Michigan Debuts As 2.5 Point Underdog Against Minnesota

Eric Rutter

Now that the Big Ten is roughly one week away with Illinois at Wisconsin kicking off the slate on Friday, Oct. 23, the first betting line's for the conference's opening week have been released.

According to BetOnline.AG, Michigan debuts as a 2.5 point underdog to Minnesota on the road. Though that line can move a bit before Oct. 24 arrives, it provides a quality look into what Vegas thinks is going to happen in the game with U-M starting away from home.

When taking 2019's results into consideration, Michigan finished with a 7-6 record against the spread, so the Wolverines were able to cover just over 50% of the time. A year before that, Michigan was 6-7, and in 2017 U-M turned in a poor 5-7-1 record, so last year's above .500 record may be the exception as opposed to the rule for Michigan under Jim Harbaugh. 

On the other hand, Minnesota was one of the best teams in the Big Ten at covering the spread by producing a 8-4-1 record last year under head coach P.J. Fleck, and they will be playing at home to start the year.

As for the rest of the conference, here is how BetOnline.AG sees the opening week of Big Ten football: 

Friday, Oct. 23

  • Illinois at Wisconsin (minus-23.5)

Saturday, Oct. 24

  • Penn State (minus-7) at Indiana
  • Nebraska at Ohio State (minus-21.5)
  • Rutgers at Michigan State (minus-11.5)
  • Iowa (minus-2.5) at Purdue
  • Michigan at Minnesota (minus-2.5)
  • Maryland at Northwestern (minus-11)

As with any pre-season declaration, such as top 25 rankings, it is difficult to predict with any precision how a team will actually play on the field without any prior film to go off of. That said, Michigan is replacing double digit starters and will be on the road to open the year against a ranked opponent, and it is well known that this particular scenario is not one that historically goes in Harbaugh's favor. 

The most interesting line on that docket is not Ohio State a a 21.5 point favorite. Rather than that likely runaway contest, having Michigan State as 11.5 point favorites is a bit surprising. The Spartans will be playing at home, but MSU has holes on both sides of the football and will be in his very first season as head coach. Michigan State, as with many teams across the country, will have to work out some kinks with a new coaching regime in charge to begin the 2020 season. 

Do you agree with the opening lines for the start of the Big Ten season? Which team looks like easy money in your eyes? Let us know!

Register today for free or log in to access this premium article.