It's not hyperbole to say that Saturday's college football matchup in Columbus between No. 3 Michigan and No. 2 Ohio State is one of the biggest games in Big Ten history. Both teams are unbeaten entering the matchup for the first time since 2006. The winner is in the Big Ten title game (and would be favored to win), and then get to the College Football Playoff. The loser probably has no path to the playoff. Ohio State is -7.5 at Caesars Sportsbook, but bettors are backing the Wolverines despite the uncertain status of star running back Blake Corum.
This is the fourth time Michigan and Ohio State have met in the AP Poll era with both teams entering the game undefeated. The Buckeyes are 2-0-1 in the previous three with the tie in 1973. Ohio State has not lost a Big Ten game at Ohio Stadium since the 2015 season and have won eight in a row at the Horseshoe in the series.
The Buckeyes opened as 8.5-point favorites at the book. but that line has dipped to Ohio State -7.5, while the total has also fallen from 57.5 to 56. Michigan (+240 on the moneyline) has received the most spread and moneyline bets so far for the entire Week 13 slate at the book. The schools have played 43 games with the score decided by seven points or less. Ohio State leads, 20-17-6, with its last win in 2016 (30-27 2OT). Michigan's last one-score win: 2011 (40-34).
"It's interesting that bettors are leaning Michigan," said Joey Feazel, lead college football trader at Caesars Sportsbook. "I understand that they're getting over a touchdown, but there's still questions around Blake Corum. We saw last week when he went down how much of an impact he has on that Michigan team. If it's announced that he's out, I'd expect this line to go up about a point to 8.5. I expect this to be our top handle game of the weekend, it's just such a massive matchup."
The most lopsided action has been on the total, where the Under has taken 90.6% of the handle along with 58.9% of the tickets. The game features two top 10 defenses: Michigan is No. 1 and No. 2 nationally allowing 241.3 yards and 11.7 points per game, respectively. Ohio State is No. 9 and No. 10 at 283.4 total yards and 16.9 points.
As for Corum, he's +1500 to win the Heisman Trophy and pretty clearly won't win it but should be a finalist. He is in question because of a knee injury he suffered in last week's close win over Illinois. Jim Harbaugh has been coy about Corum's status – I've seen reports both that he will play and will not.
Earlier this week, offensive lineman Ryan Hayes may have had a slip of the tongue: "I think we've planned on this, he's a great player, but I think everybody else is going to step up with him out and I think we're up to the challenge and we'll do that."
Corum ranks third in the country in rushing yards (1,457), the highest total by a Wolverine since Denard Robinson's 2010 season (1,702 yards) and the most by a UM back since Mike Hart in 2006 (1,562 yards). Corum is tied for first in the nation in total touchdowns (19). He has picked up 96 first downs, which is the second most in the nation. Corum has registered 22 runs of 15-plus yards (tied-fourth, nationally). He is the first player in U-M history with a rushing touchdown in 11 straight games.
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