College Football Best Bet: Wolverines Under 9.5 Wins

  • BetOnline has set the over/under on Michigan’s regular season win total at 9.5
  • Head coach Jim Harbaugh is still looking for his first berth in the College Football Playoff
  • The Wolverines lost four key defensive starters to the NFL Draft   

It’s hard to believe this is already Jim Harbaugh’s fifth year in Ann Arbor. After “mutually agreeing” to part ways with the San Francisco 49ers after the 2014 season, the former University of Michigan quarterback pledged excellence upon his return to campus.

While the Wolverines’ inability to make the College Football Playoff has made Harbaugh’s homecoming feel somewhat underwhelming, keep in mind that San Francisco is 17-47 in their last four years without the khaki-wearing coach.

With Michigan a popular choice to win the Big Ten, expectations have never been higher for Harbaugh. BetOnline has set the school’s win total at 9.5. Do we take the over (-190) or under (+165)?

2019 NCAAF Regular-Season Win Total: Michigan

Team

Regular-Season Wins

Over Odds Under Odds
Michigan Wolverines 9.5 -190 +165

*Odds in the table as of Aug. 15, 2019.

Bet Michigan UNDER 9.5 Wins

After drawing criticism for running an archaic offense that finished 50th nationally in yards per game (419.5) last seasons, the 55-year-old coach handed the keys to offensive coordinator Josh Gattis this offseason.

The 35-year-old Gattis is currently in a war of words with new Maryland coach Mike Locksley over which one of the two deserves credit for an Alabama offense that led the nation with 92 touchdowns in 2018.

With his first opportunity to call plays, Gattis is expected to run an up-tempo, no-huddle spread offense that better utilizes the rushing ability of senior quarterback Shea Patterson, however, anonymous Big Ten coaches are wondering if Harbaugh will truly embrace the spread or revert back to his old ways.

PFF graded Patterson better than Dwayne Haskins last season and the 22 year-old signal caller has apparently had a standout camp. Offseason puff pieces from the Detroit area are also calling the offensive line “the best of the Harbaugh era”, praising the team’s wide receivers, and boasting about the unexpected running back depth.

All that notwithstanding, Michigan is no lock to win 10 games considering Harbaugh has only accomplished that feat in two of four years at the Big House and three of his eight seasons in college football.

Experts are projecting the Wolverines to have the hardest schedule in the Big Ten and one of the most difficult in the country with contests against Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, Army, Wisconsin and Notre Dame.

There’s also reason to be skeptical about a defense that lost linebacker Devin Bush (10th overall to Steelers), defensive end Rashan Gary (12th overall to Packers), speedy edge rusher Chase Winovich (3rd RD to Patriots), and cornerback David Long (3rd RD to Rams) to the National Football League.

With starters missing on all three levels of their defense and a tough schedule, there won’t be a lot of room for error for an offense led by an inexperienced play-caller with an impatient head coach looking over his shoulder.

Look for Michigan to win nine regular season games and lose their fourth-consecutive bowl game, leading to Harbaugh’s long-awaited return to the NFL.

Steve Dominey

Steve has almost 15 years of experience in marketing, PR and sports television. After acquiring a Journalism degree from Carleton University, he assembled highlight packs for Canada's most-watched sports network (TSN) before transitioning to a career in communications. He describes himself as a good father, great dog owner, and mediocre gambler and husband.