Big Ten Championship Odds, Picks: Our Best Bets for Michigan vs. Purdue

Big Ten Championship Odds, Picks: Our Best Bets for Michigan vs. Purdue article feature image

Mike Mulholland/Getty Images & Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured from left: Donovan Edwards (7) of the Michigan Wolverines and Nic Caraway (5) of the Purdue Boilermakers.

  • The Big Ten Championship kicks off Saturday night as the Michigan Wolverines take on the Purdue Boilermakers.
  • The Wolverines enter as big favorites at -16, but the Boilermakers have a reputation for spoiling the seasons of ranked opponents.
  • Our staff dishes out its best bets and picks for the Big Ten Championship between Michigan and Purdue below.

Big Ten Championship Odds

#2Michigan vs. Purdue

Saturday, Dec. 3
8 p.m. ET
Michigan Odds
-115o / -105u
Purdue Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

By Thomas Schlarp

A week removed from the biggest win of its undefeated season, it’s right back to business for the Michigan Wolverines. Coming off a commanding 22-point victory in Ohio State’s own house, Michigan looks to boost its College Football Playoff seeding with a win over Purdue in the Big Ten Championship.

Michigan secured its East Division crown thanks to a 28-3 run against the Buckeyes last week, dropping Ohio State out of the top four and moving the Wolverines to No. 2 in the latest rankings. A win over the Boilermakers would secure Michigan’s second trip to the CFP in as many seasons.

While the Wolverines arrive at Saturday’s game largely on the back of one of the best rushing games in the country, Michigan will have to face Purdue without Blake Corum. Corum, who was in the mix for this year’s Heisman and has scored 18 rushing touchdowns this season, is expected to miss the rest of this season after undergoing knee surgery.

Purdue (8-4) has had a less heralded trip to the conference championship after winning a mediocre West Division, but that doesn’t mean the Boilermakers don’t stand a chance.

Purdue has been giant killers in recent seasons, going 7-6 outright against ranked opponents over the past five years, and it will be playing in its home state of Indiana.

The Boilermakers also aren’t without an extenuating circumstance to one of its leaders on offense, however. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell missed team activities at the beginning of the week to mourn the death of his brother, but he is expected to start Saturday.

The Wolverines, who have one all but two games this season by double digits, are 17-point favorites over Purdue. Our staff breaks down why Michigan can cover the large spread , which side of the total to take and a few other bets below.

Michigan vs. Purdue Point Spread

9 Picks

Coin Flip

0 Picks
6 Picks

Michigan -16.5

By BJ Cunningham

Michigan put it on Ohio State last Saturday, going for over 500 yards at 8.8 yards per play on its way to a 45-23 win at the Horseshoe.

The Wolverines offense ranks eighth in Success Rate, 23rd in Finishing Drives and 18th in yards per play. The reason it's so successful is because of its rushing attack, which sits top-10 in Success Rate and EPA/Rush.

Blake Corum suffered a nasty injury against Illinois, and he’s expected to miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery.

Normally, when a running back of Corum's caliber (95.8 PFF rushing grade) goes down, the rushing attack takes a step back. However, Michigan has another dynamic running back in Donovan Edwards, who torched the Ohio State defense for 216 yards and two touchdowns.
Edwards is averaging an eye-popping 7.5 yards per carry and owns an 86.0 PFF rushing grade this season.

Purdue boasts a top-30 run defense, so Michigan may find life on the ground more difficult than it did against Ohio State.

However, quarterback JJ McCarthy has been outstanding at quarterback for the Wolverines, averaging 8.2 yards per attempt with 16 touchdowns compared to two interceptions.

Purdue's secondary has been torched repeatedly this season and has a big problem giving up big plays through the air. The Boilermakers are allowing 7.4 yards per attempt (77th in FBS) while ranking 122nd in passing explosiveness allowed and 86th in PFF coverage grade.

McCarthy has a PFF passing grade over 85 on throws more than 10 yards in the air.

Purdue is also very poor in Finishing Drives on defense. The Boilermakers rank 80th in Finishing Drives Allowed with opponents averaging 3.8 points per drive once they cross Purdue's 40-yard line.

On the other side of the ball, Aidan O'Connell has been very inconsistent this season. He's averaging only 6.7 yards per attempt this season to go along with a 67.8 PFF passing grade, 18 big-time throws and 22 turnover-worthy plays.

That's not good news for a team going up against a Michigan secondary that ranks ninth in Passing Success Rate Allowed, fourth in EPA/Pass Allowed and has the fifth-best coverage grade in college football.

Purdue has found some success on the ground. Running back Devin Mockobee is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and has 21 runs over 10 yards. He's the main reason Purdue ranks 34th in Rushing Success Rate.

The Boilermaker offensive line certainly hasn’t done him any favors, as the unit ranks 81st in Offensive Line Yards and 66th in terms of a PFF run-blocking grade.

