College Football Pick
Both of those teams almost got caught looking ahead last weekend, Ohio State scraping past Michigan State and Michigan beating Indiana by just 10. But now the fun begins and there’s a lot on the table. The Buckeyes are -6.5 point home favorites early in the week at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
With a win here, it’s expected Ohio State would make the College Football Playoff even if they didn’t reach the Big Ten title Game. To do that, the Buckeyes would need Penn State to lose this weekend. Either way, it’s looking like a win would get them where they want to go.
As for Michigan, it’s pretty simple. The Wolverines have to win out to make the playoff, with a win over OSU meaning they’d need to win the Conference title Game, as well. It’s funny how that works but without a win, all is likely lost for Jim Harbaugh’s team.
In Harbaugh’s first meeting with the Buckeyes, it wasn’t a contest. They were handled on both sides of the ball as Ohio State ran for 369 yards and Michigan could only muster 57 on the ground. That led to a 42-13 stomping in Ann Arbor.
Now in Columbus, the Wolverines would like to return the favor, but it’ll be far from easy. The first problem has brewed up over the last two weeks. While Michigan is averaging 42 points per Game, they’ve scored just 34 total in the last two. against any relevant defense, they’ve struggled and that will likely be the case again.
Houston transfer John O’Korn got his first start of the season against Indiana and it didn’t go great. He went just 7-of-16 for 59 yards in a cold and windy Game. While whether was an issue, this offense has to be worried, especially on the road. The Wolverines will use the ground Game as much as possible, but this is a much harder test than Indiana. De’Veon Smith ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns against the Hoosiers.
While the Buckeyes couldn’t stop Michigan State’s running Game, this one may be a little different in a must-win scenario against their main rivals at home. So if Michigan can’t score, it will come down to J.T. Barrett on the other side of the field.
He did whatever he wanted in last year’s matchup, but it’s hard to see things being so easy again. Barrett and the Bucks offense struggled against the Spartans last weekend and passing the ball has continually been a problem this year despite 24 TDs and 4 INTs. Just like last week, they’ll run the ball as much as possible between Barrett, Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel.
With both teams likely leaning on the ground Game, this one isn’t expected to have many points. And surprisingly, this one is at noon Eastern Time, so playing under the lights won’t be a factor. But with Barrett at QB, it’s hard to see Ohio State losing this Game at home.
The Wolverines are 1-4 ATS in their last five overall and the Buckeyes are 5-2 ATS in their last seven home Games. There are a lot of over trends for these teams, including going 4-1 in the last five meetings between them. Ohio State is 7-2 ATS in the last nine matchups.
Our Pick – Can Michigan win this Game straight up? Absolutely! In fact, we have this Game dead even so we’ll gladly take the +6.5 in a spot where an outright Michigan win shouldn’t shock anyone. Michigan +6.5