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Three reasons why Michigan is still a 15/1 favorite to win it all

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Michigan is ahead of 20/1 Penn State for winning it all, despite losing many of their starters to the NFL. Why?

NCAA Football: Michigan Spring Game Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan had 19 players move on this year to deals with an NFL team, four more than any other college football team and the most in program history. When a team loses that much talent, it would usually follow up with a “rebuilding” year and at least one down year. For Michigan however, that’s not the case.

The lastest odds released by The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has Michigan at 15/1 to win it all, falling slightly from 12/1 on January 7. Losing 19 NFL-type players you would think that would move farther down, especially behind the Big Ten Champions of Penn State.

There are only four teams in front of Michigan, including the team visiting The Big House on November 25.

  1. Alabama 3/1
  2. Ohio State 4/1
  3. Florida State and USC 7/1
  4. Oklahoma, Michigan, and LSU 15/1

Why Are Michigan’s Odds Still So High?

Gather ‘round and grab a cup of milk as we look at three reasons why they still sit so high at winning it all.

A Talented Defense Not To Forget About

Sure, the defense last year was one of the best in the country and most exciting to watch. This defense will have several guys back on the line including Rashan Gary, Maurice Hurst, Bryon Mone, and Chase Winovich, among others. A recent story from Barton Simmons with 247 Sports explains why Rashan Gary will live up to the hype as a sophomore. Hurst also has the top pass rushing productivity among defensive tackles in the nation returning this year. The defensive line rotation will have a few new guys still, especially in the secondary, but Don Brown will develop this group like he’s done in the past as the season goes on.

The latest talk from Jim Harbaugh last Friday was Brad Hawkins, who has played wide receiver, is being trained to play safety. This will help fill those shoes of Lewis and Peppers that made last seasons defense so lethal.

A Manageable Schedule

This season has a lot to like when you look at the overall schedule and what the road tests are compared to last year. The non-conference schedule gives Michigan another opportunity to take on Florida, the Luke Fickell in his first season as Cincinnati, and ends with a solid Air Force squad. The toughest road game on paper has to be against Penn State on October 21, but its hard not to look past Florida, especially with the latest news that Malik Zaire will officially transfer and compete for the starting position against the Wolverines.

The other toughest game with a lot on the line is November 25 against Ohio State, but its at home. If both can beat Penn State, the winner goes to Indianapolis. Week 11 is a trip to Wisconsin, so that game could also bring some problems in that tough environment. The bye week comes at week five after the conference opener at Purdue, so the team can prepare for Michigan State on October 7, which is potentially at night.

Offensive Firepower With Young Talent

This offense has many question marks still, but there will definitely be stiff competition for starting positions all over leading up to the season opener. The quarterback group will likely be led by Wilton Speight, but that’s not saying we will see him start on September 2 in Texas. We all know what Jim Harbaugh can do with talented quarterbacks, he makes them even better.

And with some talented new members like Tarik Black and Donovan Peoples Jones, the returning group of Chris Evans, Khalid Hill, and Kareem Walker, and an offensive line that could quickly become a solid group - this offense could really go far. Mason Cole, Ben Bredeson, and Michael Onwenu will lead the line, but the other talented incoming freshmen of Cesar Ruiz and Chuck Filiaga could make a surprise impact, as well.

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Other position changes can be read in our latest story posted. Our latest roundtable had the Maize N Brew crew talking about and grading the offensive line. We know this staff can recruit and develop talent that fits the team needs. Las Vegas certainly likes our chances as well, with the odds this high on Michigan in early June.