Michigan vs Purdue Odds, Big Ten Championship Game Picks & Predictions
Dan Kilbridge | 5 mins
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For all the questions that persisted throughout the season, Michigan kept answering. Yes, the defense is that good. No, last year’s upset win over Ohio State in Ann Arbor wasn’t a fluke. Yes, they’ll be back in Indianapolis for a second straight Big Ten championship game appearance. And yes, the Wolverines are absolutely capable of winning a national championship.
Michigan proved that and more in Saturday’s 45-23 win over Ohio State. There was nothing fluky about it as the Wolverines torched the Buckeyes defense for the second year in a row. Doing that in Columbus for the first time in 22 years carries even more weight and it’s fair to wonder if these last two years will shift the trajectory of the rivalry for years to come.
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There’s just one more question for the Wolverines to answer ahead of the College Football Playoff, with Michigan set to take on Purdue Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
It’s the first-ever conference championship appearance for the Boilermakers, who snuck in with three straight wins over Illinois, Northwestern and Indiana to close out the regular season. We’ll see if Purdue can give Michigan a ball game after the Wolverines’ 42-3 win over Iowa in this game last year.
Purdue vs. Michigan Spread Pick
The Boilermakers caught a huge break missing both Michigan and Ohio State in the regular season. Such is the nature of the Big Ten West the past few years, where the path to Indianapolis is always wide open. But Purdue was only outclassed once all season, in an ugly 24-3 home loss to Iowa in early November. An upset win over Illinois sparked the championship game run and bodes well for the Boilermakers considering the Illini and Wolverines play a similar style of football. Michigan just does it a lot better.
The Boilermakers haven’t been a great bet on betting apps this season at 5-7 against the spread, but they’ve been frisky in this role. Purdue was an underdog in four Big Ten games and won three of them outright. Two of those came against teams that pride themselves on physicality and defensive dominance – Minnesota and Illinois – creating a glimmer of hope that the Boilermakers could make things interesting on Saturday night.
Purdue’s best shot to do that is with another stellar showing from Aidan O’Connell, who can definitely sling it. The problem is he’s not big on caution. O’Connell completed 31 of 46 attempts for 320 yards in that loss to Wisconsin, but he threw three interceptions to kill the Boilermakers’ chances. He’s been more conservative lately, going interception-free in back-to-back games after throwing a pick in seven consecutive games.
Michigan didn’t have any problems with the Hawkeyes last year, but this is a completely different type of challenge and a tougher matchup given the way the Wolverines are built. We don’t expect things to get nuts late, but this is too many points for a speedy Purdue offense on turf. We’ll take the Boilermakers +16.5 at Lucas Oil for one of our college football picks.
Purdue vs. Michigan Moneyline Pick
There shouldn’t be a ton of drama Saturday night, despite our pick for the Boilermakers to cover. Michigan will impose its will eventually and wear the Boilermakers front seven down enough to pull away and secure the victory.
It’s a steep price at -850, but we don’t see a lot of value on Purdue with college football odds of +600 either. The East is 8-0 against the West since the Big Ten’s 2014 divisional realignment and Michigan is in a great position to make it nine straight. The Wolverines could certainly still get into the CFP with a loss, though it would be a bad one given the point spread. We don’t think that discussion will ever come to fruition, as Michigan should take care of business and cover the moneyline.
Purdue vs. Michigan Over/Under Pick
The total is set in the low 50s at top sportsbooks for what will be the first meeting between these two teams since 2017. The big question is whether or not Purdue can move the ball with any type of success.
If the Boilermakers struggle to maintain drives, the Wolverines should be content to grind clock and wear Purdue down for four quarters. Much was made of Michigan’s passing game Saturday as the Wolverines racked up 263 yards through the air. But that wasn’t the gameplan.
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy only completed 12 attempts against the Buckeyes. And 189 of those yards came on just three plays, touchdown passes of 69, 75 and 45 yards. It’s not something we’ve seen from the Wolverines this year, nor do we expect a repeat Saturday against a strong Purdue secondary.
This game could look a lot more like a traditional Big Ten slugfest than some think. We like Under 51.5 in the Big Ten title game for our college football betting selections this weekend.