Unfortunately for this matchup, one of these teams is not very good this year. Fortunately, it was the same case last year and the Game came down to a Game-ending two-point conversion. The Buckeyes are a large -21 point favorite in Columbus for this one.
These teams hate each other, that’s for certain. But with the way Michigan has looked this year, that may not stop this from being a blowout. If the Wolverines lose, they’ll finish with five wins and won’t get a bowl Game. Losing home Games to teams like Maryland will do that for you. They actually have a decent defense, but the offense is only scoring 20.3 points per Game.
Ohio State has the Big Ten East locked up, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to overlook this Game. Not only do these teams hate each other, but Ohio State has a slim shot of reaching the College Football Playoff. since winning at Michigan State at the beginning of the month, the Buckeyes haven’t looked all that great, but have won in non-covering efforts.
The last few Games between these teams have been close, but Ohio State has owned this matchup as of late, covering six of the last seven Games. Michigan will need to play their best Game of the season to even have a shot here.
The Michigan offense is dreadful and a lot of that has to do with Devin Gardner being an incompetent quarterback. He has just eight touchdowns and 14 interceptions on the year, while not being a factor on the ground. Once defenses figured out that all you have to do is stop leading WR Devin Funchess in the passing Game, it’s been downhill for the Wolverines. Their running Game hasn’t been terrible at least and if there’s one area to beat the Buckeyes, it may be on the ground. De’Veon Smith (4.9 YPC) and Drake Johnson (6.4 YPC) will split that task with Derrick Green still out.
Ohio State’s defense hasn’t been that great this year and has allowed at least 24 points in three straight Games. Of course, Michigan has only reached 24 points in two Conference Games this year.
The difference for Ohio State, is that they can Scoreon anyone. The Buckeyes put 49 points on Michigan State in East LAnsing. J.T. Barrett has taken the starting role in stride and torched defenses. Michigan has its hands full on the road.
Barrett has been an upgrade in the passing Game for OSU this season, while also keeping the running QB dynamic for this team. Barrett is completing close to 65% of his passes for 33 TDs and 10 INTs, while also rushing for 849 yards and nine touchdowns. Throw in running back Ezekiel Elliott (1,061 yards, 8 TDs) and not many are going to stop this offense.
Michigan’s defense isn’t bad, but to actually stay in this Game, the defense will need to keep Barrett in check, which no one has been able to do for a while.
The Wolverines are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 overall and 7-18-1 ATS in their last 26 road Games. The Buckeyes have covered in Four of their last five home Games, but are 2-5 ATS in their last seven off an ATS loss. Once again, in this matchup, the Buckeyes are 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings.
If you took +21 with either of these teams over the history of this series, you’d have yourself a bunch of covers. Heck, if you took +21 with Michigan this year in all of their Games you would have covered all but 2 Games. You can see where we’re going with this one. In rivalry Games like this, you can throw out the records. There isn’t an outcome that would surprise us in this win, including a Michigan win. Not likely, but wouldn’t really be a shock.
There may be some added value by backing Michigan in the 1st quarter and 1st half when the emotions will be at their highest. Talent will generally win out over the length of an entire football Game, but early on, anything can happen. We’ll make 3 recommendations here. Michigan + for the 1st Quarter, Michigan + for the 1st half and Michigan +21