Michigan Wolverines 2015 Football Preview:

By: Brandon Shively     Date: May 27, 2015

I expect much bigger and better things from the Wolverines in 2015 under new HC Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines return 17 starters this season with most of their offensive line intact. The defense looks to be stout as well with what I will project as a Top 10 secondary in the nation. Harbaugh was known for his great special teams when at Stanford and also with the 49ers and I think that he gets the Wolverines special teams above par this season.

Michigan has 2 power running back in Derrick Green (234 lbs) and USC transfer Ty Isaac (240 lbs). The O-line returns 4 starters and this looks to be the perfect offense for Harbaugh who ran the ball 60% of the time in '09-10 with Andrew Luck at QB. I am expecting Jake Rudock to get the start at quarterback. Rudock is a graduate transfer from Iowa who started the last 2 season for the Hawkeyes. Rudock was 2nd in the Big 10 last season in completion percentage at 61.7%. This guy is a competitor and I think he is a good fit for Michigan. While the Wolverines lose WR Funchess to the NFL, they do return 3 WR's/ TE and I think have a chance to have better production than last season. Let's be honest, the offense can only get better.

On defense, the Wolverines return 8 starters on defense and 24 of the 29 players that appeared on the depth chart last season. Jabrill Peppers who got injured last season, is a playmaker that I expect to have an immediate impact for this Wolverines defense in the secondary. I think new DC D.J. Durkin ignites this defense and exploits ways to get to the QB and utilize their pass rush. I also think that Harbaugh will discipline his Special Teams unit and they will make great strides.

From a betting standpoint, I think there will be great value PLAYING ON the Wolverines this season. I am looking for them to be a sizeable homedog vs. Michigan State and Ohio State this season. I have the feeling that Harbaugh is going to have his team ready and ignited. Call me crazy, but a victory over Ohio State would not surprise me one bit in the season finale. With an early line of +9.5 vs. Ohio State, I am going to place an early wager on the Wolverines and advise you do the same. Michigan will more than likely be an underdog in ALL 5 road games this season and I think again, there will be value on the Wolverines after last year's terrible season. I am going to look also at making a PLAY ON Michigan in Week 1 @ Utah. This is a revenge game for the Wolverines after losing at home last season to the Utes 26-10. Looking closer, Michigan outgained Utah 308-286. They were -3 in turnover differential though and that was the difference in the game. The positives were they outgained the Utes, held them to 2.2 yards per rush, and held them to 35% on 3rd down conversions. I expect the Wolverines to be a 3+ point underdog in this one and I will wait to see where the line settles, but I think the Wolverines are going to be the play in this Week 1 matchup.

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