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Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Michigan Wolverines Point Spread - Pick

Cincinnati Bearcats (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Michigan Wolverines (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Saturday, September 9, 2017 at 12PM EST
Where: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
TV: ABC

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: CIN +34/MICH -34
Over/Under Total: 49.5

The Cincinnati Bearcats come to Ann Arbor to face the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday in week two action. This is a tough road game for the Bearcats and it's fair to wonder what chance they really have. But weirder things have happened. In week one last Thursday, the Bearcats got their season off to a winning start with a 26-14 win over Austin Peay. It wasn't a terribly-impressive performance, but maybe they can catch the Wolverines looking past them this Saturday. Unfortunately for them, the Wolverines looked pretty tip-top in week one, flogging ranked Florida, 33-17. It wasn't even that close, with Florida's only success coming off Michigan's mistakes.

The Bearcats are coming off a rough season where they lost 7 of their last 8 games, resulting in a cleaning of the house. Longtime Ohio State assistant Luke Fickell was brought onboard to get this team on the right track, along with Mike Denbrock to run the offense. After seeing their offense grow incredibly stagnant in 2016 after scoring ten or fewer points seven times, they were looking for a spike in production this season. Scoring 26 against Austin Peay fails to elicit much hope in a resuscitation of the Cincy offense.

Bearcats' Hayden Moore showed promise in 2015, before too many turnovers and not enough production plagued his 2016 season. He tossed three touchdowns and no picks in game one, but what he faced is a quantum leap to what Michigan brings to the table. A lot is being asked of Mike Boone, for ran for over 100 yards against Austin Peay. If he can return to his 2015 form, as well, it would do this offense a lot of good. Moore was able to toss TD passes to Thomas Geddis, TE Tyler Gogswell, and Khalil Lewis, but his 151 yards through the air is hardly thrilling against an Ohio Valley team that lost every game last season and by margins almost always exceeding Cincinnati's 12-point win on Thursday.

Cincinnati's defense will be put to the test in a big way this week. Luckily for them, their head coach has been a defensive positions coach who planned for Michigan for 15 years in a row. They're going to need all of that. Giving up some decent run plays to Peay was alarming. But Kevin Mouthon and Perry Young look like a good duo at linebacker. Safety Malik Clements and Linden Stephens had good games for a secondary that has a lot of experience.

Again, week one didn't paint Cincy in a great light as they prepare for a game where they'll be completely out of their element in Ann Arbor. They just don't have enough talent to compete on offense and whatever explosiveness Moore had with the aerial game seems to have gone sailing out the window. But despite the tepid win over Austin Peay and the terrible 2016 season they had, they should be better. The offense will be more up-tempo with better protection up front. And a good secondary should make up for the deficiencies of the line. But yes, they are up against it in week two.

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Michigan is playing a lot of youngsters. But on defense, they were tremendous against the Gators in week one. They allowed less than 200 total yards and controlled the game. Again, the Gators only touchdowns came off pick-sixes. Other than that, the defense allowed just a field goal. And against the run, they were even better, holding Florida to an astonishingly-low 11 rushing yards on 27 attempts. Three recovered fumbles were extremely helpful. In the middle, Devin Bush was extremely active, with Maurice Hurst getting a lot of work up front, along with Chase Winovich. In the secondary, Tyree Kinnel and Lavert Hill had good games.

Granted, Michigan's senior quarterback Wilton Speight didn't have his finest game with two interceptions being returned for scores last week. But he settled down well after those miscues. Like the defense, this side of the ball is very young, but there were some good takeaways from game one. Ty Isaac and Chris Evans, who combined for 192 yards, are a nice two-headed monster at running back. Add Karan Higdon's useful contributions and the backfield could be a game-changer for the U of M this season. We also saw Speight connect well with a couple receivers in Nick Eubanks and Tarik Black. There are some nice weapons developing on offense, including some youngsters who will become better-known with added experience.

Week one showed that a lot of people might be overvaluing experience when evaluating Michigan, a team many felt would slip in light of having so few seasoned players on both sides of the ball. While it's just week one and a win over Florida might not mean a lot by the end of the season, it showed that we should be operating under the pretense that the last few recruiting seasons resulted in a ton of prodigious young talent ending up in Ann Arbor. And those who are forecasting a rough day of it for Cincinnati in Big Blue's home-opener, that's not a far-fetched feeling at all. Square play or not, I don't see Cincy hitting the scoreboard enough to cover. I'm taking Michigan.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Michigan Wolverines minus 34 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Bearcats vs. Wolverines game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!

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