On Saturday, we’ll get plenty of conference championships to watch. One of the highly anticipated games year after year is the Big Ten Championship. Usually, the Ohio State Buckeyes are involved in the game. However, this year, Michigan knocked Ohio State out of the championship game and will now take on the Iowa Hawkeyes from the Big Ten crown.
The Wolverines have just one loss this season, and it came against Michigan State. Michigan led that game by three possessions and ultimately choked the lead away, allowing Michigan State back in the game. On the other hand, Iowa has two losses on the year to Purdue and Wisconsin. Both of those losses were back-to-back in late October.
Iowa, with two losses, won’t get to play in the College Football Playoff, even with a win against Michigan. However, if the Wolverines win the Big Ten Championship, they’ll find their way into the College Football Playoff with a chance at plenty of more trophies.
Here are our picks and predictions for the Big Ten Championship game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Michigan Wolverines.
- Opening Line: Michigan -10.5, O/U 43.5
- Current Line: Michigan -10.5, O/U 43.5
- Last meeting: October 5, 2019, Michigan 10, Iowa 3
The Michigan Wolverines have scored 37.3 points per game while allowing 17.2 points per game. It’s been a terrific year for Michigan after a big win, at home, against Ohio State to get a chance to play in the Big Ten Championship game.
Quarterback Cade McNamara leads the Wolverines, but he’s not asked to do a whole lot. He’s thrown just 284 balls this season with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions. He’s protected the ball and has limited turnovers while letting running back Hassan Haskins enjoy the spotlight.
Haskins has 244 attempts for 1,232 yards on the season. He’s also rushed for 18 touchdowns on the year and is averaging five yards per carry.
The run game averages 224.9 yards per game and has been the focal point of Iowa’s offense this season. The run block from Michigan hasn’t been the best, but it’s enough with Haskins able to dodge most defenders in the open field.
Defensively, Michigan is the best in the Big Ten. Michigan has allowed just 319.4 yards per game with under 200 yards passing and 123.1 yards rushing per game. There’s simply no area where Michigan has looked bad in this season on the defensive end. Consistently, the Wolverines come to play and dominate on the defensive end.
On the other hand, Iowa also relies on its running game, with quarterback Spencer Petras only throwing nine touchdowns and six interceptions on the season. Iowa doesn’t have the better running backs but has the offensive line that can move defensive linemen to create gaps.
The Hawkeyes are averaging just 299.1 yards per game on the offensive end while giving up 315.8 yards per game on the defensive end. The Hawkeyes offense struggles too much on the offensive end to stick around against the big teams.
- Wolverines are 6-0 ATS in their last six games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
- Wolverines are 6-0 ATS in their last six games on FieldTurf.
- Over is 5-0 in Wolverines’ last five neutral site games as a favorite.
Iowa hasn’t been great rushing the passer this season. For Michigan, protecting in the passing game has been the most challenging portion this season. With the pass rush being Iowa’s weakest area on the defensive end, Michigan should be just fine offensively.
Meanwhile, Michigan should get plenty of stops against Iowa, especially when Iowa goes down early. When things start to get out of hand, Iowa will look to pass, and the protection in the passing game just hasn’t been there this year. Michigan has one of the better pass rushes in the nation and should have no problem getting to Petras to force a turnover or two.
Pick: Michigan -10.5 (-110)
Whether you’re new to fantasy football or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Football 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with our Beginner’s Guide to Daily Fantasy Football or head to more advanced strategy — like A Guide to Orchestrating Early Season Trades — to learn more.