This matchup isn’t as important as it could be, but it could still bring some excitement as long as Michigan continues its strong play. Ohio State is already in the Big Ten title game, though it needs to win to solidify its spot in the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes opened as -9 point road favorites with an over/under of 51.5.
This was looking like another probable blowout a month ago, but Michigan has come around, winning its last four games and covering its last five. Since the second half of the Penn State loss, something has changed with the Wolverines, blowing past Notre Dame and dominating Indiana almost as much as OSU did earlier in the season.
Ohio State wasn’t overly dominant at home against Penn State last week, though it controlled the majority of the contest and the score was close because of OSU’s three lost fumbles.
Jim Harbaugh has never won this matchup and the Wolverines completely fell apart last year as a road favorite, losing 62-39. That was supposed to be their time, but now they could do the same against the Bucks and damage their shot at the CFP.
Both sides of the ball should be fun because Michigan’s offense has finally figured things out, scoring at least 38 points in each of its last four games. Sure, it hasn’t seen a defense quite like OSU’s, but quarterback Shea Patterson has put together back-to-back gems, throwing for nine touchdowns and more than 700 yards in the last two games.
The ground game is a bit unknown as it’s averaging 4.0 yards per carry and that could be a problem in this matchup, whether it’s Zach Charbonnet, Hassan Haskins or Tru Wilson getting carries.
The Buckeyes haven’t played an elite offense, but they’ve handled pretty much every opponent, Wisconsin and PSU included. The Nittany Lions mainly scored last week because of turnovers as they averaged 4.6 yards per pass and 2.8 yards per carry. The Bucks are allowing 217.4 yards and 10.5 points per game, which are tops in the country.
Michigan’s defense is also playing well, allowing 267 yards per game and no more than 14 points in each of the last four games. But while beating up on Notre Dame and Michigan State is nice, Ohio State is at another level.
The big question is the status of Justin Fields, but he appears ready to go after injuring his ankle late against PSU. He’s torched every opponent, averaging 9.3 yards per attempt for 33 touchdowns and one interceptions but also rushing for 445 yards and 10 more touchdowns.
Then you throw in running back J.K. Dobbins, who had 36 carries for 157 yards and two TDs last week and there’s a reason they’re running over opponents.
Given OSU’s success in this matchup and how dominant it has been this season, it would be a surprise if this was the game Michigan finally won. The Wolverines are playing well, but this matchup is completely different and they may not be able to ride home-field advantage to an upset.
Ohio State is 9-1 ATS in its last 10 against a team with a winning record and the under has hit in the last four of those. Michigan has covered its last four home games and its last four against a team with a winning record. The over is 6-0 in the last six meetings between these schools and the underdog is 5-1 ATS in the last six.
Our Pick – Michigan +9.5