Playoffs: Week 1 Spreads

Rouge / MLK, Grandville / Cal & More

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Today’s note will be the tenth of our 14 weekly preview guides. We will cover the following sections:

  1. Big Games: A brief overview of the State’s biggest game

  2. Fun Facts: A smattering of other ‘fun facts’ about Week 10 matchups

  3. Other Info: General football information (polls, etc.)

Another note: if you haven’t yet checked out our Playoff Preview Guide, I cannot recommend it higher.

We’ve got rankings for the top teams in each division, bracket analysis, and so much more information that will leave you well prepared for the next 5 weeks of playoff action.

(link below)

Finally, if that’s not enough Playoff Preview action for you, I was also on Great Lake State Football’s podcast this past week. You can listen to that below:

Week 10 Big Games

This week’s biggest game was a bit of a difficult choice for us.

On one hand, you’ve got Caledonia / Grandville: both teams are rated as Top 5 in our computer model, they played each other in a great game already (see Week 5), and, for the loser, this will be the last time we talk about them.

On the other side of the State, you’ve got a similar dynamic: River Rouge & Detroit MLK are rated as #2 and #3, respectively, in Division 3. They’re playing this round, and, once again, we will likely never talk about the loser.

How do we choose?

We’re going with the fresh face: we haven’t covered Detroit MLK yet this year. At the risk they lose this week, we want to make sure we talk about them at least once.

So let’s do that. Looking at the two teams, it should be no surprise that our computer model has them rated almost dead-even: both come in with 3 losses, having each played some of the State’s toughest schedules.

But that’s where the similarities end: you see, despite the similar ratings, these teams are actually almost polar opposites. Rouge has the State’s top overall defense, having held Warren DLS & Southfield A&T to 19 and 28 points, respectively. On the other side, Detroit MLK has quite a potent offense - we rate that unit as 10 points better than Rouge’s.

In the end, our model rates Rouge as 3 points better than King. While that means we’re officially picking Rouge, this low of a spread doesn’t mean much: remember that in our model, spreads under 4-5 points are essentially coin flips.

Either way it ends up, the winner will emerge primed for a State Title run (although we’d still favor Walled Lake Western over both on that side of the bracket).

4 Sets of Fun Facts for Week 10

Top 5 Overall Games

Caledonia vs. Grandville is our other top game this week: the winner will likely get a rematch with another conference foe, Rockford, who is our #1 team in the State.

The last time out, Cal & Grandville played a great game, with Cal ultimately pulling away by 10 points. We expect a similar show this time around.

A similar game to that one is Romeo / Chip Valley: the winner will likely get their conference champion, Dakota. We’ve got Chip Valley by 4, but either team could take this one.

The Best Game in Every Division

We’ve already mentioned the King / Rouge game, but check out the spreads on some of the others:

  • Corunna / Williamston is under 4 pts

  • North Branch / Freeland is under 3 pts (Both teams rated in our D4 top 10!)

The Freeland game in particular is quite interesting - because of the shape of the D4 bracket, we are projecting Freeland as our finalist from that side of the bracket. But they very well could lose this weekend (~50% probability).

If that happens, is the way cleared for Cros-Lex? Maybe OLSM? How about Riverview?

D4 is so wide open this year - this will not be the last time we talk about that Division.

Tracking the Champs

Despite the fact that all but one of our returning State Champs have lost this year (Belleville in D1 is the lone undefeated), every Champ did make the playoffs.

That doesn’t mean that they will all be here for long: along with Detroit MLK, we’re projecting Chelsea & Lansing Catholic to lose in Round 1.

Games Where 9-0 Teams are Projected to Lose

The headline here is a bit of clickbait - none of our 9-0 teams are projected to lose this week.

In fact, only two are projected to win by less than 11 points: Dexter & Durand. Dexter plays D2 #8 Milford in round 1, and Durand plays returning State Champ, Lansing Catholic.

Tough draws for both programs!

Superlative Matchups

Here’s some other fun facts that the model is throwing off this week:

  • Game w/ the highest over/under: (95)

    • Unity Christian vs. Forest Hills Eastern (there will be points!)

  • Game w/ the lowest over/under: (29)

    • Forest Hills Central vs. Reeths-Puffer

  • Pick ‘em Games (1):

    • Three Rivers vs. Niles

Other Useful Information

Coaches Poll

The Week 9 Coaches Poll was just released on Tuesday. Check it out here if you’d like to see how the State’s coaches are ranking the teams in all 8 11-man divisions:

That’s all for today! We hope everyone has a great Round 1 of the Playoffs.

Check back here on Monday for recap on everything that went down.

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