Michigan's front seven has been incredibly stout, allowing just 3.0 yards per carry — good for second nationally — and ranking third in both Defensive Line Yards and EPA/Rush Allowed. So, I'm not sure how Purdue is going to be able to move the ball consistently.

For those reasons, we like the value on Michigan at -16.5.

Staff Pick: Michigan -16.5

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Michigan vs. Purdue Over/Under

Over 52

6 Picks

Coin Flip

3 Picks

Under 52

6 Picks


By BJ Cunningham

Similar to the Big Ten Championship game last year, this game could very easily go over the total. But this time around, Purdue is bringing a better offense than Iowa.

Michigan is playing at a very slow pace this season by running a play every 29.22 seconds, which is 123rd in the country. Purdue does play at an above-average pace — running a play every 25.27 seconds — to rank 53rd in pace.

As I mentioned above, the only chance Purdue has at moving the ball in this game is through the air. Even though Aidan O’Connell has been throwing the ball up for grabs, he’s still taking shots down the field. Of all of O’Connell’s passing attempts, 35.5% of them have been over 10 yards in the air.

Michigan should be able to move the ball at will here, and the loss of Blake Corum — while it still hurts — isn’t that big when Donovan Edwards is sitting behind him with a 7.5 yards-per-rush average and coming off a 200-yard performance against Ohio State.

If that’s not enough, JJ McCarthy should be able to throw all over a Purdue secondary that gives up way too many big plays. So, don’t be shocked to see Michigan hang 40 on the scoreboard.

While our staff is split, I have 58.7 points projected for this game, so I personally like the value on over 52.5 points.

Staff Pick: Coin-Flip

Michigan 1Q -6

By Patrick Strollo

After the thumping that Michigan gave Ohio State last weekend, it’s pretty clear that Purdue is in for a long evening in its home state.

With this bet, I want to get in and get out. While I see value on the full game spread, a 17 or 17.5 just screams “backdoor cover” to me.

Jim Harbaugh knows a win is all that Michigan needs to advance to the CFP for the second year in a row.

I expect Harbaugh and the Wolverines to come out hard charging to build a comfortable lead and then grind the clock and Purdue out in the second half of the game.

Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy had an excellent game last Saturday against Ohio State, but the Wolverines will be headed back to the bread and butter of the run game behind Donovan Edwards.

Look for Michigan to build an early cushion and kill clock as it grinds down the Purdue defense. The elite Michigan defense should also hold Purdue scoreless in the first quarter in the temperate Lucas Oil Stadium.

In Michigan’s 12 contests this year, it’s covered a six-point first-quarter spread eight times for a 66.7% hit rate. Make that 9-of-13 after this weekend.

Let’s settle for a quick strike in this game, as Michigan wraps up a Big Ten Championship and CFP berth by halftime.

Pick: Michigan 1Q -6 (Play to -6.5)

SGP: O’Connell Over 225 Passing Yards/McCarthy Over 195 Passing Yards (+130)

By Alex Hinton

Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell has thrown for 200 yards or more in eight of his 12 starts this season and has one for 225 yards or more in nine of those games. That includes 365 against Penn State, 424 against Syracuse, 360 against Maryland, 391 against Nebraska and 320 against Wisconsin.

The thing about a Jeff Brohm offense is that you know the ball will be in the air often. Purdue throws the ball on 55.6% of its offensive snaps. O’Connell had 40 or attempts in nine games this season, including each of those 300-yard games.

This week, Purdue is a 17-point underdog, and I expect Michigan to cover. That lines up for a negative game script for Purdue in which O’Connell will have to throw to keep his Boilermakers in the game.

O’Connell will be facing a stingy Michigan defense. The Wolverines allow 177 passing yards per game, the 11th-best mark in the country. However, Michigan has allowed 200 or more passing yards in five games this season, including 349 last week against Ohio State.

A common theme in those games is that the Wolverines’ opponents were playing from behind and trying to come back.

On the other side, Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy has six 200-yard passing games this season. Last week against Ohio State, he delivered his best performance of the season when Michigan was without the services of Blake Corum for much of the game.

McCarthy threw for 263 yards and four touchdown passes last week. I expect that head coach Jim Harbaugh will trust McCarthy more after that, particularly with an excellent matchup this week.

Purdue’s secondary is prone to giving up big plays, and the Boilermakers allow 218 yards per game. Michigan’s wide receivers will also have a speed advantage in this matchup.

Michigan will be without Corum again this week and for the rest of the season. Michigan has another star back in Donovan Edwards, but McCarthy will have plenty of opportunities to attack this Purdue secondary.

Combining O’Connell’s and McCarthy’s yards into a same-game parlay produces solid odds. Taking O’Connell for 200 and McCarthy for 170 yards is -155, while O’Connell for 225 and McCarthy is 195 is +130.

How aggressive you want to be is your call, but I expect both to clear 200 passing yards with ease. I will take the plus-money odds.

Pick: SGP: O’Connell Over 225 Passing Yards/McCarthy Over 195 Passing Yards (+130)

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