Pick – Analysis
Michigan returns to action after having to dwell an extra week on one of the worst losses in college football history. They’ll travel to a Minnesota team that has struggled to get any kind of consistent offense going this season. Because of that, the Wolverines are a -13.5 point road favorite at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
The Gophers actually dominated this matchup last year in a 30-14 win as a 10-point underdog, but this is a completely different Michigan team. Still, the line does seem a bit heavy for the road team.
Part of that is likely because the Golden Gophers are coming off a terrible 48-25 home loss to Nebraska in a pick ‘em Game. Minnesota started the season off with a close Game against TCU, but haven’t really played good football since, winning their next three non-Conference Games by only three points apiece, while struggling against decent Big Ten teams.
Michigan was looking like one of the best teams in the nation and then lost a heartbreaker to Michigan State. But even with that lost, the Wolverines still have a favorable remaining Schedule and should give some fight to Ohio State in the season finale.
The problem here for Minnesota is obvious. Michigan’s defense is one of the best in the Big Ten and even country, despite the loss to MSU. Before that, the Wolverines had three-straight shutouts against better offenses than Minnesota’s.
The Gophers aren’t getting consistent quarterback play and there’s no reason to think Mitch Leidner will have success against this secondary. He threw for 301 yards against Nebraska, but still tossed a couple picks. They’ll try and run the ball, although leading running back Rodney Smith hasn’t been able to do much in Big Ten play, having not surpassed 52 yards or even scored a TD in the past three Games. That probably won’t change against Michigan.
The one way for Minnesota to cover is if the defense can play to last year’s levels. Michigan doesn’t have a great offense, but with the way the Gophers have looked, giving up 48 points to Nebraska and 27 to Northwestern, the Minny defense isn’t exactly a strong suit. A 41-13 road win at Purdue is something to look at, though, as Jerry Kill picked his team up after a bad loss.
Michigan will run the ball as much as possible behind De’Veon Smith, who has 436 yards and Four TDs on the year. This offense won’t overwhelm anyone, but with a dominant defense, they have been able to wear down team’s defenses with a continually pounding on the ground. Jake Rudock’s goal is to not turn it over, and if he does that, the Wolverines should be in line for a cover. However, how much longer can he go without throwing a passing TD or throwing for more than 200 yards? Rudock’s incompetency may hold this team back against better teams, but Minnesota isn’t one of those better teams.
Despite last year’s Game, the Wolverines are 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings, while the over has hit Four straight times. The Wolverines are 5-0 ATS following a straight-up loss, while the Gophers have covered in Four straight after a bye week. However, Minnesota is also 0-4 ATS against teams with a winning record.
Our Pick – Michigans defensive yards per point number of 22.6 is good for 3rd in the nation. Minnesota’s ofensive ypp number of 17.2 is good for 113th in the country. That translates into a long day for the Gopher offense and Our model agrees, predicting a 25-8 Michigan win when using full season data and a 34-7 final when only using the last 4 Games.
Only one way for us to look here. Michigan -13.5