with poll: Michigan football team opens as 6-point favorite against Michigan State
One notable bookmaker is projecting that skid to end this year.
The Golden Nugget sportsbook in Las Vegas released its first batch of lines for the upcoming college football season, and it includes Michigan listed as a six-point favorite against the Spartans on Oct. 20.
AnnArbor.com file photo
The game will be played in Ann Arbor, which gives the Wolverines an edge. They also return quarterback Denard Robinson and tailback Fitz Toussaint, the two prongs of Michigan's prolific rushing game last year, and that always is an important aspect of the game.
The team with the most rushing yards has won 39 of the past 42 games in the series.
Michigan also returns Robinson, who is entering his third season as starter and is a veteran of the rivalry. Michigan State will be breaking in a new starting quarterback, Andrew Maxwell.
But, the Spartans also return several notable players to the nation's No. 6 overall defense. That could be the Big Ten's best unit -- one that already has forced Robinson into two of his worst performances.
It knocked Robinson out of last year's game.
Michigan State was the more physical team last year, especially in the trenches, and that was against a Michigan team that featured stud linemen such as Mike Martin, Ryan Van Bergen and David Molk. Those guys are all gone.
So, it's an interesting game that is brimming with storylines and subplots -- and it likely will have a major impact on the Legends Division race, which adds to the intrigue.
Who you got? Vote in our poll to the right.
My take: It's a toss-up straight up, although I'd probably go with Michigan because of the home factor, as well as Robinson's experience in the game. But it's close.
Against the spread, there's no question Michigan State is the better bet. It's not even close.
There are some other interesting spreads as well, with Michigan a one-point underdog at Notre Dame and a two-point favorite at Nebraska and Ohio State. Check out the rest of the lines here.