Big Ten Championship Game Pick: Purdue vs. Michigan

by | Last updated Nov 30, 2022 | cfb

Purdue Boilermakers (8-4 SU, 5-7 ATS) v. Michigan Wolverines (12-0 SU, 7-4-1 ATS)
NCAA Week 14 – Big Ten Championship Game
When: Saturday, December 3 at 8 pm ET
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, IN
Watch: FOX

Point Spread: PUR +16.5/MICH -16.5 (STOP betting games at -110! YOU-ARE-WASTING-MONEY! Start laying only -105 TODAY at BAS Sportsbook! You’ll be so glad you made the switch!)
Over/Under Total: 52

The College Football Playoff is at the top of everyone’s mind, but a little more work is left to be done before that committee can set the field for the National Championship. The Big Ten will name its conference champ in Indy this Saturday, and the Michigan Wolverines are looking to defend their 2021 Big Ten title with a win over the Purdue Boilermakers. This is the first championship game appearance for the Boilers, with the Wolverines making their second stop at Lucas Oil Stadium. Michigan is a big favorite after routing Ohio State in what was positioned as a play-in game for a CFP berth. Michigan has won 45 of the 59 meetings between these schools, with 2009 marking the last time Purdue won a game in this series. This is the first meeting since the 2017 season when Michigan got a 28-10 win in West Lafayette.

Trend Watch

Purdue has fared well against good competition, going 5-1 against the spread in the last six against a team with a winning record. The Boilers are also 5-1 ATS in their last six games played at a neutral site. Michigan has been a reliable producer for multiple seasons now, with 18 ATS wins in their last 26 games overall, but they are just 1-4 ATS in their last five played at a neutral site. The Over has seven wins in the last eight when Purdue plays against a team with a winning record, and the Over is 5-1 in the last six games in December. The Under is 9-4 in the last thirteen Michigan contests and 5-2 when the Wolverines play a team with a winning record. Michigan is getting roughly 60% of the public money, with 62% of early bettors liking the Over.

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Puncher’s Chance?

Purdue is clearly facing some long odds as it pertains to an outright upset, but they have played some of their best football as underdogs this season, and their 21st-ranked passing game gives them a chance to at least get some points on the board. The Boilers hung 31 on Illinois at a time when the Illini were trending toward Indy, and they were nine point dogs when they dealt Minnesota their first conference loss of the season. Aidan O’Connell is the second leading passer in the Big Ten, and his 22 touchdown passes were also good for second in the conference. This isn’t a homerun producing run game, but Devin Mockobee has proven a tough man to tackle, and he leads the team with eight rushing scores. Charlie Jones (97-1199) leads the conference in receptions, and yards, and his 12 receiving grabs are tied for the lead with Marvin Harrison. Payne Durham is second on the team with eight receiving touchdowns, and he is one of five Boilermakers with at least 20 receptions on the season. The offense gets most of the headlines, but the defense has proven itself in some big wins as well. They have given up just 16.3 points per game over their current three-game win streak and surrendered 23.1 per game overall while ranking 34th in total yards allowed. The secondary has generated 13 interceptions, with Cam Allen’s three picks leading the way.More Picks: Get Dan’s Clemson/North Carolina betting analysis plus free pick ATS >>>

Avoid the Hangover

After putting the 45-23 hurt on Ohio State last week, it seems like Michigan just needs to stay focused on the business at hand and not get too far ahead of themselves. Michigan was able to quickly put the OSU result in the rear-view last year and took down Iowa in Indy by a 42-3 margin. They will look for a similarly dominant effort behind their 7th-ranked scoring offense and 3rd-ranked scoring defense. Michigan is the 5th best rushing team in the land but don’t overlook J.J. McCarthy, and his 17 touchdown passes. His 65% completion rate helps keep drives alive, as does his running ability. McCarthy is the 4th leading rusher on the team and has chipped in four ground scores. Blake Corum did make a brief appearance in the OSU game but gave way to Donovan Edwards after one drive, and Edwards promptly ran for 216 yards and two scores. Corum was a Heisman front-runner for much of the season, and while his injury status remains a concern, it appears that Michigan will be just fine if he cannot go or if they simply play it safe and shelf him for a bigger game. Ronnie Bell leads the Wolverines with 51 receptions for 687 yards, with Cornelius Johnson leading the way with six touchdown receptions. The defense gives up the 2nd-fewest yards and holds opponents to just 84 rushing yards per game. Mike Morris leads the team with seven sacks, but ten Wolverines have at least two sacks on the season. DJ Turner leads the team with eight pass breakups, and he has notched one interception with the team totaling picks.

Michigan Wins but Purdue Covers

It is not a criticism to say that Michigan probably just played its best game of the season last week and could struggle to match that level of play. The good news for Michigan is that their best gave them the win they wanted in a hated rivalry and the win they needed to make a national championship a reality. Still, they needed every minute and potentially some help from the stripes to take out Illinois. Quite the difference a week makes. I don’t expect a flat performance from Michigan, but I do expect a decent showing from Purdue, especially from O’Connell and the passing game. The Purdue defense is also good enough to make Michigan work so that any Wolverine inefficiencies will keep the Boilers around. I’m looking for a similar game script from when Michigan played Indiana in Week 6. That was a 17-10 Michigan lead in the third quarter before the Wolverines got going late. I think this one stays a 7-10 point game, but Purdue has the offensive juice that Indiana does not, and the Boilermakers put three scores up. Michigan gets a 35-21 win that might look easier than that score would indicate, but that’s good enough for a Purdue cover.

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