NCAAF Predictions - Michigan vs. Ohio State Odds & Free Picks

Ohio State Buckeyes  players in action

Willie Bee

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 2:25 PM GMT

Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016 2:25 PM GMT

A trip to the Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoffs is on the line when Ohio State host Michigan, and we've got a free NCAA football pick for the showdown.

 

I still think the College Football Playoffs don't begin until the selection committee makes its four final choices? Jockeying to get one of the four precious spots actually began way back on the first weekend of September, and it definitely continues with a heavy-duty matchup this week when the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes renew their rivalry.

Drop everything you're doing Saturday, grab a sandwich and a cold drink, then sit your butt down at high noon (ET) with your eyes on ABC's broadcast. The Ohio Stadium crowd promises to be electric for the 112th meeting between the Big Ten foes, and Bookmaker, now offering 50% free play, sent the Buckeyes out -7 before early action dropped the spread by a half. The total has also been on the decline, starting at 49 and slipping to 47½ presently.

For Michigan, the immediate path is clear; win and the Wolverines lock up the Big Ten East title and a trip to Indianapolis the following week, most likely against Wisconsin. An Ohio State victory won't guarantee the Buckeyes reach the conference championship for the third time in four years, but it would all but assure them a spot in the CFP.

 

Which Side Can Move Ball Through The Air?

Michigan (10-1 straight up, 5-6 against the spread) did bounce back from that tough loss at Iowa two weeks ago, the Wolverines favored by 24 on the NCAA football odds to take down the Hawkeyes. Still, last Saturday's 20-10 victory vs. Indiana, Jim Harbaugh's gang once again giving up 24, wasn't exactly a thing of beauty.

The Wolverines played without starting QB Wilton Speight who injured his shoulder in the loss at Iowa. His absence really showed in the boxscore where backup John O'Korn threw for just 59 yards. Speight is questionable this week, and the Wolverines will have to do much more through the air against Ohio State regardless who is under center.

Ohio State (10-1 SU, 6-5 ATS) also had trouble moving the ball after consecutive 62-3 romps past Nebraska and Maryland, having just enough offense to hold on in East Lansing for a 17-16 decision vs. Michigan State. Neither side could get much going with the pass, but JT Barrett and the ground game coupled with the defense to avoid total embarrassment as favorites of nearly three touchdowns.

 

Buckeyes Have Eyes In 5th-Straight Vs. Michigan

Fans of the Maize & Blue can still brag about owning a 58-47 advantage over Ohio State, six more games failing to produce a winner, but the rivalry has belonged solely to the Buckeyes for 13 years now. They've won four in a row under Urban Meyer, and 11 of the last 12 including a vacated triumph in 2010 when Ohio State was naughty according to the NCAA.

The Buckeyes have covered two in a row, and seven of the last nine. Betting the 'over' has been the way to play the three most recent, those totals in the 46½-57 range, and the Wolverines are looking for their first win at The Shoe since 2000.

Overcast skies are in the Columbus forecast for Saturday afternoon when the high is expected to barely scratch into the mid-40s. The good news is neither rain nor wind should interfere with the contest.

Which coach will have their team ready to play from the opening whistle? Neither was successful at it a week ago in closer-than-expected wins, and I've got more faith in Meyer getting it done with the home crowd behind the Buckeyes for my free college football pick.

 

Free NCAAF Pick: Ohio State -6½ (-105) Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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