An upset seems unlikely in the 2023 Big Ten Championship Game as this contest looks like Michigan’s to take pretty handily. The Wolverines are 12-0, ranked #2 in the nation, and are knocking on the door of another berth in the College Football Playoff with a win.
Iowa has their hands full as +21.5 underdogs on Saturday night in Indianapolis. The Hawkeyes had a solid year at 10-2, but their offense is often hard to watch and nearly half of those victories came through defense and special teams. That being said, a three TD spread is always tough to cover in a Championship Game – but 67% of the public still like the Wolverines giving the points.
Why Iowa Has Value at +21.5 Points
When you bet on the 2023 Big Ten Championship Game, it’s not necessarily about Iowa but Michigan. If the Wolverines wanted to they could probably win this game by 40+ points – but do they want to? UM was in a very emotional 30-24 win over rival Ohio State last weekend and at this point the Big 10 Championship doesn’t mean anything – they want the Big One so may rest some players / reduce their workload.
Keeping the game within 21 points is doable for this Iowa defense, who will have to carry the load on Saturday night but that is also something they are used to. The Hawks’ are 7th in the country in yards allowed (279.3), 9th vs the pass (174.3), 17th vs the run (104.9), and 4th in points allowed (12.2).
The defensive numbers for Iowa are even more impressive considering they’re on the field a majority of the game because their own offense is so “look away bad”. Iowa has won a 15-6 game at Wisconsin, a 10-7 contest vs Northwestern, and a 15-13 outcome vs. Illinois and have also lost 12-10 to Minnesota over the last five games so they have a formula.
Why Michigan Has Value at -21.5
There are sportsbooks taking bets on whether Iowa scores a single point in Saturday night’s Big 10 Championship, so realistically it wouldn’t take a ton of offense for Michigan to cover what looks like a very high number. Would anybody be surprised to see a 23-0 Wolverines victory or even 28-3?
Michigan has no reason to bury Iowa here, but they may want to just to get coach Jim Harbaugh back in the mix after he sat out the last three games for his role in a sign stealing operation. Harbaugh is back and the Wolverines are going to be jacked up as they prepare for what seems like a guaranteed trip to the College Football Playoff.
Iowa has put up some solid defensive numbers recently that’s undoubtable – but also against the likes of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern, Rutgers, and Illinois – not exactly offensive juggernauts. Not to mention Michigan’s defense is #1 in the country in points allowed (10.3) and #2 in total defense (247.4) while facing competition such as Penn State and Ohio State over their last three games.
Free 2023 Big Ten Championship Game Betting Pick
There’s a chance Michigan looks past this game as they prepare for the playoff – but it’s not like Harbaugh to let that happen. The Wolverines are going to be playing with a chip on their shoulder even in a game where they are 3 TD favorites so the only thing to say is pray for Iowa.
Free Pick: Michigan -21.5