Over/Under 9 Wins () vs Michigan Wolverines ()Date : 09/01/2018
Time : First Game: Michigan Wolverines @ Norte Dame Fighting Irish 7:30 PM
Location : Michigan Stadium
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Over/Under 9 Wins vs Michigan Wolverines
The Michigan Wolverines are in a much better place under Jim Harbaugh rather than their previous 2 coaches but Michigan has yet to crack through and make a Big Ten championship game, something that hasn’t been done since 2004. Michigan is coming off a disappointing season in 2017 as they went 8-4 in the regular season and lost in Outback bowl to South Carolina but don’t expect similar results in 2018. Jim Harbaugh made it a priority this offseason to figure out the offensive struggles as they ranked 105th in total offense and he made some coaching changes on that side of the ball in hopes of reviving an offense. Michigan doesn’t only return a ton of talent on offense but they may have found their solution at the quarterback spot via transfer. The defense has always been one of the strongholds under Jim Harbaugh and luckily for Michigan, they return 8 of their 11 starters who had the Wolverines defense as the 3rd best defense in football but given the experience they return they could prove to be one of the best units in college football. Michigan was fairly solid on the recruiting trail as their 2018 signing class ranked 3rd out of the 14 Big Ten teams. Harbaugh was able to contribute more depth to an already good defense as he kept the #1 player in the state of Michigan with DE Aidan Hutchinson signing with Michigan over the likes of LSU and Wisconsin.
Over/Under 9 Wins's Latest Performance :
Michigan failed to live up to Michigan expectations last season as they finished 4th in the Big Ten East as well as lost their bowl game but there is a sense of revival this season in Ann Arbor as they hoist the necessary pieces to compete. Michigan has a top-notch QB and they return 8 of the 11 starters on defense which has prompted oddsmakers to set the over/under at 9 wins.
Road Rivalry Matchups
If Michigan has any hope of making the Big Ten championship they will have to do so with some big wins on the road this season. Michigan has two main rivals with that being Ohio State and Michigan State and unfortunately for them, they will have to go up against them on the road this season. Michigan will open their season with a tough road test as they will travel to Norte Dame in what should be a battle of the defenses. Michigan will wrap up their non-conference schedule with matchups against Western Michigan and SMU who they will both host in back-to-back weeks. Michigan will get a cross-conference game this season and it will be no walk in the park as Wisconsin will come to Ann Arbor for a battle on 10/13. Michigan will be well-tested this season which could play pivotal in them making a New Years Six Bowl.
Michigan Wolverines's Latest Performance :
Michigan struggled to get anything going at the QB position last year in the pro-style offense as they cycled 3 quarterbacks in and out of the lineup but given the changes in the coaching staff and the insertion of the former #1 QB recruit in the nation Michigan should be better off this season. Shea Patterson comes to Michigan after a short stay at Ole Miss but he proved he was the best fit for Michigan after he had more yards (2259) and TDs (17) than all 3 QBs combined in only 7 starts last season. Patterson’s pass game should be supplemented by a solid run game as Michigan returns their top two running backs from 2017. Karan Higdon and Chris Evans were the lone bright spots of the Michigan offense last year as the duo combined for 1679 rushing yards and 17 TDs and they could benefit even more without a predictable offense. Michigan will look to air the ball out more but there will need to be chemistry built at the wide receiver position as they failed to have a guy crack 400 yards last season. Donovan Peoples-Jones is one of those guys who will need to shoulder most of the load at the wideout spot as the former 5-star recruit only recorded 277 yards in his freshmen season. The defense should be in great shape considering the return of 8 starters from 2017 as well as more depth to work with. Michigan will be strong at the defensive end spot as they return Rashan Gray and Chase Winovich who combined for 14 sacks from the outside spot. Gray and Winovich will be supported by some great linebackers as All-American Devin Bush (team-high 95 tackles) returns for his junior season and All-American candidate Khaleke Hudson (16 TFL) returns beside him. If you thought it stopped there you are wrong as Michigan had the #1 pass defense in 2017 and they return every single starter in the secondary. Lavert Hill and David Long were recently ranked as the top 2 man-to-man CBs in football and we saw the duo lock down receivers last year as they put up 13 pass deflections and 4 interceptions.
Player To Watch
Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Soph.
We have covered every position on the Wolverines offense and although they should all benefit from a coaching change and a consistent QB the person who should see the most production is Peoples-Jones. Peoples-Jones was the former #1 WR in the nation and he can’t be content with only recording 22 catches last year, something I’m sure he emphasized to Harbaugh this offseason. Peoples-Jones is a do-it-all type of guy for the Wolverines as he can’t only catch the ball but he is a sensation in the return game as last year he returned 1 punt for a touchdown. Peoples-Jones is an eventual 700-yard pass catcher and with Patterson at the helm, I have no doubt that Peoples-Jones has a big year in season #2.
How Over/Under 9 Wins & Michigan Wolverines Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Over 9 Wins -Even
Under 9 Wins -120
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
9/1- @ Norte Dame- L
9/8- Western Michigan- W
9/15- SMU- W
9/22- Nebraska- W
9/29- @ Northwestern- W
10/6- Maryland- W
10/13- Wisconsin- W
10/20- @ Michigan State- W
11/3- Penn State- L
11/10- @ Rutgers- W
11/17- Indiana- W
11/24- @ Ohio State- L
Overall Record- 9-3
Against The Spread Selection: Push, Lean Over 9 Wins -Even
My reason for the pick :
This is a tough one to pick considering the uncertainty of how the offense will run with new coaches as well as a new signal caller but to top that off Michigan will see a tough slate of games. The reason I say to lean over the total is because come to the end of the year Michigan may have a well-developed offense as chemistry could be built by the 11/3 matchup against Penn State and to top that off they will get them at home. If Patterson and Peoples-Jones can develop some sort of chemistry they could be the deadliest QB and WR combo in college football and given the fact that they could possibly have 2 years together I see this combination hooking up a whole lot this season. If worse comes to worse Michigan’s defense will carry this team to the 9 win mark considering they were able to reach the 8 win mark last season with one of the worst offenses in football. Expect Michigan to reach the 9 win mark and if you have to bet on it, bet the over.