College Football Picks Week 13: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan Wolverines

Jeff GrantContributor INovember 23, 2011

College Football Picks Week 13: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan Wolverines

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    The Ohio State Buckeyes (6-5) and Michigan Wolverines (9-2) are set to meet for the 108th time Saturday afternoon inside Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, MI.

    Las Vegas oddsmakers established the Wolverines as 7.5-point home favorites in this fierce Big Ten Conference rivalry, which has been bet down to seven points in most spots.

    Early weather forecasts are suggesting game-time temperatures to be in the low-50s and a 30 percent chance of rain showers throughout.

    Let's take a closer look at this always highly-anticipated contest from a betting perspective.

Recent Series Dominance by the Buckeyes

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    The Ohio State Buckeyes have won seven consecutive meetings in their series with the Michigan Wolverines, but that entire streak occurred while former coach Jim Tressel was on the sidelines.

    He is now assisting the Indianapolis Colts as a game day consultant and current coach Luke Fickell is likely to coach his final Big Ten Conference game as the leader of the program Saturday.

    Bettors will find that the Buckeyes are 5-1 against the spread in their last six trips to Michigan Stadium.

Michigan Wolverines Defense

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    The Michigan Wolverines defense has improved dramatically in the first year of the Brady Hoke regime, allowing just 15.6 points per game, which is sixth-best in the nation.

    During Big Ten Conference play, the program is allowing the second-fewest points to land on the scoreboard, which has led the team to outscore such opponents by a 121-point margin.

Ohio State When Playing as an Underdog

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    The Ohio State Buckeyes must be respected when getting points—no matter who is roaming the sidelines.

    Bettors will find that the proud program is 7-0 ATS as an underdog of 3.5 to 10 points.

    Even more impressive is the Buckeyes astounding 21-4-1 ATS mark on the road when playing against a team that has a winning record at home.


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    Michigan Wolverines first-year head coach Brady Hoke has certainly changed the culture around Ann Arbor since Rich Rodriguez left the program, but he's also benefited greatly from his defense causing turnovers.

    The stop unit has forced 26 turnovers on the season, directly leading to a plus-six turnover margin, which ranks fourth in the Big Ten Conference.

    Quite a turnaround for a program that registered a minus-32 turnover margin in the three seasons before his arrival.

Ohio State Loves November

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    The Ohio State Buckeyes have tallied an impressive 49-15 record in November since the 1992 season, including a 15-3 mark since the 2005 campaign.

    From a betting perspective, it's important to note that the program has failed to cover all three games this month, but were listed as favorites in each contest.

    Love that situation as a handicapper.

Denard Robinson, Michigan Wolverines QB

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    Michigan Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson is making a name for himself in the school record book, coming in with the ninth-most rushing yards in school history.

    The junior needs to walk away with a win against the Ohio State Buckeyes in order to truly have a legacy, as he split time with Tate Forcier under center the past two years.

    He's piloted the team to a 6-1 ATS record at home this season.

Dan Herron, Ohio State Buckeyes RB

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    Ohio State Buckeyes Dan Herron finished last year's rivalry game with 175 rushing yards, giving the senior a total of 358 yards in three career games versus the Michigan Wolverines.

    He will be facing a stop unit that ranks 41st in the country in allowing 128.4 rushing yards per game.

    It's a key battle to watch on Saturday.

Urban Meyer Rumors

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    Former Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer is rumored to potentially take over the reigns of the Ohio State program next year, something that may serve as a distraction for the biggest game of the year.

    From a handicapping perspective, it's a dangerous time for this story to surface, as the locker room may lose motivation playing for Luke Fickell.

    Bad timing for one of the proudest programs in college football.


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    The Ohio State Buckeyes bring in a losing 3-4 record in Big Ten Conference play, but have lost those games by an average of 4.7 points.

    Coming into this game off back-to-back losses has caused the oddsmakers to inflate the line against the Buckeyes, which offers bettors tremendous value.

    The program has lost only one game by more than seven points in its last 22 games in that particular situation.

    Don't fall into the trap of the favorite covering the last four meetings in the series, as Michigan hasn't dressed up in that role since dropping a 37-21 contest as four-point road favorites on Nov. 20, 2004.

    Pick: Ohio State Buckeyes (+7)