This week’s game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines is a play-in game for the Big Ten Championship Game and will have College Football Playoff implications. While this rivalry runs deep, the Buckeyes have dominated lately, winning eight in a row and 15 of 16 against Michigan. Ohio State is also an eight-point road favorite this week, with the over/under set at 64.5 points.
The Buckeyes have never looked better than they did last week. In what should have been a challenging game against Michigan State, the Buckeyes turned into a 56-7 blowout. Ohio State surely passes the eye test as a national championship contender, but a second loss will take them out of the running for the CFP.
Meanwhile, the Wolverines let a game against Michigan State slip away from them in Michigan’s only loss of the season. They’ve had to endure a few close games but also looked outstanding last week with a lopsided win over Maryland. Heading into the final weekend, the Wolverines know that if they keep winning, they’ll be in the CFP.
Run and Fight
The Michigan defense has been the team’s biggest strength this season. The Wolverines rank top-10 nationally in defensive scoring, allowing just 16.3 points per game. Only two teams have gone over 18 points against Michigan this season, as the Wolverines have been dominant, especially at the line of scrimmage.
The same thing is true for Michigan on the other side of the ball, as the Wolverines are rushing for nearly 220 yards per game. Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum have combined for 23 rushing touchdowns while helping the Wolverines gain over five yards per carry. The only question is whether quarterback Cade McNamara can be more than a game manager if the Wolverines are in a position where they need to throw the ball to win.
Fun and Gun
After scoring 56 points against Michigan State, it’s fair to question whether any defense can slow down the Buckeyes. C.J. Stroud has become a Heisman contender late in the season, in part because the receiving trio of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Garrett Wilson, and Chris Olave is nearly impossible to contain for 60 minutes. Ohio State also has a 1,000-yard rusher in TreVeyon Henderson, so opposing teams can’t just focus on the passing game.
The Buckeyes also have difference-makers on the defensive side of the ball, especially at the line of scrimmage. Few teams have been able to run the ball against the Ohio State defense with any kind of success this year. But when the pass rush doesn’t get there, the Buckeyes have been vulnerable against good passing teams, giving up over 30 points on three occasions this year.
Despite Ohio State’s offensive prowess, facing the Michigan defense will be their toughest test of the season. If the Wolverines can hold Ohio State to a reasonable total, they won’t have to abandon the running game and get away from their biggest offensive strength. While an upset seems unlikely, bet on Michigan to keep this game close and beat the eight-point spread.
100% up to $3,000 Bonus
Bovada is our most recommended ONLINE CASINO and POKER ROOM for US players with excellent deposit options. Get your 100% signup bonus today.