, the Terrapins are stonewalling opponents to the tune of 57 rushing yards allowed per game. That includes 2.8 yards per carry allowed, and that is wildly encouraging for Maryland after an uneven defensive showing in 2020.

Why Illinois can cover

Statistically, Illinois appears wobbly when compared to the gaudy numbers of Maryland this season. With that said, the Terrapins have faced one of the nation's easiest schedules, and this is the first true test for Maryland. In fact, the Terrapins have not played on the road at all and, with a prime-time atmosphere in Champaign, it should be a raucous environment. Illinois can draw from the experience of facing much more difficult competition, and the Illini could receive the return of starting quarterback Brandon Peters, who has been absent since the early moments against Nebraska with a shoulder injury. 

Freshman wide receiver Isaiah Williams is also experiencing a breakout, generating 19 catches and producing more than 60 yards per game in the early going. Even if Peters doesn't return, Artur Sitkowski has six touchdown passes and no interceptions this season, and Illinois is converting a healthy 41.7 percent of its third-down opportunities on the offensive side.

How to make Maryland vs. Illinois picks

SportsLine's model is leaning under on the point total, with the teams projected to combine for 53 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits in 60 percent of simulations. You can only get the model's Illinois vs. Maryland pick at SportsLine.

So who wins Maryland vs. Illinois? And which side of the spread hits in 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Maryland vs. Illinois spread you need to jump on Friday, all from the model that has crushed its college football picks, and find out.