One of the most profitable money machines the last couple years in Big 10 plays has been betting against Michigan and taking the Over in their games. Do you know that since the start of the Rodriguez Era that had you been betting against Michigan and taken the Over in every one of their Big 10 games, you'd be standing firm with a 31-11 record. It's 9-1 this season alone, with only the Under 64.5 hitting against MSU keeping it from a clean slate. That's an 18.9 unit profit just in the last 25 months. How many stocks or 401K's can really claim that? A dozen times both have hit in the same game, so had you been savvy enough, for example, to parlay both plays for an additional half unit (the payoff for a 2-team parlay is typically 13/5) every time out, you could have added an additional 11.7 units to your bounty. Jimminy Crickets on a Cracker!! That's over three grand if you're betting $100 units. I cant say that I've been doing this. I've been biting on the Over's quite regularly over the last three seasons, but I seem to alternate, smart pragmatic plays against Michigan with homerish DAMN STRAIGHT I THINK WE'VE TURNED A CORNER, LOOK WHO THE REAL SQUARE IS plays on Michigan. For examples of the former, see MSU +4.5 and Illinois +3. For examples of the latter, see my picks on Michigan against Iowa and Penn State.
I say this not to pile on our team. I know there is large demographic here who could care less if Michigan ever covers a spread. In my heart, I'm like that too. The Wolverines are one of the few sporting passions I have. I just want them to win. When it comes to the other programs I flirt with, like Iowa, Northwestern, Georgia Tech and Boise State, they are all dead and useless to me if they don't cover. Nor do I bring this up to tout how
brilliant lucky I was a week ago in following this or to advise doing the same tomorrow when the Wolverines take on Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Actually, wait. I do advise just that . That is why I bring this up. Why not take the Over? It’s a foregone conclusion these days with Michigan football. It takes some sting out of our defensive woes. When looking at what side to play, as a handicapper, you cant trust this defense laying any chalk, certainly not almost two touchdowns worth. Michigan has made every offense in the Big 10 look good for a couple of years now. No reason to think that wont continue. Besides, Michigan has not been up by more than a single score against a decent opponent since the Notre Dame game. Now we need them to finish almost two scores ahead to cover? No thanks. I'm sticking with the bandwagon. Take Purdue +13 and the Over 61. Mathlete calls for this to go over the total, and I concur. Even though folks who have picked against Michigan all year are suddenly laying the chalk, it's really the only way to go tomorrow. As for the future, it should get better against the point spread. Rodriguez was 28-19-1 ATS against the Big East during his tenure at West Virginia (26-14-1 after his first season). We can only dream of an era when any Michigan head coach covers more than 60 percent of the time in league play.
My First Kiss With Alcohol
Now its time for your history lesson. Michigan and Purdue have not had the most thrilling of rivalries. You can make a case that the dramatic wins by Purdue the last two seasons are among the most classic games in this series. Today’s clip, via Wolverine Historian, is from the 1980 game. It’s really one of my favorite Purdue/Michigan games. Michigan had a defense that refused to give up touchdowns, the gutty quarterbacking of John Wangler and, of course, Anthony Carter. After dropping a pair of heartbreaking games early in the season to Notre Dame—the infamous Harry Oliver kick—and to South Carolina, powered by eventual Heisman winner George Rogers, Michigan tore through the Big 10. They were headed towards a winner take all showdown with Ohio State for the Roses. But they first had to get by the week before a ranked Purdue squad, led by one of the better quarterbacks in nation Mark Herrmann.
This game stands out because I was in attendance as an 8-year-old. It was the first time I had ever been to a Senior Day, and I was beside myself that none of the guys serenaded over the PA would ever play for Michigan again. What, no more Andy Cannavino? Say it aint so!! It was also my first experience with the UNACCEPTABLE crowd. Some yokel a few rows up from us kept heckling Bo and the team as the effort was not going to be good enough to win in Columbus next week. Good grief, Michigan won by 26 points shutting out one of the best offenses in the country.
It also was the first time I tasted alcohol. Some folks were passing a flask of whiskey around and jokingly asked if I wanted some. Ah, yes please. I grabbed the flask and took a gulp. Shockingly, my grandmother allowed this happen. The good times were rolling, I guess. Or her love affair with Anthony Carter was so deep she didn't care what I was doing. Anyway, it burned, was the worst thing I had ever tasted and, in reality, jump started a love affair with alcohol that runs to this day, especially on game day. What’s funny is she always waved off the Pastor in church every time he tried to give me wine for communion. What does this mean? It means what happens at Michigan Stadium, stays at Michigan Stadium. Also, my grandmother rocked. I cant believe its been over 20 years since she left us and I’ve talked to her about Michigan football. Or talked about anything. I do know this. She would have adored Denard Robinson. That’s probably why I am fast and loud to defend him from any critique this fall.
