Week 1: Wolverines vs Utes Odds
College football betting sees the Michigan Wolverines taking on the Utah Utes Thursday September 3rd at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake CIty. Cappers Picks provides complimentary handicapping picks all NCAA football season long so stay tuned for more FREE college football predictions.
Michigan (0-0) vs. Utah (0-0)
Date: Thursday, September 3rd
Time: 8:30 PM
Venue: Rice-Eccles Stadium – Salt Lake City
NCAA Football Spread: Utah -5.5
NCAA Betting Total: 46.0
NCAA Moneyline Odds: Utah -210
The Michigan Wolverines will travel to Utah to take on the Utes coming off their 8th winning season under head coach Kyle Whittingham (two losing seasons at Utah).
Utah brings back 7 defensive starters including defensive linemen Hunter Dimick and Lowell Lotulelei. Utah has one of the better backs in the country in Devontae Booker – who rushed for 1512 yards including 815 yards after contact in 2014 in his first season as a junior-college transfer.
Harbaugh has always been a great defensive coach but Booker will be no easy task for the Wolverine defense. Their defense was pretty strong in 2014 – 27th in the FBS in points allowed per game (22.4). And, they do bring back 10 defensive starters.
Keep in mind though – these are not Harbaugh’s players.
His best defensive seasons at Stanford were with the players he recruited.
Michigan did sport a top 30 defense in the nation last season – however, they didn’t exactly face a difficult set of offenses. And, when they were up against a high-powered offense –particularly on the road, they struggled.
They gave up 42 points at Ohio State, 31 at Notre Dame, 35 at Michigan State, and even 26 at Rutgers.
They will get a shot at redemption against Utah after losing 26-10 at home in 2014.
Offensively, the Wolverines struggled in 2014 averaging only 20 ppg led by dual threat quarterback Devin Gardner. They bring back 4 starters on the offensive line so protecting their quarterback won’t be a problem.
But waiting until September 1st to announce who it is doesn’t insert too much confidence into Wolverine fans.
Utah will bring 7 starters on each side of the ball from 2014 but most importantly, their starting quarterback in Travis Wilson and running back, Booker, and their two big boys on the defensive line – Dimick and Lotulelei.
They were a top 25 defense last season and should be improved on the offensive side of ball. The Utes – under Whittingham’s guide – have learned how to win.
They have not dropped a season opener since 2007.
They will look to get their 2015 campaign started on the right foot at home under the bright lights during college football’s opening week.
Welcoming a big profile school such as Michigan to town may have scared the Utes years ago, but beginning their 5th season in the Pac-12 Utah has learned the feeling of playing big time opponents.
NCAA Football Handicapping Trends
• Utah was 9-4 ATS in 2014, including 4-0 in non-conference games
• Michigan was 5-7 ATS in 2014, including 1-3 non-conference games
• Utah was 5-3 ATS at home in 2014
• Michigan was 2-3 ATS on the road in 2014
• Jim Harbaugh 27-21-1 ATS in 4 seasons at Stanford
Week 1 NCAA Football Prediction
There is a lot of hype surrounding Michigan for Harbaugh’s first season in Ann Arbor. They may steal some wins in the Big Ten later in the season. But, they will struggle off the bat.
Harbaugh needs some time to get his players to commit to his style. Week 1 on the road at Utah will be too soon to have his guys ready – after all these aren’t HIS guys. Booker and Wilson are poised to form a dynamic QB-RB duo in the Pac-12.
Utah’s defense will cause too many problems for Michigan.
4* Free NCAA Betting Pick: Utah -5.5
Harbaugh will have his boys fired up for their first game under his reign and that excitement may translate to some early success.
But over the span of 60 minutes, Utah will prove to be too much and too good for Harbaugh’s boys.
Week 1 Score Prediction: Michigan 17 – Utah 27
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