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- Finally, place a $5+ moneyline bet on The Wolverines vs. The Fighting Illini game and get $200 back if you pick the winner! (That’s $200 in addition to your winnings)
This past week, Jim Harbaugh was quoted as saying that he believes Blake Corum is the frontrunner for the Heisman trophy. It’s no surprise that Harbaugh believes this because Corum’s 1,349 rushing yards and 18 total touchdowns this season statistically put him ahead of former winners Derrick Henry, Mark Ingram, and Reggie Bush through eight games. Beyond his ridiculous year, Corum has cemented himself in the Michigan community by leading his second annual turkey drive, in which he’ll hand out 150 turkeys to families in need this Sunday. And with Illinois coming into Ann Arbor the day before, turkey likely won’t be the only thing Corum will hand out this weekend.
This is the best Michigan of the Harbaugh era, and Corum isn’t the only factor Michigan has going for them. The Wolverine defense is ranked No. 1 in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, and ranks second in pass efficiency defense and fourth in passing yards allowed per game. It’s easier for a character playing a child trafficking victim in an episode of CSI to move their chains than it is against the Wolverines. Last year’s Michigan team that went to the College Football Playoff gave up 17.1 first downs a game on average. This year’s? 12.7. Future first-round pick Mike Morris leads the team in TFLs (10.5) and ranks second in the Big 10 for sacks with 7.5. Matching a defensive line that hounds down quarterbacks like the IRS, the Wolverine secondary can stay with just about any receiver in the country. While Nebraska might not be a program many people in the Big 10 fear, they still have their fair share of four and five-star receivers. Those receivers combined for 71 yards against the Wolverines last weekend.
So Michigan is impossible to score on, and their running backs can run over opposing defenses like their Caitlyn Jenner behind the wheel of a Lexus… how’s the passing game? Quarterback JJ McCarthy is one of the Nation’s most efficient passers, and he has more weapons at his disposal than Raytheon does. He’s averaging an FBS-best 13.5 yards per attempt on play action, and his offensive line gives him so much time in the pocket that he could probably finish The Irishman while looking downfield (he’s also getting his starting left tackle Ryan Hayes back this week). The Wolverines are probably the most well-rounded team in college football, which is why Michigan (+30.2) and Ohio State (+31.2) are the only teams in the country beating their opponents by more than 30 points per game, on average.
And Illinois? The only shot the Fighting I have of winning this game is completely shutting down Blake Corum. Even then…they probably still wouldn’t win. Illinois isn’t the first great run defense the Wolverines have faced this year. Michigan had no problem against Iowa or Penn State (run defenses just as talented as Illinois’), and they rushed for well over 150 yards both times. Illinois is very dependent on its star running back, Chase Brown, who has more rushing attempts than anyone in the country. Being that Brown isn’t 100%, and the tole of this season is catching up with his body, it would be shocking if he ran for over 100 yards, even if he did play. If Brown can’t go, Reggie Brown is the likely starter; he is a significant drop-off. The Wolverines are undefeated at home over their last two seasons, and this is by far the most challenging opponent Illinois will play this year. Vegas likes Michigan -17.5, and that’s a bargain for a team that’s blown out almost all their opponents. Taking Michigan at home is the safest bet you’re going to find. Take the Wolverines moneyline and get your free $200 from DraftKings!