Purdue vs. Michigan Big Ten Conference Championship Betting Preview: How to Bet the Mismatch

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Ronnie Bell #8 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates a first half touchdown while playing the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFP.

Purdue is the last team standing between Michigan and the College Football Playoffs, and we have a free NCAAF pick for the Big Ten Championship between the Boilermakers and Wolverines.

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Purdue Boilermakers vs. Michigan Wolverines

Saturday, December 3, 2022 – 08:00 PM EST at Lucas Oil Stadium

Contrary to popular belief, the Big Ten Championship did not take place last Saturday in Columbus where the Michigan Wolverines busted up the Ohio State Buckeyes in a battle of undefeated squads to decide the East Division representative.

Instead of that highly anticipated clash of rivals, we have a matchup between the still-undefeated Wolverines and Purdue, with the Boilermakers seen as nothing but the survivor of a weak West Division to set up the biggest mismatch of the FBS league championship games.

Double-Digit Spread in B1G Title Game for 5th-Straight Year

With so many other closely-lined conference title tilts during the day, it might be difficult for FOX to attract much of an audience outside of Big Ten followers for the contest that is being played in Indianapolis for the 12th straight year.

Michigan is being offered at -16 at many of the best sportsbooks. A few shops are adding a hook to that big spread, while most outlets are selling the scoreboard target at 51.5.

The double-digit spread is nothing new to the Big Ten Championship Game. This is the fifth consecutive season that the East champ has been a huge favorite over the West winner, Ohio State having those honors in 2018-20 and Michigan's 11.5-point chalk over Iowa last year.

Purdue in 'Little Engine That Could' Role

Purdue started the season a game in the hole as far as the conference standings go, the Boilermakers dropping a 35-31 decision to Penn State as small home underdogs on NCAAF odds boards way, way back in Week 1.

Jeff Brohm’s bunch got the job done to close the campaign, however, with three straight wins, 2 of those coming on the road as was the case this past weekend in Bloomington where the Boilermakers scored 27 points in the second half to rally past Indiana, 30-16.

Aidan O'Connell guided the offense and delivered a long scoring strike in the final quarter that came shortly after the Hoosiers had drawn within a touchdown. It was arguably O’Connell’s best game of the season besides the scrimmage against Indiana State in Week 2.

Line Play on Both Sides Keys UM Rout

It was an enjoyable first half last week watching Michigan and Ohio State go back and forth at Ohio Stadium, the Buckeyes easing into the locker room up 20-17 in a contest that looked like one of those that would go down to the final play.

But then the big uglies on the Michigan side of the offensive and defensive lines took over, and the Wolverines coupled big plays with long drives to punish their rivals in a 45-23 final that Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review) closed Ohio State as 8.5-point chalk,

J.J. McCarthy threw 3 touchdown passes and Donovan Edwards posted a 200-yard game on the ground that included a pair of long touchdown runs in the fourth to break the Buckeyes’ back, silencing the red-clad among the nearly 107,000 on hand.

First Meeting in 5 Years

This has become one of those infrequent rivalries in the Big Ten as the Boilermakers and Wolverines meet for the first time in 5 seasons and only the second time since 2013. Michigan has won the last 4 to build a 45-14 record against Purdue.

  • The Wolverines covered the last 3 collisions and are favored for the 6th consecutive meeting with the Boilermakers.
  • 3 of the last 4 encounters between Purdue and Michigan failed to reach the totals that ranged from 51-60 points.

The Pick

This is Purdue’s first trip to the Big Ten Championship Game while Michigan is in just its second after thumping Iowa a year ago, so neither side has much experience in the event.

Still, it feels like the Wolverines are the old pros while the Boilermakers are the upstart kids, and it’s easy to imagine Purdue becoming the proverbial deer in the headlights. While David beating Goliath makes for a good story, there are a bunch of Goliaths on both sides of Michigan’s line.

Ranking 1st in the Big Ten in both rushing offense and rushing defense, the Wolverines will win this one going away either by jumping out to a big lead thanks to turnovers and big plays or simply by wearing the Boilermakers down.

For residents of Great Lake State looking to bet on this game, you can check out our top Michigan betting sites.

NCAAF Pick: Michigan -16 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Michigan -16 (-108)
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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.