College Football Betting Preview: #15 Michigan Wolverines at Connecticut Huskies

#15 Michigan Wolverines at Connecticut Huskies
Rentschler Field – East Hartford, Connecticut

Saturday, September 21, 2013, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ABC or ESPN Game Plan
Opening Line: Michigan -18 1/2
Current Line: Michigan -19 1/2
Opening Total: 52
Current Total: 51 1/2
Opening Money Line: Michigan -900 / UConn +620
Current Money Line: Michigan -1200 / UConn +750

Michigan is a 19.5 point favorite at UConn Saturday.

Michigan is a 19.5 point favorite at UConn Saturday.

The #15 Michigan Wolverines are 3-0 after surviving an upset bid from Akron last week in Ann Arbor. Next up, the Wolverines travel to the 0-2 Connecticut Huskies. This is only the second meeting between the schools. Michigan beat Connecticut 30-10 in 2010 in the first game at the then newly renovated Big House in Ann Arbor.

Michigan is coached by Brady Hoke. The Wolverines go on the road for the first time this season after home wins over Central Michigan 59-9, Notre Dame 41-30, and Akron 28-24. Michigan is 2-1 ATS and the total is also 2-1 this season. The Wolverines were 35.5 point favorites against Akron and the total was 59.5.

Michigan quickly jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but Akron kicked a field goal to make it 7-3. Neither team would score again for the rest of the first half. Akron took a 10-7 lead 5 minutes into the third quarter. The Wolverines scored 14 straight points before the end of the third to make it 21-10. Akron scored just seconds into the fourth on a 27 yard pick six. It was one of four Michigan turnovers, including 3 picks from quarterback Devin Gardner.

The Zips would score with just over 4 minutes to go to take a 24-21 lead. Michigan scored less than a minute and a half later to retake the lead 28-24.  Akron returned the kickoff to their 25 and took over with 2:49 left. Akron drove all the way down to the Michigan 11 but took a delay of game penalty to make it 1st and 15 at the 16. Akron quarterback Kyle Pohl threw what appeared to be a touchdown pass to L.T. Smith , but replays showed the receiver’s knee was down at the two. Akron ran it up the middle but lost two yards. The Zips called a time out with 5 seconds left. Pohl’s pass on fourth and 3 sailed a couple of feet past the receiver, and Michigan survived the monumental upset bid by the plucky Zips. Michigan had 425 total yards and Akron had 418.  The Zips had 2 turnovers as well.

Michigan is outscoring teams 42.7-21. The Wolverines are averaging 449.3 total yards per game and 195 rushing yards per game. On defense Michigan is allowing 346 total yards including the 11th best rush defense in the country at 89.7 yards per game. The Wolverines are -2 in turnovers with 8 giveaways. Michigan averages 50 penalty yards per game. The Wolverines are 21/39 on third and fourth down conversions. Michigan has forced 5 sacks and allowed 3. The Wolverines are 12/14 scoring in the red zone with 11 touchdowns.

Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner has completed 60.3% of his passes for 704 yards with 7 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He is also the leading rusher with 30 carries for 237 yards and 4 touchdowns. Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint has 55 carries for 199 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 3 catches for 57 yards. Receiver Jeremy Gallon has 18 catches, 297 yards and 4 touchdowns. Devin Funchess has 7 catches, 131 yards and a touchdown. Four defensive players are listed as questionable to out Saturday.

Connecticut is coached by Paul Pasqualoni. The Huskies are looking for their first win after home losses to Towson 33-18 and last week against Maryland 32-21. UConn is 0-2 ATS and both games have gone over the total. The Huskies were 4.5 underdogs against Maryland and the total was 47.

The Huskies jumped out to a 7-0 first quarter lead. Maryland took a 10-7 lead in the second on a 41 yard touchdown run from quarterback C.J. Brown, and a 29 yard field goal. UConn tied it up at 10-10 with a field goal with 4 minutes to go in the second. Maryland took a 13-10 lead on a 21 yard field goal as time expired for halftime. Maryland outscored UConn 14-3 in the 3rd on a touchdown pass from Brown and a 43 yard pick six to take a 27-13 lead. The Terps would add a safety and a field goal in the fourth to go up 32-13, UConn would add a late touchdown and a two point conversion to pull within 32-21. Neither team would score again. Maryland had 501 total yards including 224 rushing yards. The Huskies had 383 total yards but just 34 rushing yards. Maryland overcame 3 turnovers and forced 2 of their own.

UConn is being outscored 32.5-19.5 this season. The Huskies are averaging 336.5 yards per game on offense including just 59 rushing yards per game. The Huskies are #102 in points scored, #104 in total offense, and #124 out of 125 teams in rushing. On defense, Connecticut is allowing 447 total yards per game including 212.5 rushing yards. The Huskies are #101 in total defense and #104 against the run. UConn is even in turnovers with 4 takeaways. The Huskies are 10/34 on third and forth down conversions. UConn has allowed 10 sacks and hasn’t forced one . The Huskies are 4/4 scoring in the red zone with one touchdowns.

Connecticut quarterback Chandler Whitmer has completed 60.8% of his passes for 555 yards with 3 touchdowns and 3 picks. Running back Lyle McCombs has 36 carries, 129 yards, and a touchdown, along with 8 catches for 36 yards. Receiver Shakim Phillips had 15 catches, 255 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is probable with a shoulder injury. Geremy Davis has 10 catches for 154 yards.

Michigan is 5-0 ATS against teams with losing records, 5-1 after failing to cover, 13-6-1 in non-conference games, 2-5 after a straight up win, 7-18-1 in road games, and 2-7 after allowing more than 280 passing yards.

Connecticut is 39-19-1 ATS after a straight up loss, 2-6-1 in September, 2-8-1 in non-conference games and overall, 2-8 after allowing 450 total  yards or more, 1-4-1 after passing for more than 280 yards, 1-5-1 at home, after rushing for less than 100 yards, and on grass, and 0-5-1 after failing to cover.

I think you can chalk up last week’s scare against Akron to the Wolverines suffering an emotional letdown against the Zips a week after Michigan played rival Notre Dame for the last time for the foreseeable future in the Big House.  Gardner must be more consistent and cut down on the turnovers. It might not matter a UConn team that has an anemic offense. Gardner and Toussaint should have a field day against the porous Husky defense. The angry Wolverines roll in this game even on the road.

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