Army vs Michigan Prediction: Betting Line, Odds & Pick

Michigan Wolverines

Getty The Michigan Wolverines had the second-best passing defense in FBS during the 2018 season.

A pair of 1-0 teams hit the field at the Big House on Saturday in what might prove to be a defensive struggle more than anything. The Army Black Knights, coming off an impressive 2018 season, are looking to carry over their program turnaround this year. And what an opportunity the FBS independent has with a trip to face the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor.

Upsetting the Wolverines at home will not be easy but it has been done before. Appalachian State has done it in one of college football’s biggest upsets ever. The key, however, to beating Michigan is to neutralize it’s two-pronged offense.

Army has just the weapons to do so on defense. The Black Knights were 10th in the nation last allowing just 17.7 points per game. With Michigan’s offense producing 41 points last week in their season opener over Middle Tennessee, it sparked an increase from their 2018 average of 35.2 points per game.

Army vs Michigan

Saturday, September 7, 12 p.m.

Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Coverage: Fox

*All odds and betting info courtesy of SportsLine and originally posted by Bookmaker

Spread: Michigan (-22 at -110)
Over/Under: 48.5


The Black Knights allowed just 188.8 passing yards per game last season and were even tougher against Rice in week 1. Army limited the Owls to just 62 yards in the air and seven total completions.

But on the flip side, Army struggled to get anything going in their own passing game. Quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. finished the game 3 for 8 with 53 yards and a touchdown pass to Kell Walker.

Where Hopkins truly excelled was on the ground, rushing 21 times out of the option offense for 80 yards and a touchdown. His unpredictability could be something Michigan struggles to contain. But having run the ball a collective 54 times as a team, there’s not a whole lot of variety.


The Wolverines have the tools to counter against Army’s run-first offense and ranked 23rd in the nation in rushing defense last season allowing just 127.4 yards on the ground per game.

Army was 10th at stopping the run last season, something that could force Michigan to look to the air with quarterback Shea Patterson. He threw for 203 yards and three touchdowns last week, making his duty more about the quality instead of quantity. Patterson can also scramble, but Army could easily key on his option runs.

Much like Army, Michigan doesn’t allow a lot of points and finished last season 16th in FBS with 19.7 points allowed per game. The Wolverines were prolific at stopping the run and were among the best teams in the country at containing the passing game. Last week against Middle Tennessee wasn’t a great example of that, however, as the Blue Raiders had 234 yards in the air.


This game will be dominated by defense from both sides, mainly Michigan’s shining through. While Army has a punter’s chance at pulling off the upset, it will come down to whether the Black Knights can effectively move the ball on the ground against a bigger opponent.

As for Michigan, their point total will likely dip this week from the season opener, a testament to Army’s defense.

Pick: Take the under here. Army won’t put a lot of points on the board and the Wolverines won’t do enough to amass the amount needed for the over. As for the spread, side with Army as the Wolverines won’t score enough to cover.

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