Ohio State didn’t have the greatest start to the 2021 season. Expectations for this program start and end with a national championship, but an early home loss to Oregon prompted many questions:
- The defense? This unit continued a downward slide that started in 2020.
- Was CJ Stroud the answer at QB?
That seems like ages ago, as Ohio State has stormed through the Big Ten with a string of impressive wins.
The strength of this team is at wide receiver. Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson came into the season as sure fire NFL first round draft picks, and neither has disappointed.
However, neither Olave nor Wilson might be the best receiver on the team. Jaxon Smith-Njigba leads the team with 69 catches for 1132 yards. He has a higher yards per route (4.2) than Olave (2.6) and Wilson (3.5).
Michigan doesn’t have the answer for these receivers in the secondary. CB Gemon Green dressed against Maryland, and he should be available against Ohio State, which will help.
This is not an indictment of Michigan’s defense. Georgia’s defense might not have the answers against Ohio State. Hell, the Detroit Lions with their NFL worst coverage grade by PFF might not have the answers against Ohio State.
To slow down Ohio State’s top ranked offense by my adjusted success rate, two thing could happen:
- Ohio State could look sluggish like they did against Nebraska.
- Michigan edge rushers Aiden Hutchinson and David Ojabo could have huge games. Both players cracked the top 10 in a recent ESPN+ NFL mock draft ahead of Olave and Wilson.
Michigan’s offense is a work in progress. Their top target against Ohio State might be Andrel Anthony, a player who caught his first pass in their eighth game against Michigan State. In my passing success rate, Michigan ranks 55th for the season.
Michigan’s run game ranks 31st in my adjusted success rate. They will get RB Blake Corum back, their most explosive player. Still, Michigan will find it difficult against an Ohio State defense that has surged to 28th in adjusted success rate after their rough start.
My numbers like Ohio State by 5.3 points in Ann Arbor. Even though the markets have favored Michigan more than my numbers in most games this season, Ohio State is currently a 7.5 or 8.5 point favorite. I don’t see any value in this game because of Ohio State’s offense.
An interesting note: Circa has taken a stand in this game by making Ohio State a 6.5 point favorite as of Friday morning. I’d love to see the sharp betting Michigan give a speech in downtown Ann Arbor on the value on Michigan. You could smell the disbelief in Columbus.
Football betting with a PhD edge
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