Colorado State vs. Michigan Odds & Picks: Betting Value on Week 1 Over/Under
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Cade McNamara.
Colorado State vs. Michigan Odds
Coming off of a College Football Playoff berth and a ton of offseason drama surrounding Jim Harbaugh, Michigan opens a new season on Saturday as heavy favorites against Colorado State.
Michigan is bringing back a ton of weapons on the offensive side of the ball, but has a ton to replace on defense. The Wolverines are projected to finish behind Ohio State in the Big Ten East, so their season will likely come down to that final game.
Michigan needs to start things off right and figure out its quarterback controversy in the first two weeks of the season.
Colorado State begins a new era under Jay Norvell, who comes over from Nevada. Norvell brought a lot of his players with him from Nevada, but this will be a rebuild in Fort Collins.
It’s a complete change on offense for the Rams, as they will move from Steve Addazio, who ran the ball 56% of the time, to new offensive coordinator Matt Mumme, who threw the ball 64% of the time at Nevada last season.
Norvell and Mumme also brought redshirt freshman Clay Millen over from Nevada to be their starting quarterback. Millen backed up Carson Strong last season, so he knows the system.
Mumme loves to play fast and Nevada ranked 23rd in plays per minute last season. Millen will also have the benefit of having two Nevada wide receivers coming over with him in Melquan Stovall Jr. and Tory Horton.
The problem for Colorado State is it has a completely new offensive line — most of which arrived via the transfer portal — so it’s going to take some time for them to gel, which means the quick passing game is going to be on full display Saturday.
Colorado State loses its entire defensive line and both starting cornerbacks from last season. So, it’s hard to imagine it’ll finish in the top 30 in EPA/Play Allowed — especially when the best offense it faced last season was Norvell’s Nevada team, which hung 52 points on the Rams.
All three linebackers and the top three tacklers are back for Colorado State, but this was also a defense that was outside the top 100 in explosive plays allowed.
It seems like it’s going to be a long day for new defensive coordinator Freddie Banks, who is facing a Michigan offense that has all of its weapons returning and also adds dynamic receiver Ronnie Bell, who missed the vast majority of last season with an injury.
Harbaugh hasn’t decided on whether Cade McNamara or J.J. McCarthy will be his starting quarterback for the bulk of the season. But we do know McNamara will start the opener versus Colorado State.
BREAKING: Michigan has announced a decision on their QBs, via @UMichFootbal.
Cade McNamara will start Game 1, J.J. McCarthy will start Game 2, and then QB1 will be crowned before Game 3. pic.twitter.com/KgSiMd7Tmf
— PFF College (@PFF_College) August 27, 2022
McNamara was a very average quarterback last season. His PFF passing grade came in at 75.4, he averaged 7.8 yards per attempt and had 17 big-time throws compared to eight turnover-worthy plays.
He’s the safe option for when Harbaugh wants to employ a methodical rushing attack, as Michigan ranked 90th in plays per minute last year.
The only weapon the Wolverines lose is running back Hassan Haskins. Of course, they also lost offensive coordinator Josh Gattis.
Otherwise, everyone is back from an offense that averaged 6.3 yards per play (17th in FBS) and was 11th in EPA/Play. Oh, and the Wolverines also welcome back one of their best receivers in Bell, who tore his ACL in the opener against Western Michigan last year.
ALL ABOARD THE RONNIE BELL HYPE TRAIN 🚂
— PFF College (@PFF_College) April 4, 2022
Michigan has a ton of holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball. It obviously lost Aiden Hutchinson, but also defensive tackle Chris Hinton. A defensive line that was top-20 in Defensive Line Yards will regress and Hutchinson’s 14 sacks won’t be easy to replace.
Michigan also loses its top two linebackers in David Ojabo and Josh Ross, who combined for 141 tackles, 11.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. They were a big part of Michigan being 16th in EPA/Play Allowed, and Harbaugh doesn’t have the pieces to replace their production.
On top of the losses in the front seven, three secondary starters are gone. The Wolverines could go through some growing pains, especially against a pass-heavy attack like Colorado State.
Colorado State vs. Michigan Betting Pick
Michigan has to replace a ton on defense, but returns all of its weapons on offense.
Meanwhile, Colorado State will implement a new Air Raid system under Mumme.
For those reasons, I think the market is a tad low on this total.
I have 72.1 points projected for this game, so I like the value on over 61.5 points and would play it to 66 points.