Michigan already had enough to worry about in its rivalry series with Ohio State.
The Wolverines have won just once against the Buckeyes in their last 16 meetings, and the Jim Harbaugh era has been especially unkind, as Michigan is 0-5 against Ohio State with him rocking his khakis on the sideline. But now the Michigan players and coaches have the benefit of watching their other rival (and the only team to defeat the Wolverines this season), Michigan State, get absolutely dismantled by the Buckeyes on game film from last week.
This is wild:
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) November 20, 2021
Think that might stick in their heads?
If there is good news for the 10-1 Wolverines, it’s that the game Saturday is at the Big House in Ann Arbor, the location of Michigan’s last two wins in the series (2011 and 2003). They’re also not hopeless from a betting perspective, at least in comparison to the point spread offered last week for the Ohio State-Michigan State matchup, which ranged from 18.5 to 20. At Michigan sportsbooks, Ohio State is favored by as much as 8.5 points (BetMGM Sportsbook Michigan and FanDuel Michigan) and as few as 7.5 (PointsBet Michigan and Golden Nugget Sportsbook Michigan).
Michigan’s been better against the spread
Ohio State may have dominated the headlines last week, as the 10-1 Buckeyes jumped out to a 49-0 halftime lead against Michigan State. But other than a couple missteps, Michigan has been the better team this season against the spread.
The Wolverines are 9-2 ATS in 2021, including three straight wins against the number as a favorite (against Maryland, Penn State, and Indiana). Michigan senior running back Hassan Haskins was particularly effective during those three wins, gaining 402 of his 1,063 rushing yards on the season. Meanwhile, Ohio State is 6-4-1 ATS this season.
Michigan RB Hassan Haskins said “GET OFF ME”💪😡pic.twitter.com/kij06vz3Ys
— Action Network Colleges (@ActionColleges) November 23, 2019
All of that is good and well, but the memories of Ohio State’s first-half thumping of Michigan State are impossible to put aside, especially after the Spartans upset Michigan on Oct. 30. The Ohio State blowout of Sparty left such an impression on the College Football Playoff committee that it moved the Buckeyes from fifth to second in the championship rankings.
The team currently on the outside looking in on the four-team playoff? That would be Michigan at No. 5. The broader perspective of a national title chase may be on the minds of some, but for Michigan fans who have suffered through several brutal years in this rivalry, a win over Ohio State comes first and foremost.
What about the total?
Both teams are pretty even for the season in the totals market (the over is 6-5 in Ohio State games and 5-6 in Michigan games), but the series history tells another story. The over is on a 7-0 streak in the series, but those totals never exceeded 57. The last time there was a similar number to this season’s matchup came in 2010, when the total went well under the line of 65 in a 37-7 Ohio State victory.
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Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier/USA TODAY