It was a weekend of celebration in Ann Arbor. After eight consecutive losses to Ohio State, the Michigan Wolverines finally got a number of monkeys off their back when they earned their first trip to the Big Ten Conference championship game against Iowa.
A 42-27 win over the Buckeyes not only ended the rivalry losing streak, but now has Michigan making its first appearance in Indianapolis since the conference title game structure began in 2011.
Can Michigan avoid an emotional letdown on Saturday as it takes on the Hawkeyes and looks to reach the College Football Playoff?
Big Ten Championship Football Odds: Iowa vs. Michigan
Michigan a double-digit favorite in Big Ten championship game
Oddsmakers who allow you to bet on sports in Michigan took notice with the Wolverines’ performance against Ohio State.
Coming into this week’s Big Ten championship game, sportsbooks are listing UM as a 10.5-point favorite against the Hawkeyes.
On the moneyline, Michigan doesn’t have very appealing odds, as the Wolverines are listed from -440 to -450. Iowa is listed as a +325 to +340 underdog for the game.
The over/under total is listed at just 43.5 points in most sportsbooks. However, PointsBet Sportsbook has the total at 44.
Michigan is 10-2 against the spread this season, while Iowa is 7-5 ATS. According to BetMGM Sportsbook, the Wolverines actually had the best record against the spread in the country this season. Oklahoma State was second at 9-2-1 ATS.
The Wolverines also had an average cover of +9.3 points throughout the season.
When it comes to the total, Michigan is 6-6 with the over and under. Iowa’s games have gone under the total on seven out of 12 occasions.
Michigan has dominated this series over its history. The Wolverines are 42-15-4 all-time against Iowa. That said, the Hawkeyes have won five of the past seven meetings.
How to watch: Michigan Wolverines vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
- What: No. 2 Michigan (11-1, 8-1 Big Ten) vs. No. 15 Iowa (10-2, 7-2)
- When: 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 4
- Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
- TV: Fox (Announcers: Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt, Jenny Taft)
- Online livestream: FOX Sports App
- Radio: Learfield Michigan Sports Network
Jim Harbaugh gets his win over Ohio State
Jim Harbaugh had been considered a disappointment in his previous six seasons with Michigan. However, Saturday’s victory completely changed the outlook on the alum.
Harbaugh may be in line for another new contract following last Saturday’s victory, if Michigan is able to build on it this week.
Saturday’s win was the most lopsided victory for the Wolverines in the rivalry since 1993.
Though Ohio State put up 458 yards of offense, it’s fair to say Michigan controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball throughout the game.
Michigan put up 487 total yards, including 297 on the ground. The Wolverines held Ohio State’s run game to just 64 yards on 30 attempts.
The UM defensive front had four sacks, eight tackles for loss and four more quarterback hurries. Aidan Hutchinson had seven tackles and three sacks to lead the effort.
Offensively, Hassan Haskins was a workhorse, rushing for 169 yards and five touchdowns on 28 carries. Those five scores tied a Michigan single-game record. Blake Corum rushed for 87 yards, but was limited to six carries as he continues to deal with an ankle injury.
Cade McNamara had a steady game at QB, throwing for 159 yards on 13-for-19 passing. He overcame an early interception to manage the game well.
A whole new Big Ten world for Michigan
Saturday’s victory kicked in a locked door that Michigan hadn’t had access to in some time.
Along with its first appearance in the Big Ten championship game, Michigan is a win away from its first conference title since 2004, which would also almost certainly punch Michigan a ticket to its first College Football Playoff appearance.
DraftKings Sportsbook has Michigan at +850 to win the national title this year. Only Georgia (-220) and Alabama (+650) have shorter odds.
Hutchinson’s performance immediately thrust him into the Heisman Trophy discussion. Although hyped as a first-round NFL Draft pick throughout the year, the Heisman wasn’t really associated with Hutchinson until this weekend.
Oddsmakers at BetMGM Sportsbook have thrust him up to +2500 to win the honor, tying him with Ole Miss QB Matt Corral. Bryce Young of Alabama is the current favorite at -200, while CJ Stroud of Ohio State sits at +450.
MSU running back Kenneth Walker III is at +2000, while Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett is in the mix at +1600.
Iowa sneaks into Big Ten championship game
Iowa was on the outside looking in for the Big Ten championship game. The Hawkeyes got a 28-21 win at Nebraska last weekend, but needed a surprising Wisconsin loss to Minnesota to get the West Division title.
Although it possesses one of the worst offenses in the country, Iowa still poses a defensive challenge for Michigan.
The Hawkeyes lead the nation in takeaways at 22 this year. They also rank in 10th in scoring defense (17.3 ppg), 13th in total defense (315.8 ypg) and 14th in rushing defense (105.8 ypg).
Iowa will have to find a way to slow down Michigan’s offense, though, because the Hawkeyes have a major uphill climb on offense against the Michigan defense.
Iowa ranks 123rd nationally in total offense (299.3 ypg), while Michigan is 14th in total defense (318.8 ypg).
Tyler Goodson leads Iowa this season with 1,101 yards rushing and six touchdowns. At quarterback, Iowa has been using both Spencer Petras and Alex Padilla in recent games, but to varied success. Iowa only has 2,135 passing yards and 11 TDs on the season.