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Connecticut is in a world of hurt right now, losing its first two games and failing to cover in each of them. The Huskies lost to lowly Towson in their first game and then to Maryland, who they actually beat on the road last season. Now, they get to face Michigan who is 3-0, but coming off an embarrassing performance against Akron. Many are projecting the Wolverines to rebound from last weekend. They are currently -17.5 point favorites at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
No surprise when we check the betting trends at sportsbook.com. 95% of the action so far on this game has come in on the Wolverines. You can view the percentages of every game on the board by signing up for an account at sportsbook.com and we highly recommend it. It's a fantastic betting tool for both the NFL and college football.
Right now, there's not much going in UConn's favor and one has to wonder where its first win will come from. As we've seen in the Huskies first two games, their home field advantage is almost non-existent. Chandler Whitmer doesn't look much better at quarterback than last year and still has a problem throwing interceptions with three in the first two games. Lyle McCombs is back at running back for the third straight season and it's a wonder if he can ever reach his freshman numbers again. He's averaging 3.6 yards per carry for only 129 yards in the first two games. Holy Cross had more rushing yards than Connecticut did against Towson. WR Shakim Phillips is the only one that looks any better on the offensive end as he has 255 yards and three touchdowns already. That's three of UConn's four TDs.
Even though Michigan's defense hasn't looked overly great, Connecticut will have trouble reaching 20 points in this game. As said, their 28-24 win over Akron may be a bit of a mirage, especially after they beat Notre Dame in the previous week by scoring 41 points on them.
The Huskies have given up more than 30 points in their first two games and now face one of the most dynamic offenses in the country that is all about big play potential. Quarterback Devin Gardner has already thrown three interceptions for the Wolverines, which is going to cost him in bigger games, but he makes up for it in other areas. Much like Denard Robinson a year ago, Gardner is set to be Michigan's leading rusher already with 237 yards and four touchdowns. He is a better passer than Robinson was though, which shows in his 704 passing yards and seven TDs. If UConn was to mark one guy, it would have to be Jeremy Gallon who gets looked at constantly, already with 18 grabs, 297 yards and four TDs.
The Wolverines are typically not a great road team, with just a 7-18-1 ATS mark in their last 26 road games. However, they love to prey on the weak, covering in five straight against teams with a losing record. The Huskies are just 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven home games and 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 overall.
This will be the biggest home game ever played in Connecticut for the Huskies. Michigan being the highest profile team to ever come to town. As an example of this, I had a couple of nosebleed seats for this game, face value $40. I sold them for $100 apiece and that was less than I could have gotten if I wanted to be greedy. Meanwhile, tickets to other UCONN games are going for half the face value. They actually installed extra seats, just for this game.
In a spot like this, we always advise taking a look at the 1st quarter and 1st half lines. Simply because the sheer emotion on the Huskies side is likely to make them better than they are, if just for a quarter or a half. Eventually, talent and depth wins out in a matchup like this, but for a brief second, the emotion can carry a team and provide a glimmer of hope and excitement for the home fans.
Our model predicts a 38-21 Michigan win, right on the number. We'll recommend UCONN + for the 1st quarter and UCONN + for the 1st half based on emotion alone.
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