Ohio State hasn’t been favored by a Big Ten team in five years. Michigan is about to end that streak on Saturday.
The Wolverines entered the week as 4-point home favorites over the Buckeyes on ESPN BET. It’s the first time they’ve been favorites over Ohio State since 2018, when the Buckeyes were also 4-point underdogs against Michigan.
That was the last time Ohio State was an underdog by a Big Ten team, a 43-game streak against conference foes. It is the longest active streak of being favored against a conference in the nation, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Buckeyes beat Michigan 62-39 in 2018.
Michigan will be without coach Jim Harbaugh when it hosts the Buckeyes on Saturday in Ann Arbor. Harbaugh will serve the final game of a three-game suspension for the alleged sign-stealing scheme. Oddsmakers have downplayed the impact of Harbaugh’s absence from the bench in the Wolverines’ last two games, wins over Penn State and Maryland, and say any additional motivation caused by the controversy mitigates the loss of their coach.
Ed Salmons, a veteran Las Vegas bettor with the Westgate SuperBook, estimated Harbaugh was worth “one point” for the spread.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see the line go back up a little bit,” Salmons said.
Caesars Sportsbook had Michigan as a 6.5-point favorite before last week’s games, but reopened at -4.5 on Sunday.
“So far, there’s little money on the Buckeyes,” Adam Pullen, assistant director of operations at Caesars Sportsbook, told ESPN on Sunday. “It’s logical, because Michigan didn’t seem that attractive [Saturday] against Maryland.”
On Sunday, the line opened up to Michigan -5 at Circa Sports, a Las Vegas-based sportsbook known for catering to professional bettors. The number dropped to Michigan -3, before settling back down to -4 on Monday morning.
Michigan was a -170 moneyline favorite to win the game outright, and the over/under total was at 47 on ESPN BET on Monday.
ESPN BET odds are provided by Penn Entertainment.