The Virginia Cavaliers take on the Michigan Wolverines. Check out our college basketball odds series for our Virginia Michigan prediction and picks.
The Virginia Cavaliers and Michigan Wolverines have written significantly different stories to start the new college basketball season, but how they end those stories will be a much bigger point of intrigue.
Virginia won the 2019 national championship and then got knocked down a few pegs. The Cavaliers were still an NCAA tournament-level team, but weren’t the juggernaut they were in the late 2010s. They didn’t even make it to the NCAA tournament last season. Virginia coach Tony Bennett has consistently built elite defenses, but his offenses have been very clunky and underpowered at times. Last season, offensive swooning reared its ugly head, as did defensive regression. The weaknesses of Virginia’s playing style combined with an erosion of the team’s core strengths resulted in a brutal season. At the beginning of the new campaign, one wondered if the well-known Virginia formula could return.
The first signs are strongly positive.
Virginia pitched Baylor and Illinois to Las Vegas for over a week, making a very strong statement that not only was they ready for the upcoming season, but they were rising back to the top of the ACC alongside Duke and North Carolina. The Baylor victory in particular showed that the Virginia offense was being revived. Baylor is a top-flight defensive team, and yet Virginia scored over 50 points in the second half of this game to pull off a moderately comfortable win. it wasn’t a nail biter. Virginia backed up that win over Baylor with another capture of Illinois two days later. If the Baylor win seemed like an isolated incident, Virginia brushed that notion away with the Illinois win. Tony Bennett seems poised to get Virginia back in the big time after a brief hiatus after the national championship.
In a way, Michigan is trying to achieve what Virginia is working on. The Wolverines were No. 1 at the 2021 NCAA tournament but barely made the big dance last year. Michigan wants to return to this top seeding stage, much like Virginia intends to do. However, the Hoos have found success in pursuing that goal in the preseason. Michigan hasn’t.
The Wolverines have a 5-1 record, so it seems like they’re having a good season, but they haven’t played very well. They were knocked down by 25 points against Arizona State. They were lucky enough to beat Ohio at home in overtime. Their victories have all come against low-ranking opponents. Virginia will present coach Juwan Howard’s team with a whole new challenge that appears to require a longer development process than Howard or the fan community had hoped. This is a big test for the Wolverines and a measure of how quickly they can change their season’s trajectory.
Courtesy of FanDuelhere are the Virginia-Michigan College Basketball Odds.
College Basketball Odds: Virginia-Michigan Odds
Virginia Cavaliers: -3.5 (-110)
Michigan Wolverines: +3.5 (-110)
Above: 128.5 (-110)
Below: 128.5 (-110)
Why Virginia could cover the spread
The Cavaliers have multiple high-end wins and look like one of the top three teams in the ACC, also a top 3 seed in the NCAA tournament. Michigan looks like a bubble team for the first six games. Virginia was quick to meddle on the court and Michigan was not. These teams are at different stages of development.
Matthew Zemek ·
Matthew Zemek ·
Sam DiGiovanni ·
Why Michigan could cover the spread
Michigan has had some bumpy and rocky times, but the Wolverines are gearing up for this big home game. They haven’t been great in the first three weeks but they know how important this game is to them. We see this all the time in high school sports: mediocre teams, or good teams that play mediocre ball, gather their focus and energy for a game they have circled on the calendar. They are playing much better than the last few weeks have suggested. Michigan will play that kind of game here.
Virginia Michigan Definitive Prediction and Selection
Michigan will likely give Virginia a good test, but the Cavaliers are playing at a much higher level. At the beginning of the season that should be important. Take UVA here.
Final Virginia Michigan prediction and selection: Virginia -3.5