This article is part of our College Football Picks series.
College Football Picks: Michigan vs. Iowa
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A tradition ends here in 2023. The Big Ten East would be a slugfest between top college programs, and then the Big Ten West would…also have a divisional champ. Typically, the Big Ten title game has, as a result, appeared lopsided on paper, and often would prove lopsided in practice. While those days are over as divisions die across college football, we get that one more time in the Wolverines taking on the Hawkeyes.
Michigan vs. Iowa Betting Odds for the Big Ten Championship Game
Spread: Michigan -21.5 (FanDuel sportsbook), Iowa +22.5 (BetMGM sportsbook)
Total: 35.5 (BetMGM Sportsbook)
Moneyline: Michigan +2000 (BetMGM Sportsbook), Iowa +1300 (ESPN BET Sportsbook)
We've all been having fun with the over/unders on Iowa games, especially as Iowa continued to almost obstinately hit the under against every opponent. This is a bit of an uptick on the totals front, owing to the presence of Michigan, obviously. Any sensible college football mind is not expecting many points from the Hawkeyes.
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Michigan vs. Iowa Betting Picks for the Big Ten Championship Game
Look, I won't bury the lede. The second this matchup was locked in I knew I was going to take Michigan and the points. I didn't care what the line was, and when I saw I could get it at -21.5, I was truly enthused. You may be like me, a college football lover who enjoys all the odd nooks and crannies of this sport. It was fun, in a strange way, to keep up with Iowa (note: not watching Iowa) as it defied modernization. Time and time again, the Iowa defense led by Phil Parker would allow a team with a fetid offense to win. The Hawkeyes would go out there and beat Northwestern 10-7, Nebraska 13-10, and so on. They are a novelty. They are also not a particularly good college football team. Michigan? It may be the best, especially with Jim Harbaugh back on the sidelines with his "Strike hard, strike fast, no mercy" ethos.
Both of these teams have great defenses. Iowa ranks first in defensive SP+ and Michigan ranks second. There is a crucial difference, though. The Wolverines rank ninth offensively, while the Hawkeyes rank 124th. Cade McNamara and Erick All are out (and so is Cooper DeJean, an excellent defensive back). Iowa played one above-average team all season, and that was Penn State. The Nittany Lions won that one 31-0. Michigan beat Penn State 24-15. The Wolverines should win this one with ease. It might be the kind of game where you ask yourself, "Wait, has Iowa crossed midfield yet?" at some point in the third quarter.
Michigan vs. Iowa Best Bet: Michigan -21.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
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Michigan vs. Iowa Predictions for the Big Ten Championship Game
If the Hawkeyes score a touchdown, something fluky has happened or they have scored a defensive touchdown. Iowa's offense is woeful, especially with all these injuries. It's more likely the Hawkeyes are shut out than it is they score double-digit points offensively. Iowa's defense won't make it easy for J.J. McCarthy and Blake Corum, but the Wolverines will get some points. If Penn State can score 31 points on the Hawkeyes, Michigan can do that, if not more. The Wolverines cruise into the college football playoffs with a breezy-but-tenacious win.