Anyway, the 1980 team is one of my favorites. Enjoy this vintage performance against Purdue.
OVER/UNDER PROP UPDATES
Way back in the summer, I did Over/Under posts with mock season prop bets this year for Michigan. I did a post with five props for the offense and another with five props for the defense. With three-quarters of the season in the books, let's see where we stand on those. Most of them are actually done deals already.
Total QB Touchdowns, O/U 30.5......this has never been in danger of going Under all season. And, it went over last week on Forcier's touchdown pass to tie the game to Darryl Stonum. For the record, Michigan QBs are on pace to account for more than 42 touchdowns this regular season. Clearly, the offense is both one dimensional and cant work in the Big 10.
Drew Dileo Kick Returns, O/U 1.5......This has been stuck at one since the BG game. He actually had two returns that day, but one was scrubbed from the books due to a penalty. Can we get a fair catch or something from good old #26 to help the over here?
Players who will exceed their career number of catches during this single season, O/U 5.5......I came up with a weird one here, but those who picked the Over are the winners. The game was how many guys on the team who catch more passes this single season than what their career numbers were going into the season. Six folks have already down that: Roundtree, Stonum, Hemingway, Grady, Smith and Shaw. This is probably best illustrated with a basic chart. I understand folks like those around here:
|Player||Catches through ‘09||2010 season|
So, that's 6. Winner winner, chicken dinner for the Over. Can anyone else top their career mark this season? Kevin Koger needs a big rally and 14 catches the rest of the way. Not good for the player I labeled as the offense's breakout player for 2010 in HTTV. Martell Webb needs one catch to tie, two to pass his career numbers this season. Terrance Robinson and Jerome Stokes both had 1 career catch entering the season. Both have 1 catch this season. Those folks who took the Under here thinking the forward pass was a thing of the past at Michigan misjudged the situation badly.
Michigan's Leading Rusher, O/U 825 yards.......LOL TO ALL UNDER BETS LOLOLOLOL
TO Margin, Higher/Lower -6.5......Gack, this looks like its going higher. Could Michigan be headed for its third straight minus double digit TO margin? The good news is it means we'll probably improve our record again in 2011 in the aftermath. Generally speaking two-thirds of the teams that end -10 or better improve their overall record the following year and Michigan has followed this pattern in each of the last two season improving from 3 to 5 and then from 5 to (so far) 6 wins in the wake of double digits turnover deficits. So, we might have that going for us. The bad news? Good grief, if cant get a statement on turnovers, there is no guarantee we're getting off this six win number. We're all gun shy waiting for the next fumble pr pick. Anyway, for Michigan to get to seven wins and have a prayer for more, this -6 needs to come back into play for the rest of the month.
Mike Martin, O/U 13.5 combined sacks/TFL's........Injuries throughout October have hindered him from stuffing the stat sheet. He's only at 5.5 in an otherwise All Big-10 worthy campaign for the junior. Personally, I feel he crushes this number a year from now.
Mark Moundros, total tackles O/U 54.5......People who bought into this summer myth are probably a little chaffed at the moment.
Carvin Johnson, total tackles/sacks/tfls's/pbu/ints O/U 64.5.......see above. Although injuries and the fact that he was probably playing out of position when he was in the game conspired against him
Total Points allowed O/U 299.5............Michigan has already allowed 305 points. The Over has already hit. I blame last weeks overtime sessions
Total Takeaways: O/U 20.5............Good grief, this isn't even close. Michigan has just 10 takeaways right now. It's as much of an offender to the team TO margin as the miscues on offense in recent weeks. Maybe Vinopal turns into an interception machine these final three games. Otherwise, this is heading Under.
As you can see, not a lot of drama left with these props.
BIG DAY FOR WIN TOTAL ACTION
As far as real prop bets, tomorrow's game against Purdue is a red letter day for anyone who picked a side in the over/under 7 on total wins for Michigan. Those skeptics who took the under have a lot riding on the underdog Boilermakers. Their backs are to the wall. Those optimistic players from the summer have a lot riding on the favored Wolverines. A win, gets them no worse than a push, their money back and two chances to get the over and/or hedge their bets a little. After two years of the Win Total going Under, a push on O/U 7 would......be.......progress?
