The Ohio State Buckeyes (6-5) and Michigan Wolverines (9-2) will meet for the 108th time Saturday afternoon inside Michigan Stadium.
Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Wolverines
Ohio State is still a dangerous team despite dropping back-to-back contests heading into its biggest Big Ten Conference rivalry game against the Michigan Wolverines, coming in with a seven-game winning streak in the series.
“It’s about a football game,” commented Buckeyes coach Luke Fickell. “It’s not about me. It’s not about Coach Hoke. It’s about the greatest rivalry in football.” He will be under tremendous pressure to keep the streak alive, replacing Jim Tressel, who truly dominated this series while in Columbus.
The Buckeyes have dropped four conference games this season, but the margin of defeat has totaled 19 points, which averages out to 4.7 per game. The program is a dominating 15-3 in November since the start of the 2005 campaign.
Senior running back Dan Herron will get his final crack at Michigan, coming in with 358 rushing yards and three touchdowns in three career games. He ran for 175 yards in last year’s 37-7 blowout win as 16.5-point home favorites.
Bettors will find that the Buckeyes are 6-1 ATS as an underdog the last two-plus campaigns, while the ‘under’ is 5-2 in those contests.
Michigan is looking to win eight home games for the first time since 1917 and has been led by a defense that is allowing just 15.6 points per game, which ranks second in the conference and sixth nationally.
“This is a special week because you play in the greatest rivalry there is in sport,” Hoke stated in practice this week. “When you get the chance to play or coach in this game, it’s always a fun week.”
He’s certainly changed the culture around Ann Arbor, MI, which has been led by creating turnovers. Michigan has forced 26 turnovers and it has led to a plus-six turnover ratio, which is fourth in the Big Ten. In the previous three seasons, the program was minus-32 in the important category.
Junior quarterback Denard Robinson will want to help cement his legacy with a win in this rivalry, leading an offense that averages 33.6 points per game, while going over the century mark in rushing in 10 of 11 games as a team.
The Wolverines are definitely looking to turn the tide in what’s been a lopsided series, losing the last seven meetings by a combined score of 218-108.
From a handicapping perspective, Michigan is 1-5 ATS when serving as host in the series, while posting a 3-13 ATS mark in November.
Recommendation: Ohio State Buckeyes +7.5
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