Ohio State vs. Michigan Betting Odds
This game is filled with storylines:
- The winner wins the Big Ten East
- The winner plays in the Big Ten Championship game
- The loser is likely eliminated from College Football Playoff contention
- Jim Harbaugh has never beaten Ohio State
- Ryan Day and Harbaugh hate each other
So, this game is going to be emotional, hard-fought, and likely very exciting.
The only issue: Ohio State is laying over a touchdown. Vegas doesn’t think Michigan has a chance, with the Wolverines sitting at +250 on the ML.
However, this is also the lowest number Ohio State has laid all season. So, maybe the Wolverines can pull this off.
Ohio State Buckeyes Odds
Ohio State is the best offense in the nation.
CJ Stroud powers an offense that is:
- Second in Offensive Success Rate
- Second in Passing Success Rate
- Third in Explosiveness
- Third in Finishing Drives
- First in points per game (47.2)
Meanwhile, his offensive line is top-15 in Line Yards and third in Pass Blocking. Plus, they’ve helped Stroud and the backfield keep clean by ranking third in preventing Havoc.
There’s almost no way to stop this passing attack. Stroud grades out as PFF’s fourth-best quarterback, and he has three receivers that grade out in PFF’s top-35. Jaxson Smith-Njigba, Garrett Wilson, and Chris Olave have all caught over 55 passes while averaging over 15 yards per reception and combining for 30 touchdowns.
Meanwhile, TreVeyon Henderson is a 1000 yard back while averaging over seven yards per carry and adding 14 scores on the ground.
The defense isn’t quite as dominant, but the Buckeyes are strong on the defensive line, where they rank seventh in Line Yards.
Michigan Wolverines Odds
Michigan is an excellent offense in its own right. But the Wolverines go about it in a different way.
Harbaugh attacks defenses with a duo of dominant backs in Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum. The two have combined for over 1800 yards this season at over five yards per carry. The offense as a whole rushes for over 200 yards per game.
As a result, Michigan dominates on early downs. The Wolverines are sixth in the country in average yards to go on 3rd down, so they never get behind the sticks.
Cade McNamara isn’t Chad Henne, but he’s been consistent when called upon. Michigan rushes over 60% of the time, but McNamara has completed over 64% of his passes for almost nine adjusted yards per attempt. Plus his 14:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio means he takes care of the ball.
But in the end, it’s imperative that Michigan continues to move the ball down the field consistently. McNamara is not capable of carrying the Wolverine offense against Ohio State.
But the strong point of this team is the defense. It ranks among the top-25 nationally in essentially every major statistic, and it ranks top-10 nationally in both PFF’s tackling and coverage grades.
The focal point for the Michigan defense in this game will be the pass rush, which ranks third in the nation. Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo are two of the best edge rushers in college football, and it’s imperative they out-duel the Buckeye tackles and get some pressure on stroud.
Prediction and Pick
My pick: Michigan +8.5 (-110 at FanDuel)
I don’t think Michigan will win this game. But spotting them 8.5 points after the lookahead line last week was only 4.5 is a total overreaction.
Michigan can do a lot of things to move the ball on this Ohio State defense. The way you beat Michigan is by forcing them into passing downs and getting off the field on third down. Well, Ohio State ranks just 92nd in defensive third-down conversion rate, so Michigan should be able to move the chains.
Moreover, I don’t expect Stroud to struggle too much, but the duo of Hutchinson and Ojabo should contain him so Michigan’s rush game keeps this within the number.
I’d play Michigan at any number than a touchdown.