When Shea Patterson transferred from Ole Miss to Michigan it changed everything – from Ann Arbor to Columbus to Lansing to Las Vegas. The new Michigan quarterback is looked at as the key player who puts Jim Harbaugh’s National Championship plan in play. Or at least a Big Ten title.
Michigan’s offense last year struggled against the better teams. The Maize and Blue’s ranking of 105 understates the Wolverines’ big-game ineptitude. Jeff Fogle of VSiN broke down the yards-per-play totals versus top competition. Keep in mind Michigan averaged 5.2 YPP in 2017 overall:
Malaise and Blue: YPP in 2017
4.1 vs. Michigan State
3.8 vs. Penn State
3.7 at Wisconsin
4.3 vs. Ohio State
3.6 vs. South Carolina
The Wolverines scored just 10-13-10-20-19 points in those five games, all losses, including three in Ann Arbor. In the Outback Bowl, Michigan lost despite being a seven-point favorite to South Carolina.
This for a team that betting markets and the media expected to shine under Harbaugh. Michigan was ranked 11th nationally in the 2017 preseason AP poll, but started 2-5-1 against the spread, then finished with a 14-point market miss in its bowl.
Michigan, ranked No. 14 in the AP preseason poll this season, open up Saturday night at No. 12 Notre Dame (7:30, NBC).
While Notre Dame is home and ranked higher, Las Vegas isn’t either sold on the Fighting Irish or believes Patterson and the Wolverines will take care of business in Indiana.
The point spread has been pick ’em or Notre Dame -1 all week.
Michigan’s regular-season win total is nine. Betting over costs -155 on the money line, despite a schedule that includes games at Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State, with home testers versus Wisconsin and Penn State.