The biggest Game of the Big Ten season is here and while it’s not exactly the situation everyone expected, everything is still on the line for these two teams. Michigan is headed to the College Football Playoff if it can win this and the ensuing Big Ten title Game, while it’s a little murkier for Ohio State, who hasn’t played well. That’s why the Wolverines were -4 point road favorites with an over/under of 58 as of Monday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
While Michigan has run through the conference, it’s been a little different for Ohio State after it was gashed by Purdue about a month ago. since, the Buckeyes have struggled to get past teams like Nebraska and needed overtime against Maryland last weekend. The spread is small, but this one looks headed to a similar result as last year except with Michigan on the winning side. The Bucks won last matchup 31-20 via a ground Game that went for 226 yards and a second-half showing by Dwayne Haskins after J.T. Barrett was injured. The Wolverines played well enough to win, but John O’Korn simply wasn’t enough at quarterback.
That’s the main difference for Michigan this year with Shea Patterson at quarterback and while he isn’t posting huge numbers, still has a solid 8.54 yards per attempt with 18 touchdowns and only Four interceptions. Throw in a stout rushing attack led by Karan Higdon (1,106 yards, 10 TDs) and that’s all this team needs to go with one of the best defensives in the country. All signs point to Michigan scoring on this OSU defense that just gave up 51 points to Maryland. The Bucks haven’t been good, allowing 4.5 yards per carry and 400 yards per Game. When pushed into action, Patterson has stepped up as he can also pick up yards with his legs and that could be another problem for the home team.
An equally relevant question for Ohio State comes on the other side of the field where Michigan is best in the country, allowing only 235 yards and 13.5 points per Game. The Buckeyes have won the last few matchups due to a superb ground Game, but that hasn’t been the case in 2018 even though J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber have had decent seasons. They are averaging a mediocre 4.4 yards per carry and haven’t been able to move the ball against better defenses. Haskins has awesome numbers with 36 touchdowns, yet if the ground Game doesn’t work, that may not be enough in this matchup against a Wolverines team allowing 123.2 passing yards per contest.
Everything points to Michigan this time around, yet playing in Columbus against a quarterback that has posted huge numbers, it’s not a guarantee. The Wolverines are 1-5 ATS in their last six road Games but have covered in their last Four against a team with a winning record. The Buckeyes are 1-6 ATS in their last seven Games and 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings between these schools (the over has hit in all five).
Our Pick – Michigan -3.5