Over at the JCB, I have been trying out a new schtick where I come up with mock prop bets on stats, storylines and underrated keys to the game that certain post is previewing. I did team previews for some Big 10 teams in this style and have carried it over to certain games now that the season has started. I intend on doing this for as many Michigan games as I can and I will publish them here, where my blogging career started, the MGoDiaries. As one of the first brave souls to piece together diaries once Brian modified his site, this will always be home for me, even as the JCB grows in popularity.
So, I have concocted four prop bets for tomorrow that I think are worthy to track as whether or not they go voer or under will help tell the tale of latest classic in the ND/Michigan series. We could turn this into a game, wager with MGoPoints and just keep track as well go along. Bragging rights are important in Blogrifica, after all.
BUT. If you want to play in a real contest venture over to the blog and play the Pick-4. It's free, some folks may have a jump start on you from playing a week ago, but there will more than enough chances to make up ground as we'll up the scoring values as we get later in the year. Did I say it was free? It is. And, while prizes are of yet unidentified, there will be some bounty for the winning souls come seasons end.
With that promo out of the way, place your bets on the following:
Armando Allen, Rushing Yards: O/U 85.5 yards
Notre Dame's senior running back has a world of talent, but he has not really had a game breaking career to this point. He only has 4 career 100-yard games. One of those came a year ago against the Wolverines, where he rushed for a career high 139 yards. At over 6 yards per carry a year ago in Ann Arbor, it begs the question again what Charlie Weis was doing throwing bombs on their final drive instead of powering with Allen to keep the clock running and getting that game clinching first down. To start the 2010 season, Allen paced a nice 1-2 punch at tailback with Cierre Woods a week ago against Purdue with 98 yards while Woods added 63. We're all rightfully worried about who in the world will cover Michael Floyd and whether or not he'll go off for eleventy-billion yards on one of our unsuspecting corners. But to me, every defensive effort this year has to begin with stoning the run. It's an obvious storyline heading into this contest. Teams were running 50 times a game against Michigan a year ago because they could. Now teams might also try doing this just to keep the ball out of Denard's hands. Regardless, if Michigan does not get gashed by opposing rushing attacks, they will win games this year. As for this game, if they keep Allen in check, I like their chances. But, if he hits the century mark again, I feel that Michigan will likely lose. As for 85.5 number, it's the actual prop bet real oddsmakers have set for Allen's production.
Michigan Points In The Red Zone, O/U 20.5
One of the biggest matchups of the game is how the Michigan offense performs against the Leprechauns hiding amidst the tall grass in the red zones of Notre Dame Stadium. These hidden Leprechauns have jumped up like gramlins over the years to thwart would be Michigan scoring drives against the Irish. These bad boys are worse than the Ypsi Illuminati. Michigan was terrible in scoring range a year ago, ranking as one of the worst teams in the league in red zone efficiency and points per trip. Historically against the Irish, they've always had bugaboos conspire against them agaisnt them once they get into scoring range. We can probably trace this back to the interception Elvis Grbac threw to a wide open Michael Stonebreaker in the end zone just as Michigan was about to put the nail in the Irish's coffin during the 1990 tilt, an eventual 28-24 Notre Dame win. And, it's continued. Tom Brady marched the Wolverines up and down field during the first half of his first ever career start in 1998, but Michigan had to settle for four field goal attempts, one of which they shanked. The Irish dominated the second half and won. The same formula added up for a Michigan loss in 2004 in Chad Henne's first start against the Irish. Michigan outdid themselves in 2005 when a record 215 trips in the red zone led to zero points. As recently as 2008, a fumble as Michigan was plowing into the end zone ended all hope for a Michigan win over Notre Dame. This series is dead even at five apiece in the last 10 matches, but if Michigan had only been competent in the red zone against the Irish over this time, they would have an overwhelming series advantage. So here we have another Michigan QB making his first start in South Bend. Greatness preceded him in the form of Grbac, Brady and Henne. Yet, all of them struggled to find the end zone once inside the red zone. Can Denard deliver? Maybe the offense scores a bunch of points from long range, minimizing red zone trips. Who knows? That's why they call it gambling.
