Michigan vs. Iowa Big Ten Championship Game Expert Betting Analysis

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Spencer Petras #7 of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP.

After winning the Big Game, the Michigan Wolverines are too chalky on the NCAAF odds board for Saturday’s tilt with the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Michigan Wolverines vs. Iowa Hawkeyes

Saturday, December 4, 2021- 8:00 PM EST at Lucas Oil Stadium

Something very interesting happened at the Big Game last week – or should I say, leading up to the Big Game. The Ohio State Buckeyes were 8.5-point road favorites on the college football lines, and they were drawing most of the action, but some late money from a “respected” bettor on the Michigan Wolverines started a chain reaction among the sportsbooks, and they moved the spread to –6.5 before kick-off.

Final score: Ohio State 27, Michigan 42. There are so many lessons to draw here, but we’ll stick with this one for now: Yes, you can still make a sizeable sharp bet at certain online sportsbooks – including several of the books on the NCAAF odds board at Bookmakers Review. And in this case, it looks like the Iowa Hawkeyes (10-2 SU, 7-5 ATS) are the sharp choice for your Champ Week college football picks.

One of BMR’s oddsmakers like Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review) has them as 11-point underdogs to Michigan (11-1 SU, 10-2 ATS) at press time, which is a few too many points according to the projections we’re looking at.

Big Game Hunting

I won’t bore you with the details, but our usual gang of quants has Michigan winning by anywhere between seven and 10 points, which makes Iowa extra-tasty at +11. That clears two of the three most magical magic numbers in college football betting. And old-school handicappers will recognize Saturday’s matchup as a classic let-down game for Michigan, even if it’s for the Big Ten title and a spot in the College Football Playoff.

That’s how important beating Ohio State was at the Big Game. There was even some talk that Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh’s job might have been on the line. It all seems quite ridiculous now, but Michigan has had mixed success at best since Harbaugh returned to his alma mater in 2015 – including four straight bowl losses. This was Michigan’s first win over their bitter rivals since 2011. How do you come down from that and focus on Iowa?

Hard-Pore Corn

And focus they must. The Hawkeyes might not be CFP material, but they’re on a four-game winning streak (at 2-2 ATS), powered by a defense that’s even more impressive than Michigan’s on paper. This is expected to be a lower-scoring contest, with the total set at 43.5 points at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) after opening at 45. Beating a double-digit spread isn’t easy in these circumstances, even if they’ll be playing this one indoors.

Kirk Ferentz has also enjoyed more success as Iowa’s head coach than Harbaugh has in Ann Arbor, including three straight bowl wins. Yes, those were relatively minor bowls, and Harbaugh has assembled arguably Michigan’s strongest team since that amazing 1985 squad that featured Harbaugh himself at quarterback. The only team they lost to that year? Iowa. Pure coincidence, of course, but we’re still buying that for a dollar.

NCAAF Pick: Iowa +11 (–108) with Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.