Western Michigan vs Michigan Pick and Preview – College Football September 4th

  • Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh remains on the hot seat
  • High scoring Western Michigan could threaten a big upset
  • Dangerous matchup for Michigan

Despite a 2 – 4 record in 2020, Michigan’s head coach Jim Harbaugh is back for a seventh season in Ann Arbor and only has three starters back on an offense that finished in the middle of the FBS pack. While a Big Ten team matchup against one from the MAC may appear to be an easy pick, a closer look at the strengths and vulnerabilities of each unit paint a different picture.

Western Michigan passed for almost 287 yards a game in 2020 and Michigan’s defense allowed over an average of 255 yards per contest through the air, 96th in the nation. It’s true that Michigan’s numbers were against the Big Ten and Western Michigan’s was versus the MAC, but the result of this game isn’t a foregone conclusion.

Western Michigan vs Michigan Matchup at a Glance

  • College Football
  • Western Michigan Broncos at Michigan Wolverines
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan at Michigan Stadium
  • September 4th
  • Spread: Michigan (-17) (-110), Western Michigan (+17) (-110)
  • Moneyline: Michigan (-851), Western Michigan (+580)
  • Over/under: 67 (-115o, -105o)

Western Michigan Preview: A Nail in Harbaughs’ Coffin

The Broncos went 3-3 after dropping their last two games, but were able to put up almost 42 points a game in 2020 and had the 16th rated total offense in the nation. The defense was middle of the pack in the FBS in yardage allowed but they were 94th in points allowed at 34.2 per game.

They’re clearly the underdog and they should be, but if an overmatched squad is going to have a shot at the upset, the opening game against a coach who is clearly under intense pressure is probably their best chance. With Western Michigan’s offense, there is a chance they could overwhelm Michigan late in the game.

Michigan Preview: Tough opener for the Wolverines

Harbaugh needs a good start to the season, but Western Michigan poses a credible threat if the Wolverines don’t take the Broncos seriously. A Big Ten team of Michigan’s caliber should easily prevail over one that is projected to finish third in their MAC division, but it might be difficult to get the players motivated.

On the whole, Michigan was not a very good football team in 2020 and it’s difficult to blame that entirely on Covid-19, because every program was facing the same issue. Harbaugh has a lot of work to do and perhaps the 2020 season was an anomaly, but nonetheless the Wolverines need to show significant improvement to save Harbaugh’s job.

Odds & Free Betting Analysis for This College Football Game

Both teams are playing their first game so there isn’t any current line history, but a 17 point spread for Michigan seems a bit high considering how many points Western Michigan was able to score and what the Wolverines gave up in 2020. Western Michigan has virtually their entire offense back and they could jump on Michigan early.

The over/under is set at 67, which is a tough one to bet when crunching last year’s numbers, which would compute to a total of 69.5. It’s unlikely for Western Michigan to put up over 40 on Michigan, which would make an under bet the way to go.

Western Michigan vs Michigan Pick: Michigan 34 Western Michigan 24

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Kevin Krest is the author of the PK Frazier series of four novels and the Beyond the Commentary blog with over 500 posts about the world of sports. Kevin covers golf, football and horse racing for and holds media credentials from the USGA, PGA, LPGA and Oaklawn Park.
As a media member, Kevin has attended and written in depth pieces about the U.S. Open, the U.S. Women's Open and several other LPGA and PGA Tour Champions events.