Michigan Win-Total Pick
Will the Michigan Wolverines finally make their way to the mountain top of the Big Ten again in the 2017 season?
According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, Michigan is listed with 16/1 odds to win the College Football Playoffs this season. The Wolverines also have 6/1 odds to win the Big Ten, while their over/under total for wins has been set at 9. The over is listed with a line of -175, while the under is set at +145.
Jim Harbaugh is entering his third season as head coach. He has went 10-3 in his first two years with the program and is 13-4 in Big Ten games. Harbaugh has never had his teams go backwards in terms of wins in any season in his career, spanning four years at Stanford and three years at San Diego.
Michigan was led in 2016 by its dominant defense. The Wolverines led the nation in passing defense, allowing just 135.9 yards per game. They also were among the best in points allowed (12.5 per game) and total defense (253 ypg). The problem is, nearly all of the starters from that unit are gone. Michigan has recruited well under Harbaugh, so they should have the talent to replace some of those players, but it could lead to some early struggles. The offense may have to step up this season. The defense carried the offense in 2016, but the offense may need to hold its weight this season. U-M was just 57th nationally in offense. Wilton Speight struggled in his first year as a starter, throwing for 2,538 yards with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He is back to lead the offense this year. However, his top three receivers from last year are gone. Michigan used a backfield by committee in 2016 and will do the same this year. De’Veon Smith, last year’s leading rusher, is not back.
Michigan opens the season against Florida on Sept. 2 from AT&T Stadium. That game feels like a must-win for Harbaugh, who needs to start showing Michigan is going to take the next step as a program. The Wolverines will also face Cincinnati and Air Force at home in non-conference play. Big Ten road trips will be made to Purdue, Indiana, Penn State, Maryland and Wisconsin. The Wolverines will host Michigan State, Rutgers, Minnesota and Ohio State. While they get to host the Buckeyes, road trips to Penn State and Wisconsin could be challenging. Harbaugh can’t afford to go 0-3 vs. Ohio State. He needs that win and he really needs a Big Ten title. Roster turnover won’t be an excuse he can use, so he’s going to work his guys in training camp and have them ready. Expect Michigan to get to 10 wins again this season behind a hard-nosed defense and an efficient pro-style offense.
2017 WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: MICHIGAN OVER 9 (-175)