Michigan vs UConn Picks, Predictions: Can Wolverines Cover the Huge 47.5-Point Spread?

Michigan vs UConn Picks, Predictions: Can Wolverines Cover the Huge 47.5-Point Spread? article feature image

Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: JJ McCarthy (Michigan)

Michigan vs UConn Odds

Saturday, Sept. 17
12 p.m. ET
Michigan Odds
-110o / -110u
UConn Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

A majority of people knew it was coming, but J.J. McCarthy has finally been named the Michigan Wolverines starting quarterback.

After entering the season in a competition against last year's starter, Cade McNamara, McCarthy won the job and looks to bring more diversity to the offense.

His first challenge? The UConn Huskies.

I know, a real test of might.

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UConn Huskies

Once again, the Huskies are one of the nation's bottom dwellers. This team is awful and is rated as the third-worst team in Collin Wilson's power ratings.

Although awful, the Huskies do have some fight in them. After nearly upsetting Utah State in Week 0, UConn is 1-2 with a win over the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils. In that win, the UConn rushing attack showed signs of life.

Behind a decent offensive line, running back Nathan Carter has been able to produce for the Huskies. He leads the team with 384 yards, and is averaging 6.4 yards per carry.

The issue? Michigan is one of the best in the nation at stopping the run.

If the Huskies want any sort of success, quarterback Zion Turner is going to need to find production with his arm, as Michigan will be flying to the ball. That's easier said than done, but college football is full of surprises.

Although it's a small sample size, one area that has been shockingly poor for Michigan is the pass blocking. While UConn's defensive line metrics are nothing to write home about, it's still something to monitor should Michigan struggle to push back the pressure.

Michigan Wolverines

While Michigan will be fielding a (somewhat) new name under center, the offensive identity remains the same — run the ball safely and effectively. It's the same offensive blueprint that led the Wolverines to a playoff berth last season.

Instead of last year's dynamic duo concept at running back, Michigan now deploys a trio in familiar face Blake Corum, Donovan Edwards and CJ Stokes. The trio has combined for 350 yards and five touchdowns through two games this season.

WHOOP @blake_corumpic.twitter.com/Wq3CvWWF5O

— Barstool Blue (@BarstoolUofM) September 3, 2022

A major contributor to Michigan's rushing success is the offensive line, which is among the best in the nation so far.

However, as previously mentioned, this unit has had trouble defending the pass. That is a concern, as the Wolverines have had a cupcake non-conference schedule with wins over Hawaii and Colorado State.

It's worth remembering that it's early in the season and numbers could be skewed, as Michigan has fielded its backups for multiple possessions. However, the offensive line woes are worth monitoring regardless.

The defense, on the other hand, has once again lived up to expectations after the departure of Aiden Hutchinson and others to the NFL draft.

As the No. 1 unit in Defensive Success Rate, Michigan will look to limit UConn's one-dimensional rushing attack. The Wolverines are also near the top of the nation in PFF Tackling and Coverage.

Michigan vs UConn Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Michigan and UConn match up statistically:

UConn Offense vs Michigan Defense
Rush Success111
Line Yards6273
Pass Success677
Pass Blocking**2113
Finishing Drives8019
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Michigan Offense vs UConn Defense
Rush Success542
Line Yards3119
Pass Success42122
Pass Blocking**11198
Finishing Drives662
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling725
PFF Coverage838
SP+ Special Teams4114
Seconds per Play27.1 (81)28.2 (100)
Rush Rate61.5% (25)59.3% (32)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Michigan vs UConn Pick

At the current number, I see no value in taking either side. Instead, my focus has shifted to the total.

While you ideally want both teams to contribute to the total, I just can't help but ponder Michigan running it down UConn's throat until the final whistle. With McCarthy under center, the Wolverines should be a threat to score every time they have the ball.

Should Michigan put in the backups — especially on defense — UConn actually possesses the ability to put points on the board behind a decent run game.

I grabbed a small piece of over 59, and I would play this no higher than 60. Should a score happen early via a return or broken play, I will look at the under at any number higher than 66.

Pick: Over 59

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