Michigan-Ohio State Betting Guide: Too Much Love for the Wolverines?

Nov 24, 2018 11:33 AM EST

Mike Carter, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Jim Harbaugh.

Michigan at Ohio State Betting Odds, Pick

  • Odds: Michigan -4.5
  • Over/Under: 54.5
  • Time: 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: FOX

>> All odds as of Friday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets

This is Urban Meyer’s most-flawed team at Ohio State. The defense has some major issues stopping the run and preventing big plays, while Dwayne Haskins’ lack of mobility has somewhat limited the offense, mainly on the ground.

So naturally, bettors have flocked to Michigan this week. But the Buckeyes have absolutely owned this rivalry over the last two decades, winning 12 of the last 13 meetings.

The Wolverines have looked much better than Ohio State over the last two months, but none of that will matter if they can’t beat their bitter rivals. The winner will play Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Odds Movement for Ohio State-Michigan

By Danny Donahue

This is on pace to be the most heavily bet game of the Week 13 slate, and Michigan has accounted for the slight majority of the betting tickets so far. The Wolverines have drawn 54% of bets and 51% of dollars, which has helped move this line from -3.5 to -4.5 (see live betting data here).

But while bettors are somewhat split on the matchup, the total has generated much more one-sided action. Eighty percent of bets and 96% of dollars are on this under, moving the total from 59 to 56. Inclimate weather has a lot to do with that.

The Recipe to Beat Michigan

By Steve Petrella

I figure the best way to spend your time here is to present a case for Ohio State, because most people’s default reaction is to bet Michigan given how these two teams are trending. I’m not saying you shouldn’t, but here’s how the Buckeyes can upset the Wolverines (stats via Football Outsiders/SB Nation).

1. Keep Michigan Behind the Chains

Michigan ranks No. 2 nationally in average third-down distance on offense. They face an average third down of just 5.7 yards.

Fortunately, Ohio State’s biggest weakness on defense is giving up big plays. It’s still pretty efficient. The Wolverines won’t beat you with big plays, so if Ohio State can have success on early downs (the Buckeyes are 18th in average third-down distance on defense), I think Michigan’s offense will struggle to move the ball at times.

2. Finish Drives

Michigan has allowed just 19 drives to enter the red zone this season. That’s the fewest in the country.

But opponents have put up points on 18 of those drives, good for a 94.74% success rate, third-worst in the country. Fourteen of those drives have resulted in touchdowns, which is bottom 15 nationally.

Ohio State ranks 24th in points per trip inside the 40-yard line, but just 119th in red zone scoring percentage. The Buckeyes will need to finish drives.

3. Make Michigan Throw

Michigan ranks No. 7 in passing S&P+ on offense, but that’s in part because it uses the ground game to set up favorable passing situations. The Wolverines run the ball on 68.3% of standard downs, No. 20 nationally.

Ohio State needs to mix up defensive looks and make Michigan throw when it doesn’t want to. In relation to keeping the Wolverines behind the chains, the Buckeyes need to limit chunk plays, and they have the defense to do that. They rank top 20 in opportunity rate (5-yard gains or more) and stuff rate (runs that go for no gain or a loss of yards), but give up huge plays.

Is Ohio State…Undervalued?

By Ken Barkley

Rarely do you get to type the words “Ohio State is undervalued,” but I fail to see how that’s not the case here. Yes, there are weird scenarios sort-of swirling around the Buckeyes program, with people asking Urban Meyer if he’s going to coach next year, or if he should retire, etc. etc. But I can’t really handicap what effect any of that stuff has on the field. If there’s someone who can, their techniques are quite sophisticated.



Unlock this article + all the EDGE benefits

Now accepting&

Already an EDGE member? Sign In

Follow Action Network Staff on Twitter

Top Stories