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Michigan Opens as an Underdog at Ohio State

Las Vegas has released its opening line for next weekend’s colossal clash between the Wolverines and the Buckeyes.

Ohio State v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

For the first time in 2016, Michigan will not be the favorite on Saturday.

The Wolverines opened as a seven-point road underdog against Ohio State on Sunday morning according to BetOnline. This is new territory for these Wolverines because they were the favorites in each of their first 11 games this season. In fact, not only were they the favorites, they were favored by double digits in each of those games.

However, this is not new territory for the Michigan program in recent years. The Wolverines have been the underdog in 10 of the previous 11 versions of The Game, with the lone exception being in 2011 when the Buckeyes had an interim head coach. In those 10 meetings when Michigan was the underdog against Ohio State, Michigan is 3-7 against the spread — beating it in 2006, 2013, and 2014 — and 0-10 outright.

It will be interesting to see how much this line moves this week. It is unknown who will be Michigan’s starting quarterback on Saturday. John O’Korn made his first start as a Wolverine against Indiana, completing just 7-of-16 passes for 59 yards, in place of the injured Wilton Speight, but, after the Michigan win, Jim Harbaugh said that Speight is “day-to-day” and could start against the Buckeyes. If Speight’s shoulder heals enough to allow him to start next weekend, that could cause the line shift towards Michigan.

Either way, this will be the first time that the Vegas sportsbooks do not expect the Wolverines to come out as victors. It’s up to the Wolverines to prove them wrong.