Big Ten Championship Betting Odds And Preview — Michigan vs. Iowa

Michigan will enter the Big Ten championship game on an absolute high after defeating Ohio State for the first time during the Jim Harbaugh Era. The Wolverines will face the Iowa Hawkeyes at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Saturday afternoon for the right to be called Big Ten champions.

The Wolverines are heavy favorites in the game, but if Michigan starts thinking about the possibility of a spot in the College Football Playoffs too soon, the door could open up for an epic upset by the Hawkeyes. Here are the betting odds for Saturday’s game:

Big Ten Championship Betting Odds

SportsbookPoint SpreadMoneylineTotal  
DraftKingsIowa +10.5 (-110)
Michigan -10.5 (-110)
Iowa +340
Michigan -475
Over 43.5 (-115)
Under 43.5 (-105)
BetMGMIowa +10.5 (-110)
Michigan -10.5 (-110)
Iowa +350
Michigan -500
Over 43.5 (-110)
Under 43.5 (-110)
BetRiversIowa +11.0 (-110)
Michigan -11.0 (-110)
Iowa +375
Michigan -500
Over 43.5 (-114)
Under 43.5 (-107)
CaesarsIowa +10.5 (-110)
Michigan -10.5 (-110)
Iowa +350
Michigan -450
Over 43.5 (-110)
Under 43.5 (-110)

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Michigan Wolverines (11-1 SU, 10-2 ATS)

Michigan has been one of the better teams in the country all season. The defense has only allowed three teams to score over 20 points. Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III and Rutgers RB Isaih Pacheco are the only backs to rush for 100+ yards against the defense.

Their own run game is one of the 10 best in the country, averaging 224.9 yards per game. Against Ohio State, RB Hassan Haskins led a rushing attack that gained 297 yards with 169 and five touchdowns. When they need to pass, Cade McNamara has proven himself to be a capable and efficient quarterback.

But while the offense is good, the strength of the team is the defense.

The potential of the defense was certainly on display last weekend against Ohio State. The Buckeyes came into the game with the No. 1 offense in the country and one of the nation’s most efficient passing attacks. But while C.J. Stroud was able to throw for 394 yards, the Wolverines were in his face all day and held him to two touchdowns.

Aidan Hutchinson had such a big day (seven tackles, three sacks) that he has become one of the leading contenders for the Heisman Trophy.

A similar day against Iowa’s offense will help the Wolverines win their first Big Ten title game, but the more significant concern will be how the offense plays against Iowa’s defense. The offensive line manhandled the Ohio State front seven and controlled the line of scrimmage. Ohio State had no sacks or tackles for loss, and two quarterback hurries.

Can they do the same against a solid Iowa defense?

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Iowa Hawkeyes (10-2 SU, 7-5 ATS)

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz almost had a quarterback controversy on his hands this week. With how Alex Padilla played in his three starts and in relief of an injured Spencer Petras, no one would fault him for starting Padilla in the Big Ten Championship game. But with his starting quarterback healthy and fresh off a strong performance in the second half against Nebraska that led to the win, a good argument could be made for him.

Rather than let a quarterback controversy develop, Ferentz penciled in Petras as the starter on Monday and made it official on Tuesday.

However, while the play of the quarterback is essential, Iowa’s defense has been the driving force behind its wins. The offense ranks relatively low in the conference and nation in most related categories but ranks among the best in the conference and nation when it comes to defense:

  • Third in the conference against the run (105.8 yards per game allowed)
  • First in passing efficiency defense
  • Third in total defense (315.7 yards per game allowed)
  • Fourth in scoring (17.2 points per game allowed)
  • First in turnover margin (1.08)

Turnovers have been essential in Iowa’s wins this season. In losses to Wisconsin and Purdue, they lost the turnover battle 7-1, and the offense managed just a single touchdown in each game. In the four wins following those losses, they won the turnover battle, 7-3. Five of those seven turnovers either led to points, killed a scoring drive, or closed out the game.

Betting Analysis

Iowa is too reliant on winning the turnover battle, which is not good when facing a team that rarely turns the ball over (Michigan has had just nine turnovers this season). If they are going to be competitive, let alone have a shot at winning the Big Ten championship, the Hawkeyes will need to force a few turnovers to stay in the game. Without them, or if the offense has a few, Iowa does not stand a chance.

Look for Iowa’s defense to keep it close early on, but Michigan’s offensive and defensive lines will take over in the second half.

About the Author

Travis Pulver

Travis Pulver is a Senior Writer at Michigan Sharp as well as a lifelong football fan, which he believes comes naturally as he hails from the football-crazy state of Texas. His love of sports, over the years, has grown to include basketball, baseball, rugby, and golf. Currently, life finds him in Indiana with his wife and two kids.