Once again there feels like a bit of a letdown with the Michigan-Ohio State winner set to face an overmatched team out of the Big Ten West Division in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday.
Iowa ranks last among 133 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in total offense so naturally the Hawkeyes are the heavy underdogs according to the college football betting lines.
Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. and Michigan running back Blake Corum were among the best bets to come through in Week 13 with four of those picks delivering.
There won’t be somebody like Harrison to call upon for the underdog Iowa team, and the Hawkeyes’ defense will look to limit the damage from the top Michigan offensive players.
When looking at our NCAA football betting lines, Michigan is favored by 22½ points in a game set for 8 p.m. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
When looking at our NCAA football championship odds, Michigan is second in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. Iowa is 16th in the College Football Playoff rankings, 18th in the Associated Press poll and 17th in the American Football Coaches Association poll.
Michigan (+190) moved back ahead of two-time defending national champion Georgia (+200) for the best odds of winning the national title.
Here’s a look at some betting options going into the Big Ten championship game.
Ride with Touchdown-Happy Corum Once Again
The longer the season goes, the bigger the role becomes for Michigan running back Blake Corum.
Corum had more than 20 carries once in the first nine games. Over the last three games, he has 26, 28 and 22 rushing attempts.
Expect Corum to be busy once again against the Hawkeyes.
— Reel Analytics (@RAanalytics) November 30, 2023
It remains to be seen if he will have his fifth straight game with at least two touchdowns, but it is hard to go against the reliable Corum delivering near the goal line once again.
College football Pick: Michigan’s Blake Corum to have at least two touchdowns -126
Hawkeyes Look To Ground It Out
It is natural to wonder how long Iowa can stick with the running game. If Michigan jumps on top early, that could limit the workload for Iowa running backs Leshon Williams and Kaleb Johnson.
Iowa knows how to slow things and hang around in games so that makes it rather tempting to look at the rushing props for both Williams and Johnson.
Johnson has the more reasonable numbers and that gives him the edge in the eyes of those who bet online.
College football Pick: Iowa’s Kaleb Johnson to have at least 33 rushing yards +108
Michigan QB a Tempting Best Bet
There figure to be some games this weekend featuring high-octane passing offenses. This is not one of them. Last week, Michigan’s J.J. Edwards passed for 148 yards in the win over Ohio State. The longest completion for the Wolverines was by running back Donovan Edwards.
Iowa’s Deacon Hill was 11 of 28 for 94 yards with no touchdown passes and an interception as the Hawkeyes topped Nebraska 13-10.
Even with the bar set low for Hill and the Iowa passing offense, we are going to stay away from the Iowa passing yardage props.
Iowa has allowed the fourth-fewest passing yards among Big Ten teams and only Ohio State has a better opposing passer rating than the Hawkeyes.
Still, look for McCarthy to make some plays in the passing game as Iowa will be crowding the line of scrimmage in an attempt to slow down the Michigan running game. Keep that in mind when looking at the NCAA football best bets.
College football Pick: Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy to have at least 194 passing yards -113
Is Michigan WR Johnson Ready To Come Through?
Experience matters at this time of the season.
Michigan receiver Cornelius Johnson will be playing in his 59th career game.
Johnson never took that next step after averaging 15.9 yards on 33 catches during the 2021 season.
The expectations for Johnson are much lower than they are for teammate Roman Wilson and that could be good news for those who bet online.
College football Pick: Michigan’s Cornelius Johnson to have at least 39 receiving yards +112
Take Chance on Iowa Tight End Scoring Early
One of the many concerning numbers associated with Iowa heading into the Big Ten Championship Game is that Iowa ranks 128th out of 133 teams in points per game in the first quarter.
The only chance Iowa has is to hang around. If the Hawkeyes fall behind early and have to start throwing the ball, things could get ugly.
This is one of those “what do you have to lose” types of bets, but why not take a chance on Iowa tight end Addison Ostrenga scoring the game’s first touchdown?
His role has increased since the injury to Erick All. In the last four games, he has 19 catches and a pair of touchdowns.
College football Pick: Iowa’s Addison Ostrenga to game the game’s first touchdown +3300
Questions Of The Day
Which Big Ten team has the best opportunity to win the Big Ten championship game?
Michigan is favored by 22½ points against Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game
Which Big Ten team has the best offense?
Ohio State has averaged the most yards per game among Big Ten teams but Michigan has put up the most points per game.