Despite Jim Harbaugh hype, take Utah to cover vs. Michigan

The hype has been all about Jim Harbaugh making his debut as Michigan coach in today’s college football season opener at Utah (5:30 p.m., FS1 (329). But Las Vegas wise guys don’t believe the hype. The sharp money is on the Utes, who opened as 3-point favorites at some places but are now favored between 5½ and 6 points at the city’s sports books.

“It doesn’t surprise me that your chatter is on Harbaugh but I don’t think he has enough to win yet,” Wynn sports book director John Avello said. “You’ll see improvement and progression through the next year or so but he’s a couple years away.”

The Wolverines went 5-7 last season, when they lost 26-10 to Utah at Michigan Stadium. The Utes are one of the most experienced teams in the country, returning 11 senior starters and 20 players who started at least four games last year, including four-year starting quarterback Travis Wilson and running back Devontae Booker, coming off a 1,512-yard season.

The balanced Utes also feature arguably the best special teams in the country and an aggressive defense that led the nation in sacks last season and will be fired up in front of a rowdy home crowd at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

“It’s a difficult spot (for Michigan),” Avello said. “It’s a very difficult first game.”

The Wolverines had one of the worst offenses in the country last season and Harbaugh has yet to publicly name his starting quarterback, which could be either Iowa graduate transfer Jake Rudock or junior Shane Morris.

In the end, it won’t matter who starts for Michigan as Utah spoils Harbaugh’s debut with a 24-17 win and cover.

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