The Washington Times - October 13, 2008, 11:06AM

Last week, I was discussing the problems facing Maryland‘s football team entering the second half of the season.

There was the underperforming offensive line. An undersized defensive line. And a few others.


At which point, an acquaintance of mine piped up “You’re forgetting the most important line.”

A blank stare from me.

“The betting line,” he clarified.

And how.

(Before going any further, let me point out this is not an endorsement of any gambling activities, legal or otherwise. As someone friends would no doubt describe as “miserly,” betting on point spreads is not something I’m fond of doing. But others do, and this is simply for informational purposes only).

Maryland’s schizophrenic nature must make them one of Vegas’ least favorite teams. The sports books usually do an uncanny job in the long-term, but a team that swings from one extreme to another must be pretty frustrating for the folks out there.

So here’s a glance at how poorly Vegas has forecast the Terps this season. These spreads were culled from several sites, and might not even be the final lines for some of the games. But for the purposes of this exercise, they’re close enough, since the final margin was within single digits of the betting line just once.

* Maryland (-17) vs. Delaware. Terps win by seven.

* Maryland (-13 1/2) at Middle Tennesse. Terps lose by 10 and score only 14 points

* Maryland (+14) vs. California. Terps win by eight

* Maryland (-21) vs. Eastern Michigan. Terps win by 27. Victory for Vegas!

* Maryland (+11) at Clemson. Terps win by 3

* Maryland (-13 1/2) at Virginia. Terps lose by 31.

That would be a 1-5 record for Vegas.

One of the sites I stumbled upon mentioned Maryland was 2-6 in its previous eight against the spread entering the California game. That obviously hasn’t improved very much.

Wake Forest, by the way, is only a 1 1/2-point favorite entering Saturday’s game.

So if Maryland finds a way to win, it will simultaneously muck up the third line —- again.

—- Patrick Stevens