East Carolina vs. Michigan Prediction, Odds, Trends and Key Players for College Football Week 1

Jim Harbaugh may not be coaching, but the Wolverines should still roll.
Apr 1, 2023; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) passes during the
Apr 1, 2023; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) passes during the / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The two-time defending Big Ten champions Michigan Wolverines look to make start another College Football Playoff campaign on Saturday at home against East Carolina.

While head coach Jim Harbaugh will serve the first of a three game suspension against ECU, the Wolverines are still laying north of five touchdowns against the AAC visitor. With J.J. McCarthy back under center and two future pros at running back in Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, Michigan should have little issue putting points on the board.

Further, the team's stout defense should shut down a rebuilding Pirates defense. Can the team cash as big favorites on Saturday?

Here's my favorite bet for Saturday's opener:

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East Carolina vs. Michigan odds, spread and total

Michigan vs. East Carolina Betting Trends

  • Michigan went 8-4-1 against the spread (ATS) last season
  • Michigan went UNDER the total in eight of 13 games last season
  • East Carolina went 7-5 ATS last season
  • ECU went 4-1 ATS as an underdog last season

East Carolina vs. Michigan How to Watch

  • Date: Saturday, September 2nd
  • Game Time: 12:00 PM EST
  • Venue: Michigan Stadium
  • How to Watch (TV): Peacock
  • East Carolina Record: 0-0
  • Michigan Record: 0-0

East Carolina vs. Michigan Key Players to Watch

East Carolina

Mason Garcia: Garcia steps in for long-time starter Holton Ahlers with little to no experience for the Pirates. The team is last in returning production on offense, per ESPN.com, and has the fifth lowest mark on defense. Garcia has only made 38 passes in three seasons for ECU, but does bring a ton of size at 6'5," and will hope a big arm can open up the Pirates offense.


Blake Corum: Corum was a fringe Heisman Trophy candidate before a knee injury derailed his season, but opted to return to Ann Arbor after rushing for nearly six yards a carry on 247 rushes (1,463 total) with 18 touchdowns. While Edwards is alongside him in the backfield, Corum's knee is one of the key pivot points for this Wolverines offense, especially considering Michigan has seven offensive lineman that can get drafted to the NFL next spring, per head coach Jim Harbaugh.

East Carolina vs. Michigan Prediction and Pick

While Harbaugh is serving a suspension for this game, I don't believe that will factor into this game and I believe the Wolverines will cover with ease.

Michigan is a justified big favorite in this game, but it's an awful spot for a new-look ECU offense that is bringing in so many new faces. The Wolverines ability to dominate at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball will be the difference in this game and I expect the team to pull away early in this one and waltz to a cover.

The Wolverines were fourth in defensive line yards last season and graded out top 15 in success rate on both sides of the ball last season and dominated lesser competition in non conference play.

Here's how Michigan did against non conference foes in 2022: beat Colorado State 51-7, beat Hawaii 56-10 and beat UConn 59-0. I expect a similar score on Saturday afternoon lay it.

For more betting insights for the first official week of the college football season, check out my take on the clock changing rules and my favorite over/under bets for Week 1 here!

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Track Reed's bets here!