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ST. BUCKEYES VS. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES PICK
No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-2 SU, 8-3) vs. Michigan Wolverines (5-6 SU, 5-6 ATS) Saturday, November 21st, 12 p.m. Eastern, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI; TV: ABC
By Oracle of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Ohio State -12/Michigan +12
Talk about falling from grace.
At one time, the Big Ten was Michigan and Ohio State. The rivalry was talked about weeks ahead of time; the game was circled on calendars all over the country. The hype was unreal.
And now? Well, the Wolverines may not even be heading to a bowl game for the second straight year, and although Ohio State is going to the Rose Bowl, they have a lot to be desired, too.
The Big Ten in general is down, but the national talk and hype leading up to this game is way down.
And rightfully so. With a loss, Michigan would finish the season having just one Big Ten win. Head coach Rich Rodriguez seemed to put a lot of off-season drama to rest early in the year when his team started 4-0, but a four game skid has made many of those same accusations come to surface once again.
Meanwhile, OSU will represent the Big Ten in a BCS bowl game -the Rose Bowl. This is the first time in 13 years the Buckeyes will head to Pasadena. Looking pretty mediocre most of the year, theyve had two nice wins in the past couple of weeks against Top 15 teams in the country – Iowa and Penn State. They used a field goal in overtime against the Hawkeyes last weekend to earn their Rose Bowl berth.
Online sportsbooks recognize that this rivalry may not be as good of a matchup as in years past. The spread opened up with Michigan as big dogs at +12 in a game played at The Big House in Ann Arbor at Noon Eastern time.
That line has fluctuated both ways up to +12.5 and down to +11.5. The over/under is at 47 as well.
The Buckeyes have owned this series as of late, winning the last five, and seven of the last eight overall. Last season, OSU put the game away with a 28-point second half, winning by a final of 42-7.
In that game, they covered a huge -20.5-point spread.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor threw for 120 yards and two scores. Running back Daniel Herron also ran for 80 yards and two scores.
Herrons presence in the backfield along with Brandon Saine has finally given the Buckeyes another offensive threat other than Pryor. The two backs combined for 200 yards and three touchdowns in their 27-24 OT win against Iowa.
Its their defense, naturally, that gives them the best chance to win. Theyve had three shutouts this season and give up just 12.4 points per contest – 6th in the nation. They also give up just under 84 yards rushing per game, which is 3rd in the nation.
This spells doom for Michigans offense, although it is the general strength of this team (if they have one). They rush for almost 196 yards per game and score an average of 31.3 points.
True freshman quarterback Tate Forcier was turning heads when Michigan started the year off fast, but hasnt been the same the second half of the schedule. He went five games without throwing a touchdown pass, but ended that streak two weeks ago in a loss to Purdue and also threw two more against Wisconsin in last weeks loss.
Hell have a tough task ahead against Ohio States defense. Maybe a saving grace for him and the team is the fact that Iowa scored 24 points against the Buckeyes defense last week with a freshman quarterback making his first career college start.
The Wolverines, as always, play well at The Big House, as theyre 5-2 at home compared to winless on the road.
But looking strictly at the spreads, Ohio State has been one of the best teams in the nation in covering. They have an 8-3 mark ATS on the season and have a ton of betting trends going their way. In the last 21 games as road favorites, theyre 17-4 ATS.
The Wolverines, like their straight up record, have a very unimpressive mark ATS at 5-6 overall. Theyve only covered three times in the last 17 Big Ten games.
The favorite in this head-to-head matchup is 5-2 ATS in the last seven games. OSU, meanwhile, is 4-1 ATS in the last five games in Ann Arbor.
With the Buckeyes stellar defense, the under is a big trend for them. Its is 4-0-1 in the last five road games. In contrast, with Michigans shotty defense, the over is 5-1 in their last six home games.
Its also interesting to note that the over has come in five of the last six matchups between these two squads.
Even though the Buckeyes dont have much to play for and Michigan is having a down year, no doubt the emotions will be running high in this contest.
Oracles Pick: It just seems like everything is going downhill for the Wolverines, and after Saturday it wont get any better. Even though OSU may seem uninspired, their defense alone is enough to cover the spread. Take OSU -11.5!