Speaking of Vegas lines, there has been quite a bit of movement lately in the two remaining games for Michigan. Let's talk Wisconsin first. Back in the summer, the Wolverines were the underdog in this game as bookmakers released a Wisconsin -3 number. As the season got underway and the Wolverines looked to be rolling during September, the line swung a 180 and the Wolverines became 3-point chalk. Since then, the line has corrected itself and then some. Today, if you're so inclined, you can get Michigan +6.5 against Wisconsin next week. The Ohio State line has spent most of the season as OSU -12.5 to -14. Now? The Buckeyes are 18-point chalk in The Game. These lines wont be available tomorrow--most books take down Games Of The Year lines during the weekends when games are being played--we'll see what the numbers look like when it comes around to game week. Remember, underdogs who outrush their foes cover at a very high rate. We know Michigan can run the ball. If you think they can contain the Badgers and Buckeyes rushing attacks, then grab those points.
GETTING BACK TO FAKE PROPS
This has been the shtick most of the year, so without further adieu my special fake props for tomorrow that might help tell the tale of the overall game.
Largest Lead Of The Game, O/U 10.5 points.........let's forget about Michigan covering the spread. How about going up two scores, first? As hinted above, its been a huge problem. Ever since Denard's long TD run against the Irish, the Wolverines have come up empty every single time they've had a chance to extend a lead past a single score. Shanked field goals, drive killing penalties, missed fourth downs, and overall clunkiness have been the issues on those drives. Can Michigan finally buck that trend and extend to a double digit lead even if its for a fleeting moment? For big games, you'll see oddsmakers release props like this for the game's largest lead. I stay away from those for the most part as they sound like complicated versions of the cute props wondering if Lipscomb will ever hold a lead against Duke in a #1 vs #16 hoops tournament game. But, in the game within the game tomorrow, it will be interesting to see if Michigan can finally show a little killer instinct on offense. If they're finally able to build on a lead, we might not be hyperventilating tomorrow in the fourth quarter for a change. But, if its Purdue who busts this Over, then Lord help the Mods in the CIL. This place will be burning down.
Total Yards Sean Robinson O/U 300 yards........really let's count whoever takes snaps behind center for the Boilermakers here. Needless to say, we all know that quarterbacks have seen single day boons to their total offense numbers when playing Michigan's defense. In Big 10 play, the Wolverines are allowing 316.8 total yards of offense to other teams QBs. For all games this season, that total is 298.11. Thank you Zach Frazier and whoever you were QBing BGSU for making this not look as ridiculous. For the most part it hasn't mattered if its seasoned Big 10 QB or emergency starter, the big numbers are a-coming. Tomorrow's hero is a kid named Sean Robinson. Just because he is a true freshmen and is portrayed as a third stringer, I wouldn't sleep on the guy or assume he's some stiff. In fact, he comes with proper guru ratings. He's not that far off from the recruiting profile that Tate Forcier had coming out of high school. He had offers from Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Stanford and Nebraska. Per Rivals, he was a 4-star recruit, the 10th ranked dual QB in the class and the 3rd best scrambler. I don't like the sound of any of that. No reason he cant put up a day just like Scheelhaase did a week ago, with over 200 yards passing and 100 yards rushing. In the event, Michigan holds this number below 300, it means Michigan is probably going to be safe. If not, look for a game with both clubs in the 30s. At least.
Total Rushing Yards Michigan Tailbacks, O/U 100.5 yards.........do they have an encore after their best cumulative performance of the season? Does the offense lean on these guys a bit more to protect Robinson after what happened last week? Will Toussaint actually play? Will Hopkins ever get more than like 5 five carries? Can Shaw regain his pre-injury form? Will Michael Cox finally build on that impressive effort against Eastern Michigan last year? How many good plays will Vincent Smith make that the MGoPopulace will chalk up as plays that anyone could have done? This is a tricky one. My first instinct is to always take the superstar after a 'down' effort. A week after his lowest rushing output of the season, Denard could go on a rampage. Or he could pass for more than 100 yards a quarter again, let the tailbacks take care of business and rest those legs for the two big ones to close the season. I wouldn't mind seeing a box score like last week again as opposed to 200 yards rushing from Denard. Of course, either will do for me.
My final prediction tomorrow? The largest lead will exceed 10 points, Purdue’s QB will go for more than 300 total yards in offense, but Michigan’s tailbacks will combine for another 100-yard effort. Michigan wins. The same score as the Penn State game, but this time the good guys win 41-31.