After starting the season 2-0, #2 Michigan will host a Bowling Green squad looking for a big win this Saturday (9/16/23). Get Michigan vs. Bowling Green odds and predictions as our best bet is under 53.5 points.
Bowling Green vs. Michigan Prediction & Best Bet
Through two games, Michigan is still undefeated as expected, but their wins haven’t been quite as dominating as they possibly could have been while missing head coach Jim Harbaugh, who has been suspended for a handful of NCAA rules violations surrounding recruiting practices. After Jesse Minter took the reins against East Carolina for a 30-3 win, the duties were split between Jay Harbaugh and Mike Hart against UNLV, which ended in a 35-7 victory. Against Bowling Green, Sherrone Moore is up, possibly the best head coaching prospect in the group of interims
Harbaugh is well known for running up the score whenever possible, and his assistants haven’t done so. In the final game of the polarizing head coach’s suspension, we’ll see if Moore is able to do so, or if he even tries; the Wolverines have seemed to take their foot off of the gas pedal later in these first couple of games. They should be able to pick up another comfortable win against a Bowling Green team that has lost to Liberty, and beaten FCS Eastern Illinois. The Falcons had a solid 2022, making it to the bowl due in large part to a defense that ranked 63rd in PFF’s rankings, definitely above the standard as compared to their MAC competition.
Bowling Green brings back much of the same personnel as from a season ago, so it’s not hard to imagine defense being a strength once again, although a couple of star players have headed off to bigger programs and the NFL. Even so, Michigan’s offense hasn’t exactly been ripping off touchdown drives like they’re nothing; their scoring totals in the first couple of games haven’t been close to the early-season games last year, or even some of their more dominant Big Ten victories. It’s hard to imagine that trend turning around until Harbaugh returns, even with a coach as promising as Moore.
The team won’t care if it’s an emphatic win or not, all they need to do is keep winning games and not get truly tested and they’ll keep their #2 spot in the rankings all season long, but it’s impossible to back Michigan on a nearly 40-point spread. The other side of the coin is that while the Michigan offense hasn’t looked as dominant as it has in the past, the defense is as bone-crushing as ever; they should have no issue shutting down Bowling Green, so I love the under in this one.
Bowling Green vs. Michigan Prediction & Best Bet: Under 53.5
Bowling Green vs. Michigan Betting Odds
Michigan is favored by 39.5 points, with -115 odds to cover compared to -105 for Bowling Green. For a total of 53.5 points, the over and under are both set at -110.
Bowling Green vs. Michigan Key Matchups
For Michigan, re-establishing their rushing attack as the nation’s best will be key as they look ahead to their Big Ten schedule. On the other side of the ball, Bowling Green will need to have success through the air to stay in this one, so let’s take a look at how the sides match up.
Michigan Rushing Attack vs. Bowling Green Run Defense
At the heart of Michigan’s run game is their star running back duo, Heisman candidate Blake Corum, who rushed for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns last year despite missing time, and Donovan Edwards, who racked up nearly 1,000 yards of his own, including an iconic 216 yard performance on the road at Ohio State. Encouragingly, Corum looks like he’s back to his best after an ACL injury last year.
The star duo runs behind one of the most talented offensive lines in the game, anchored by returning interior linemen Zak Zinter and Trevor Keegan. A few new pieces have had some difficulties adjusting, but with the coaching staff intact soon, this should be one of the best groups in the country again this year.
Bowling Green’s run defense lost some key pieces, such as star edge player Karl Brooks, who is now a Green Bay Packer, but there’s plenty of remaining talent on the roster. Interior lineman Dontrez Brown has continued his solid play from last year and is the definitive centerpiece and leader of the unit. Demetrius Hardamon has done a decent job stepping up on the edge as he attempts to fill Brooks’s shoes, while Darren Anders and Joseph Sipp Jr. are developing into a nice linebacker duo. Michigan’s personnel is more talented, but this is a capable group that will need to put in its best effort yet to keep their team in the game.
Bowling Green Air Offense vs. Michigan Secondary
It’s going to be hard to consistently grind away and pick up yardage on the ground against Michigan’s dominant front seven, so Bowling Green will need some big plays through the air. With Matt McDonald gone after a solid last season, Indiana transfer Connor Bazelak is at the helm. He had an awful team debut against Liberty but dominated against EIU with 23 completions on 28 attempts, en route to 319 yards and 3 touchdowns. He’s inherited McDonald’s top target Odieu Hiliare, who caught 58 passes for 747 yards and 6 touchdowns last season.
They’ll be going to work against a truly elite Michigan secondary. Will Johnson is a bit banged up but should be one of the best cornerbacks in the country after a fantastic freshman season. The unit’s leader to start the year has been converted wideout Mike Sainristil, who is building on a great end to last year. The unit is a bit banged up and could be vulnerable, but should be an area of strength going forward.