There have been some incredibly important games in the history of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, but Saturday’s matchup in Ann Arbor is easily the biggest in the College Football Playoff era. Read on for our Ohio State-Michigan picks.
With all due respect to Army-Navy, Alabama-Auburn, Florida-Florida State, and any other matchup you want to name, there is no better rivalry in college football than Ohio State-Michigan.
Saturday’s regular-season finale between the two is the biggest in the series since 2006 when unbeaten and No. 1 Ohio State edged unbeaten and No. 2 Michigan 42-39. Back then, there was no College Football Playoff, but this year’s winner keeps its playoff hopes very much alive – and wins the Big Ten East Division.
Michigan leads Ohio State 58-52-6 but that gap has closed significantly of late with the Buckeyes on an eight-game winning streak in the series.
Here are my picks and predictions for the college football Week 13 matchup between Ohio State and Michigan (Odds via FanDuel; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5 star scale).
Ohio State vs. Michigan Game Info
Date/Time: Saturday, Nov. 27, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
Weather: mostly cloudy
Ohio State vs. Michigan Odds Analysis
I am using FanDuel for one important reason: It has Ohio State as a 7.5-point favorite compared to most other books at -8. In the world of two-point conversions (remember the new OT rules), that half-point can matter in a big way.
The Over 7.5 is juiced pretty good at FanDuel so it may not stay there. FanDuel has a total of 63.5 while others offer 64.5. I'm going to use 64.5 though because I'm going Under. It's the highest total since 2010 when it was 65 and Ohio State won 37-7.
Ohio State vs. Michigan Picks
Ohio State -7.5 (-110) ★★★★
Under 64.5 (-110) ★★★
SEE ALSO: Alabama vs. Auburn Week 13 picks
Ohio State vs. Michigan Predictions
Ohio State -7.5 (-110)
The Buckeyes are looking for their fifth straight trip to the conference title game (they won the past four) and seventh overall. With all the hype surrounding Jim Harbaugh, he has yet to get Michigan to that game. He entered this season on a scalding-hot seat but is largely off that now. He'll be completely out of danger if he can find a way to finally beat Ohio State.
This will be the 24th all-time meeting between the rivals when both are ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll. Ohio State holds a 12-9-2 advantage in those games and has won the past four. How can we possibly go against the Nuts after they eviscerated Michigan State last week and are 5-0 against Harbaugh with four double-digit wins?
Remember, they didn't play last year as The Game was canceled due to the pandemic. That snapped a streak of 102 consecutive years meeting on the gridiron. Maybe Big Blue needed a break.
OSU is 6-2 against the spread in its past eight at Michigan. The Wolverines are 1-6 ATS in their past seven versus teams with a winning record.
Under 64.5 (-110)
Last week, I previewed Michigan State-Ohio State and went Under 67 points. Frankly, it was a miracle that won as OSU prevailed 56-7. The Buckeyes probably could have scored 67 by themselves after going up 49-0 at halftime.
Michigan's defense is a lot better than Michigan State's. The Wolverines, in fact, might have the best defensive player in the country in end Aidan Hutchinson.
Hutchinson and fellow Michigan defensive end David Ojabo share the Big Ten lead with 10 sacks apiece. Hutchinson also ranks sixth in tackles for loss with 11.5 and has forced a pair of fumbles. He'll be a very high 2022 NFL Draft pick and has the highest overall grade among all defenders in college football with a 93.1 mark from Pro Football Focus.
Thanks in large part to the QB pressure from Hutchinson and Ojabo, U-M has forced at least one turnover in nine consecutive games, with multiple turnovers in five games. Michigan is No. 7 in scoring defense.
Whereas Michigan State could never establish the run and chew clock, the Spartans had just one running back to worry OSU in Kenneth Walker III. Michigan has two in Hassan Haskins (1,063 yards, 13 TDs) and Blake Corum (778 yards, 10 TDs). Thanks in large part to those two, U-M ranks 12th nationally in average time of possession (32:41).
Look, Ohio State is getting its 30 points with incredible talent around quarterback C.J. Stroud. The Buckeyes boast the nation's No. 1 scoring offense (47.2 points per game) but also the No. 16 scoring defense (19 points/game). I simply don't see OSU getting past 35 points or so, and that should keep us Under here. The Under is 6-1 in Michigan's past seven at home.
Ohio State-Michigan picks made 11/24/2021 at 10:30 p.m. ET