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Ohio State

vs.

Michigan

College Football

Pick

Betting Trends

11/30/13

So much for this being the most important game in the Big Ten this season. With the conference championship game already set, Ohio State is just looking to add to its undefeated season with another big win over an unranked team. The Buckeyes have already shot up to -14.5 point favorites on the road in Ann Arbor at betonline sportsbook.

Michigan has completely collapsed since starting the season 5-0 after what seemed like a big win over Notre Dame. Since then, their defense has taken a turn for the worse, and the offense suddenly stopped moving the ball after scoring 63 points against Indiana. The Wolverines now have a losing record in conference play and face a tall test against rival Ohio State.

As for the Buckeyes, there's been nothing surprising en route to an 11-0 record. They sit at No. 3 in the BCS poll mainly because of a weak schedule. Their only win over a ranked team this season came against Wisconsin back in September. The fact that they had trouble with Northwestern doesn't look good either, as the Wildcats have lost seven straight games. No matter, the Buckeyes still have a shot in the BCS National Championship game if they win out. Granted, they'll need help from somewhere else.

It's tough to say how Michigan will stay in this game. Their offense has completely fallen apart with quarterback Devin Gardner struggling to move the ball against anyone. Throw in a defunct rushing game, and the Wolverines could be in for a long day, much like in their 29-6 loss to Michigan State. While Gardner's interception problem is gone, he can no longer move the ball on the ground. With 61 rushes in the last four games, Gardner has negative rushing yards (including sacks). Before this stretch, he hit at least 50 rushing yards in six of the first seven games. Leading running back Fitzgerald Toussaint is beat up and may not even play OSU. It's not like it matters as Toussaint has 23 carries for 38 yards in his last three games. The lone bright spot in the offense is WR Jeremy Gallon, who has 1,109 yards and eight TDs.

The Buckeyes defense is still a question, giving up 24 points to Iowa and 35 to Illinois, so if Michigan can figure something out, there will be opportunities, although it's nothing to count on.

Offensively, Ohio State has been rolling as usual with Braxton Miller leading the way. He hasn't had to pass much lately, but has carved up 328 rushing yards and three TDs on the ground over the last two games. He's joined by RB Carlos Hyde, who's been even better with a ridiculous 363 yards and six TDs in the last two games, and 100 yards in six straight games. If needed, Miller should be able to pass on this defense to his favorite targets Philly Brown and Devin Smith.

Michigan's defense hasn't been all that bad, but now they'll get their toughest task of the season. Last year's game was a close 26-21 win for Ohio State. The Buckeyes didn't put a ton of points on the board, but they still came up with 396 total yards, which is a good sign for this year.

In this meeting, the Buckeyes have covered in six straight games and eight of the past nine. The Buckeyes are 10-3-1 ATS in their last 14 games overall. The Wolverines are 6-2 ATS in their last eight home games and 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a straight up loss.

A whopping 94% of the action as of Tuesday has come in on Ohio State according to the betting trends at sportsbook.com

It will be interesting to see what happens when Ohio State steps up in class in their bowl game because their Big 10 schedule is less than impressive. It's easy enough to make a case for Michigan here. Just look at the final scores when the Buckeyes played Northwestern and Iowa. Add in the fact that this is a chance to salvage their season, at home, in one of the biggest rivalries in all of sports and Michigan getting +16 points, with an offense that can put points on the board, looks attractive. Michigan +16
 

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