Notre Dame Passing Attack, Yards Per Completion: O/U 10.70
Who here is worried that Michael Floyd might be the best player on the field tomorrow? I am. So much so that I cant bring myself to set a total for his total yards. I fear a 200-yard day and a maschostic venture into the history books to see how close it is to a record against Michigan That is if Tom Hammond hasnt gleefully announced it to me already on the game broadcast with the verve he usually reserves for exciting tales of horse geneology. As it turns out, the oddsmakers have actually set an O/U total for Floyd: O/U 88.5 yards. That seems low. I might hit that Over and maybe not wince as much each time he shreds the Michigan defense. I dont see how Floyd doesnt top the century mark. As long as he doesnt have a monster, record book type of day they can absorb a good fantasy football output from the Irish's stud wideout.
I thought about doing an over/under for eventual +/- number for the secondary in Brians' UFR. But I'm too impatient to wait until middle next week for results. Besides, I'm still a little confused of what to make of the +7 they racked up against the Huskies a week ago. James Rogers, your table is ready, sir. I've soothed my nerves on this game most of the last month by convincing myself that it was 100 percent, no questions asked a good thing that none of the four starters in the secondary who were clocked by the Irish a year ago will be in the lineup tomorrow. We'll find out how delusional I've been in about 24 hours. BUT DID YOU SEE THAT +7!!!!
The stat we're playing with instead is yards per completion. A year ago, the Jimmy Claussen carved Michigan up to the tune of more than 13.5 per catch. That's top shelf. Anything between 10-12 yards is doing really well and will give you an offensive leg up all day. Denard Robinson was just a smidge under 10 a week ago. As for Notre Dame, Dayne Crist hit for 10.7 yards per completion against Purdue. I feel if he's around that number again, Michigan has a strong chance at winning. I dont think they could approach a number like last year's onslaught and expect to come out ahead.
Total Michigan Running Backs Over 50 yards: O/U 1.5
This is a werid prop. We can reasonably assume Denard Robinson will be the team's leading rusher. But, they need some more balance and a bit more production from their tailbacks. But, this also gives me an opportunity to skewer my fellow blogger Magnus. It's a banner week for Magnus as I an not the only one delivering him a pink slip over his analysis of the opening day win for Michigan. Over at Touch the Banner, he graded the Michigan tailbacks as 'only average' for the day and elsewhere on his blog and within threads on this site, he's always first in line to trash, in particular, Vincent Smith. Magnus admits he didnt watch the whole game on Saturday, which is obvious because he clearly didnt see what I saw in person. I saw hard running out of both Michael Shaw and Smith. Frankly, it was the best Shaw has looked in his Michigan career. Was he perfect? Hardly. This team still cant afford a bunch of mistakes and that 11-yard loss he took was a terrible play. However, throw that play out and he had 15 touches for 75 yards. I fail to see how this is bad production. After dropping a pass in the spring game that would have been a big gainer, he caught the only ball thrown to him Saturday and scooted for 16 yards, running hard and fast the whole way. His elusiveness and determined running turned a lot of possible tackles near the line of scrimmage into 5 yard gains. As for Smith, I still dont understand what Magnus fails to see. That TD run he had in the first quarter was a great run that reminded this Michigan historian a little of Jamie Morris and Mike Hart. He has scored touchdowns in three straight games now against Wisconsin, Ohio State and UConn. Somehow this is bad. By the way, I'm throwing a little down on the following prop: Will Vincent Smith score a TD? A Yes bet pays out at +130. I'll ride it. Also, both Shaw and Smith proved to be good blockers throughout the day. Smith hammered a UConn defender, helping to free up Denard's 32-yard TD run to make it 14-0. I guess Magnus wasnt satisfied with that play since Smith didnt officially Pancake block him. Anyway, Magnus, stop hating on Vinnie Smith. This kid is a player. And, he's scored four of the program's last 7 touchdowns. It's time for you to get on board. The A-Train is not walking through that door, my friend.
So those are my fake props for the game. What say you, Over or Under? And for fun, I'm going to list the current player props available at sportsbook.com for tomorrow's game
Longest TD of the game (either team) O/U 49.5 yards
Denard Total Completions O/U 16.5
Denard Total Rushes O/U 20.5
Will Vinnie Smith Score A TD: Yes +130, No -140
Stonum Catches O/U 4
Koger Catches O/U 2.5
Crist Total Completions O/U 21.5
What Will Crist Throw First: TD -200, INT +160
Allen Rushing Yards O/U 85.5 yards
Floyd Receiving Yards O/U 88.5 yards
Rudolph Catches, O/U 4.5
Michigan Total Points O/U 24
Notre Dame Total Points, O/U 28
Place your bets. This book accepts MGoPoints
Also, dont forget to play the Pick-4!!!!!