Purdue Boilermakers (3-6 SU, 4-5 ATS) vs. Michigan Wolverines (5-4 SU, 5-4 ATS), Saturday, November 7th, 12 p.m. Eastern, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI; TV: Big Ten Network
By Oracle of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Purdue +4/Michigan -4
Both Purdue and Michigan head into Saturday’s Big Ten matchup mastering the art of changing into Jekyll and Hyde.
The Wolverines started off this season blazing hot and even found themselves in the Top 25 for the first time in head coach Rich Rodriguez’s tenure there. However, after starting out 4-0, they’ve lost four of their last five – all the losses coming in Big Ten play.
Meanwhile, Purdue struggled by losing five straight games before looking impressive in beating a highly ranked Ohio State squad, 26-18. The Boilermakers looked as though they went back to their former selves by getting walloped, 37-0, against Wisconsin last weekend.
So would the real Boilermakers and Wolverines please stand up?
Since the Wolverines have the better straight up record and are at Michigan Stadium for Saturday’s 12 p.m. Eastern showdown, they’re the favorites to open up at -4. The public has jumped all over the home team early on, so the line has already moved up to -6 at some online sportsbooks.
The over/under is currently set at 53.
These two teams have met the past two years with the home squad winning each game. Last season it was Purdue who won a 48-42 shootout. However, neither starting quarterback took part in that contest.
The Boliermakers were the slight favorites in that 2008 contest and covered in crunch time (-2.5) when Justin Siller’s touchdown pass with 26 seconds left gave them the six-point win.
Being at Michigan, though, gives the Wolverines a big advantage as far as covering the spread goes. A huge trend that bettors will need to notice is the 7-1-1 ATS mark for the home team in the last nine meetings. Add into the fact that Purdue is 0-4 ATS in their last four trips to the Big House, makes Saturday’s line that much tastier.
Right now the Wolverines are more worried about finding a rhythm. They’ve averaged just 12 points in their last two games, including scoring 13 last week against an Illinois team who had won just a single game all year long.
Freshman quarterback Tate Forcier was a force early in the year but has hit the proverbial wall. In his last four games he has thrown two picks and zero, yes, zero touchdowns. He’ll need to pick up the slack when Purdue comes to town.
In fact, one of Forcier’s favorite targets in Martavious Odom is questionable for Saturday’s contest with a knee injury.
But really, it won’t matter what Forcier does if Michigan’s defense performed like it did last week. In the 38-13 beat down by Illinois, the Wolverines gave up 500 total yards to a team averaging nearly 350 per game and 16 points. On the year, Michigan gives up over 25 points per game.
Purdue had a game to forget against Wisconsin a week ago. Quarterback Joey Elliot, who had been a relatively nice surprise, struggled mightily by going 5-for-23. Although off target most of the day, his receivers did drop 13 passes. Purdue’s normally stellar offense went into the game averaging over 400 yards, but came out of it averaging 365 on the year.
A steady diet of Ralph Bolden may be the cure for Purdue. He had a couple of 100 yards games to start the season, but hasn’t had one since. He only had 10 attempts against Wisconsin last week and has had just one touchdown in the past five games.
The Wolverines are 5-4 ATS on the season but don’t have many betting trends going their way. In fact, they’re just 2-9 ATS in their last 11 as any kind of favorite.
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Purdue’s trends aren’t any better, but they seem to bounce back after rough games the previous week. They’re 4-1 ATS in their last five games after accumulating less than 275 the prior game. Overall, though, they’re just 1-4 ATS in their last five.
Purdue’s struggles this year make the under trend big for them as well, as its 6-1 in their last seven. Michigan loves playing at home, though, with the over coming in four of the last five games.
The Boilermakers have a tough task as they haven’t won at the Big House since 2000. They struggled on the road last week as well and are looking to back that trend. Michigan is looking to regroup and become bowl eligible with a win.
Oracle’s Pick: It seems like all the signs are pointing toward Michigan in this one. But we’re going to buck the trends and go against the public. More than likely the line will keep moving, so if you can get Purdue plus a touchdown, take it!
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