Rutgers @


Sat, Sep 25
12:30 PM Pacific
Rotation: 401
Odds: Michigan -20.5, Total: 49.5

Game Analysis

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Strong Opinion – MICHIGAN (-20.5)  36   Rutgers  10

Michigan is back to being an elite team after last year’s 2-4 campaign in which the defense rated at 0.1 yards per play worse than average. In the prior 6 seasons, the Wolverines’ defense had been in a range of 1.4 yppl better than average to 1.0 yppl better than average each season. A new defensive coordinator has got that unit back on course, as Michigan’s stop unit has yielded just 4.3 yards per play and 11.3 points per game to Western Michigan, Washington, and Northern Illinois, who would combine to average 5.8 yppl against an average defense.

The Wolverines’ offense has averaged 47 points on over 500 yards per game at 7.9 yppl thus far but the number of big plays is not likely to continue, as Ronnie Bell (1 target for 76 yards) is out for the season and getting an average of 32 yards on wide-receiver reverses (5 for 160 yards) is also unsustainable. However, the trio of Michigan running backs has average 7.2 ypr and quarterback Cade McNamara has been very efficient at 65% completions with zero interceptions and 10.0 yards per pass play (8.2 yppp if you take out the 1 pass for 76 yards to Bell).

Michigan’s run-heavy attack matches up well against a Rutgers’ defense that has been very good overall (4.3 yppl allowed to teams that would combine to average 5.0 yppl against an average defense) but the strength of the Scarlet Knights’ defense is their pass-rush (4.7 sacks per game) and a secondary that’s allowed just 46% completions (although to horrible quarterbacks). Rutgers has allowed 5.1 yards per rushing play against teams that would combine to average only 4.4 yprp against an average defense, so Michigan’s ground game should be able to move the ball. If the Wolverines can run for 348 yards at 6.3 yprp (their worst average in 3 games) against Washington’s stout defensive front, then they can have success against a mediocre Rutgers’ run defense. The Scarlet Knights’ pass defense also won’t be as good without star CB Max Melton, who has been suspended for some mischief he got into last weekend. Melton has 2 of the team’s 3 interceptions, has broken up a total of 6 passes in just 3 games and he also blocked a kick on special teams. Rutgers should still have a good pass defense without Melton but Michigan’s top two receivers are both averaging 23 yards per catch or more and one of them should take advantage of Melton’s backup when the Wolverines decide to pass.

Rutgers’ biggest issue is an overrated offense that is not nearly as good as their 41 points per game would suggest. The Knights have managed only 5.0 yards per play against a trio of defenses that would combine to allow 5.8 yppl to an average offensive team. That attack is worse than all 3 of the offensive units that Michigan has faced this season and the Wolverines haven’t allowed more than 14 points in any game and probably won’t in this game either.

Rutgers has been better on the scoreboard than they actually are because they’ve enjoyed 10 points per game of special teams value and are +8 in turnover margin thus far (another 11 points per game). That good fortune is not going to continue, although they do have a great punter and should continue to receive a couple of points per game in special teams (Michigan is also good in special teams though).

Rutgers is a pretty good team but they’re not in the same league as Michigan. The math using this year’s games only would favor Michigan by 30 points and my updated ratings favor the Wolverines by 24 points. In addition to the line value, Michigan applies to a 100-35-2 ATS home favorite momentum situation and a 30-3-1 ATS early season indicator. Michigan is a Strong Opinion at -21 or less.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Rutgers
  • Michigan


  • Run Plays 41.7 28.3
  • Run Yards 157.7 145.7
  • YPRP 3.8 5.1


  • Pass Comp 20.3 13.0
  • Pass Att 28.7 28.0
  • Comp % 70.9% 46.4%
  • Pass Yards 209.0 149.0
  • Sacks 1.3 4.7
  • Sack Yards 9.0 30.0
  • Sack % 4.4% 14.3%
  • Pass Plays 30.0 32.7
  • Net Pass Yards 200.0 119.0
  • YPPP 6.7 3.6


  • Total Plays 71.7 61.0
  • Total Yards 357.7 264.7
  • YPPL 5.0 4.3


  • Int 0.0 1.0
  • Int % 0.0% 3.6%
  • Fumbles 0.0 1.7
  • Turnovers 0.0 2.7
  • Points 41.0 11.3
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