The Game: Michigan Too Chalky, Take Ohio State Instead

Jason Lake

Monday, November 19, 2018 10:25 PM UTC

Monday, Nov. 19, 2018 10:25 PM UTC

The No. 4 Michigan Wolverines are this close to making the College Football Playoff. The No. 10 Ohio State Buckeyes are home dogs on the college football odds board. Madness! Bet confident with SBRpicks.com

Jason’s NCAAF picks record through Week 12: 14-15 ATS; 0-1 ML (minus-1.00 units), 1-2 Totals

No. 4 Michigan (10-1 SU, 6-5 ATS) at No. 10 Ohio State (10-1 SU, 4-7 ATS)Saturday, 12 p.m. ET (FOX)Free NCAAF Pick: Buckeyes ATSBest Line Offered: Bookmaker

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It’s been nearly four years since the Ohio State Buckeyes were the underdogs on the college football odds board. The world has changed a bit since then. But here we are in Week 13 of the 2018 campaign, and the No. 10-ranked Buckeyes have opened as 3.5-point puppies for their very important Big Ten matchup with the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines. It’s the first time Michigan have been favored in “The Game” since 2011.

Did we mention they’re playing at The Horseshoe? The Buckeyes have never been home dogs with Urban Meyer as their head coach. We’re not saying they don’t deserve it; Michigan have been the better team this year, by a reasonable margin. But 3.5 points seems a bit beyond reason, and Ohio State are already available at +4.5 as we go to press, with 61 percent of early bettors on the Wolverines.

Time to Play The Game

It’s not like the Wolverines weren’t expected to compete this year. Back in the middle of June, Bovada had Michigan (+1600) as the No. 5 title favorites on the NCAAF futures market. That was still well behind the third-place Buckeyes at +700, mind you. Now the Wolverines are in third at +650, and OSU’s title odds are hanging by a thread at +4000.

Be that as it may, FiveThirtyEight “only” have Michigan winning The Game 54 percent of the time, as per their Elo-based projections. You need almost 60 percent to get all the way to 3.5 points; run the numbers through the turkey-licious SBR Odds Converter and compare to the college football charts at Wizard of Odds, and you’ll get Michigan –1.5 as a viable vig-free spread for Saturday. Any reason we shouldn’t put the Buckeyes in our college football picks?

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Urban Meyer after the TD to make it 38-31 Maryland over Ohio State pic.twitter.com/VSNQm9fqUA

— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) November 17, 2018
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Turtle Soup

Well, Meyer did come close to blowing a gasket last week after his team barely beat the Maryland Terrapins (+13.5 at home) 52-51 in overtime. That’s 1-6 ATS over the past seven games for Ohio State. “Alarming’s the right word,” Meyer told reporters after escaping College Park with the victory.

We ain’t scurred. The Buckeyes may have given up some big plays this year, but if you can look beyond the variance, they’re probably undervalued at this point. Football Outsiders have OSU at No. 8 on their S&P+ Ratings, with Michigan matching their poll position at No. 4. And this game is essentially a stalemate on paper between the Buckeyes offense and the Michigan defense. Neither club is title-worthy on the other side of the ball. May the better team win by a field goal in overtime, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.

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