College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Ohio State vs. Michigan: Where Does Value Lie in Big Ten Duel?
Gregory Shamus and Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured from left: Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) and Michigan Wolverines linebacker David Ojabo (55).
- Ohio State and Michigan face off with high stakes, as the winner advances to the Big Ten Championship game and has a shot at the CFP.
- The Buckeyes have won eight straight games vs. the Wolverines.
- Collin Wilson breaks it all down and tells you who he's betting on.
Ohio State vs. Michigan Odds
|Ohio State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Jim Harbaugh has yet to beat Ohio State during his tenure at Michigan. The head coach stated that Saturday in the Big House was the start of the playoffs.
The Wolverines head coach was mum on the return of two key players in running back Blake Corum and cornerback Gemon Green, both of whom dressed for Maryland but did not play. Corum had no issues with his high ankle sprain in donating turkeys with the money from his NIL deal.
Ryan Day is also in preparations for Michigan after coming off of the biggest blowout of the season, a 56-7 depantsing of a Michigan State team that was ranked seventh in the College Football Playoff rankings.
With the wide receiver unit at full health, quarterback CJ Stroud has taken over pole position for the Heisman Trophy at most shops.
Day was most proud of the defense, ending Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III’s Heisman run by allowing just 25 yards on six carries. Ohio State’s ability to stop the run will be the key factor in deciding the 117th meeting between the two schools.
These two programs try to take the high road in pregame comments each season, but the COVID-19 2020 season brought out the headlines. With dates being switched because of the pandemic, Harbaugh lobbied accusations, while an unconfirmed comment from Day stated, “We’re gonna hang 100 on them.”
These coaches do not like each other, indicating there will be scoring by both sides until the final buzzer.
The Buckeyes are the No. 1 team in SP+ offense, dominating Michigan State and Purdue over the past two weeks by scoring 115 points.
In the quest to top a season of offensive perfection by the 2020 Alabama team, Ohio State ranks ninth in Momentum Killer Rate. That statistics grades everything that can stop an offensive drive from resulting in points. The one statistic holding the Buckeyes back is 10-plus yard penalties with 16 on the season. This was also an issue for the Ohio State offense that made a run to the National Championship last season.
One element not missing from this offense is the explosive play.
There it is. 🙌@chrisolave_ just broke David Boston's school receiving TD record (35) , and No. 4 @OhioStateFB is rolling. pic.twitter.com/9aIwYdxrBH
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) November 20, 2021
Ohio State is top-five in numerous categories because of the skill position players, from Passing Success Rate to big-play percentage and Offensive Finishing Drives.
The explosiveness of the roster has resulted in the top overall special teams unit in the nation.
Michigan has been burned in recent rivalry games by different defensive coordinators running man-to-man coverage. The coverage of Ohio State’s skill positions is the biggest handicap of the game.
The Buckeyes defense has been a work in progress for most of the season, but changes and effort have started to bear fruit. The defense stuffed half of Michigan State’s rush attempts and limited the Spartans’ passing game to just two receptions over 20 yards.
Those numbers were a mass improvement after Purdue scored 31 points by doubling the national average in explosive and methodical drive rate.
Despite shutting down the Spartans, Ohio State has a poor rank in stopping the explosive play. The Buckeyes are 94th defensively in standard downs explosiveness and 60th in pass coverage.
While shutting down the Michigan passing attack may be a simpler task than previous opponents, the Buckeyes are 69th in Defensive Stuff Rate. Stopping the Wolverines from dominating the trenches is crucial to an Ohio State victory.
Harbaugh continues to ransack opponents with an elite Defensive Success Rate and an offensive ground-based attack that is the best in the nation in Havoc Allowed.
Michigan runs the ball 60% of the time out of the 11 and 12 formations with an additional tight end for 50 plays in 13 personnel this season.
The goal is always the same: Plow holes for Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum.
😱 Hurdlin' Hassan Haskins! 😱@H2_3125 // @UMichFootballpic.twitter.com/aOSc10W2ok
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 10, 2021
Both Haskins and Corum have generated 91 missed tackles this season and 60-yard explosive runs.
The Michigan offense does whatever is needed to stay in standard downs and continue to pound the ball, as the Wolverines average 5.4 yards on the ground.
Michigan is sixth in the nation in average yards to go on third down at 6.1 yards, making Ohio State’s ability to push the Wolverines into passing downs the most important element. Ohio State is 92nd on defense in opponent third-down conversion rate, indicating that the Wolverines will have success moving the chains.
Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald will coach his first-ever game in this rivalry and is aware that the Michigan secondary has been torched by Day’s team in previous seasons.
The 4-3 scheme has been downsized by Macdonald in favor of the 3-3-5, particularly on third down. The blitz rate of 44% from a year ago has also been trimmed to just 28% this season, indicating the Wolverines may look to defend Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud in coverage more than by applying pressure.
Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo are the only firepower needed against the Buckeyes’ offensive line.
Aidan Hutchinson receives a lot of the notoriety (rightfully so), but #Michigan EDGE/OLB hybrid David Ojabo (6050, 250, rSO) has really hit his stride over the past four games (6.0 sacks, 2 FFs) for the Wolverines defense. pic.twitter.com/FNSxLKXEBI
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) November 3, 2021
Ohio State has given up just 13 sacks the entire season, but guard Paris Johnson Jr. and tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere may be the targets. The offensive linemen for the Buckeyes have allowed a combined 31 pressures on the season.
The biggest job for the Michigan defense is defending the middle of the field, an area that Maryland relentlessly attacked in Week 12.
Both Vincent Gray and DJ Turner rank in the top 100 of all cornerbacks in FBS football, per PFF, putting this game squarely on defending the air attack between the hash marks.
Safety Brad Hawkins is the 18th-best safety in individual coverage grades, giving the Wolverines a great chance to limit the damage over the middle.
Ohio State vs. Michigan Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Ohio State and Michigan match up statistically:
Ohio State Offense vs. Michigan Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Michigan Offense vs. Ohio State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||1||2|
|Plays per Minute||45||87|
|Rush Rate||48.4% (108)||60.3% (29)|
Ohio State vs. Michigan Betting Pick
With a look-ahead line as low as Ohio State -4.5 last week, the appetite for the Buckeyes has grown this spread larger than a touchdown.
There’s no denying how great Stroud has been in his quest for the Heisman Trophy, posting a 36:5 touchdown-to-interception ratio on the season.
The freshman quarterback has no drop in adjusted completion percentage from a clean pocket to blitzed dropbacks. Stroud has a 17:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio through 110 blitzed dropbacks this season, signaling Michigan’s best chance is sticking with pressure from the defensive line.
Nebraska is the only defense to force Stroud into a turnover-worthy play since the beginning of October, as the Cornhuskers forced four of them. Ohio State was limited by JoJo Domann, Cam Taylor-Britt and Quinton Newsome through a 2-5-4 scheme.
Stroud was picked off twice in targets to Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Chris Olave. Day has commented that the multiple look of Macdonald’s defense presents a large challenge. Macdonald has coached his scheme to be a pattern-match zone and man to confuse Stroud.
With an Action Network projection of Ohio State -7, the value is on Michigan on any number north of a touchdown.
The Wolverines have the offensive skill set to run against a Buckeyes defense with a poor Stuff Rate rank. Controlling tempo and keeping the Ohio State offense off the field will be the plan for Harbaugh.
Macdonald’s defensive scheme of allowing Hutchinson and Ojabo to create pressure while mixing zone and man will give Stroud a test far worse than what Nebraska presented.
Pick: Michigan +7.5 or Better
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