Betting picks and predictions for Ohio State vs. Michigan
There is often a debate about which rivalry is the best in sports, but only one is called “The Game”. Ohio State vs Michigan – or, “Ohio” vs “That Team Up North” is that game. Two teams that won’t even call each other by name. End of discussion. The Wolverines have won the last two games in this storied rivalry, with Ohio State having won the previous eight before a Covid cancellation of the game in 2020. Both teams are coming into this game with quite the chip on their shoulders; on one hand, you’ve got Michigan, playing without head coach Jim Harbaugh who is suspended for this game due to the ongoing sign-stealing investigation, wanting nothing more than to prove the last two years were not a fluke and the sign-stealing ordeal is being blown out of proportion.
On the other hand, there is Ohio State, desperate to reclaim its stranglehold on the rivalry this millennium and prove that the last two years weren’t just a result of being “out-toughed”, as some outside the program have suggested (I won’t ask where Lou Holtz is right now). This is shaping up to be one of, if not the most, hyped editions of The Game we’ve ever seen. I think we all agree this is going to be a classic heavyweight fight, but where might there be some opportunities to make some profit while we watch this clash of the titans?
Here are some bets I like, with both teams’ rooting interests in mind, because who wants to bet on the team they’re rooting for to go under their team total or for the opponent to go over their touchdown props? I’m here to cover all angles, so no matter who you’re rooting for (if anyone at all) in this game, there’s something you can throw a few bucks on to get in on the action and feel good about it.
Betting with an Ohio State Interest
If you’ve followed me for any period of time, you know I rely heavily on my T Shoe Index rating system to guide my bets. That remains true here, but I’ve learned over the last several years that rivalry week is a bit more of an art than a science because there are generally so many extenuating factors that play into it. My official TSI projection on this game is Michigan -6.5, which obviously doesn’t seem like good news for the Buckeyes; however, this is a bit of a unique circumstance, given the allegations against Michigan right now and how those allegations may or may not have impacted games. I’m an objective, critically-thinking person, so I absolutely understand that correlation doesn’t equal causation.
That being said, in the last month (since sign-stealing extraordinaire Connor Stalions was fired and Harbaugh was subsequently suspended), the metrics have dramatically shifted on this matchup. Weighing the last month more heavily than the previous two months – a reasonable approach to handicapping this game, I think – actually projects Ohio State as a 3-point favorite. Using tempo and opponent-adjusted net EPA over the last 3 games, Ohio State is 3rd nationally, while Michigan is 36th. Using tempo and opponent-adjusted net points per play, Ohio State is first nationally and Michigan is 18th. These teams are first and 18th in adjusted net yards per point during that time as well. So, with all of this in mind, what are some Ohio State-friendly bets we can make in this game?
Ohio State to win by 1-10 points (+270)
Ohio State over 2.5 touchdowns (+100)
Cade Stover (OSU TE) Anytime Touchdown (+240)
TreVeyon Henderson (OSU RB) Alt Rushing Yards Over 100 (+172)
TreVeyon Henderson 2+ Touchdowns (+350)
Betting with a Michigan Interest
If you’re rooting for Michigan, you probably read that first paragraph and had ten MGoBlog screenshots dialed up ready to flood my DMs to tell me how stupid I am for believing any of that. Relax. My numbers have been more than reliable for several years, so I’m generally not inclined to make any kind of manual adjustments for any reason. So, if you believe that the Stalions saga is clickbait and doesn’t have any real impact on the field, then you should feel really good about your team’s chances in this game. Michigan is No. 1 in my power ratings, and have been for quite a while.
They’ve been dominant for the majority of the season and my numbers would indicate their strength of schedule isn’t nearly as bad as national perception would have you believe. Michigan’s average opponent power rating is 1.0 coming into this game, and Ohio State’s is just 1.3, so don’t let anyone tell you the schedule has been *that* much worse than the Buckeyes’ – they just have the flashier non-con game on the road at Notre Dame, but otherwise played a down Western Kentucky team and FCS Youngstown State. Michigan boasts the No. 2 TSI defensive rating (OSU No. 1) and the No. 4 TSI offensive rating (OSU No. 16). This team is very good on both sides of the ball, and have controlled the trenches each of the last two years against the Buckeyes. The season-long metrics are there to support full confidence heading into this matchup. So, how can we leverage that to find some bets worth making on Blue in this game?
Blake Corum (Michigan RB) First TD Scorer (+340)
Ohio State Team Total Under 21.5 (-122)
JJ McCarthy (Michigan QB) Over 1.5 Passing TDs (+130)
Colston Loveland (Michigan TE) Anytime TD (+205)
Colston Loveland Over 35.5 Receiving Yards (-114)
There is truly a lot of cause for optimism and concern from both sides heading into this game, making it one of the most angsty buildups I can remember. Here’s to a great game, where legacies will be shaped and bets will be cashed.
To learn more about who I am or what my T Shoe Index is, be sure to read my introduction on VSiN.com and check out my free CFB guide with ratings, projections and win probabilities for every single game this season and follow me on X, @TShoeIndex.