ANN ARBOR, MI – The No. 2 Michigan Wolverines are gearing up for their Big Ten opener against Rutgers with head coach Jim Harbaugh’s return to the sideline. After a stellar start to the season, winning their first three games in impressive fashion, the Wolverines are aiming to maintain their momentum as they host Rutgers at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
Michigan has been a force to be reckoned with, scoring at least 30 points in each of their three victories, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 96-16. Their strong performance extends to their defense as well, with the Wolverines currently ranking second in the FBS for total defense and first in scoring defense.
One standout player for Michigan has been running back Blake Corum, who has already notched six rushing touchdowns and gained 254 rushing yards, ranking second in the nation in rushing scores. The Wolverines have also enjoyed an eight-game winning streak against Rutgers, including a commanding 52-17 win in their matchup last year. Furthermore, Michigan boasts a 15-game winning streak in conference games, while Rutgers has struggled, losing eight of its last 12 games.
However, Rutgers should not be underestimated, as they have historically covered the spread effectively in this series, including four of the last six meetings. The Scarlet Knights are coming off a strong performance against Virginia Tech, where they secured a 35-16 victory as 6.5-point favorites. Junior running back Kyle Monangai led the charge with an impressive 143 rushing yards and three touchdowns, while junior quarterback Gavin Wimsatt contributed 87 rushing yards and a score.
Rutgers’ defense has also been solid, allowing an average of just 10 points per game this season. This could pose a challenge for Michigan, as they have struggled to meet expectations as heavy favorites, failing to cover the spread in their first three games. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy’s performance will be closely watched, especially after throwing three interceptions in just 13 pass attempts against Bowling Green last week.
As kickoff approaches at noon ET in Michigan Stadium, the Wolverines are favored by 24 points, with an over/under set at 43.5 points. If you’re looking to make informed picks for this game, consider consulting the SportsLine Projection Model, which has generated impressive profits for top-rated college football picks against the spread, and is leaning towards the Over in this matchup. The model’s point-spread pick has also shown success in over 50% of simulations, so be sure to check it out on SportsLine before making your decision.