College Football Betting: Michigan at Utah

College Football Betting:  Michigan at Utah

Frequently, college football pointspreads are influenced by factors that have nothing to do with the game on the field. This is definitely the case here as the Michigan Wolverines travel West to take on the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. Michigan is in serious ‘rebuilding mode’ under first year head coach–and former San Francisco 49ers head coach–Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh’s ‘name recognition’ is just one of several factors priced into the line.

Michigan is one of the most storied programs in college football but their play in recent years sure doesn’t reflect that. They’ve been especially bad playing outside of Ann Arbor–the Wolverines enter this contest on a 3-7 SU/4-6 ATS run away from home. They’ve also been a slow starting team in recent years and carry a 1-6 ATS streak in September games into this year’s opener. To be fair, this all occurred under former head coach Brady Hoke. In fact, these are factors that Harbaugh was likely brought in specifically to address. But they won’t be addressed in the first game of his tenure. This betting line suggests that they will and is ‘inflated’ due to Michigan’s ‘brand name’ and Harbaugh’s perceived status as an upgrade as head coach. While we don’t dispute that Harbaugh will likely have long term success in his new gig its unrealistic to expect too much of that to happen in this game–he was brought in to rebuild the program from the ground up which by definition indicates that the current situation is a mess.

Utah, meanwhile, is in great shape under head coach Kyle Whittingham–arguably the most underrated head coach in college football. The Utes return 8 starters on each side of the ball and have been a monster in non-conference action. Utah enters on a 7-0 SU/ATS run in non-conference play. Also of note–this is the first game that Michigan has played at a significant altitude since an early 2000’s game at Colorado. They’ll be feeling the 4,600 altitude of Utah’s stadium and combined with a physical Ute defense and a power running attack will wear down as the game goes on.