No. 13 Iowa meets No. 2 Michigan in the Big Ten championship game on Saturday.
Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The game will be televised on FOX.
Michigan (11-1) is making its first appearance in the Big Ten championship game and looking for its first conference championship since 2004. The Wolverines beat Ohio State 42-27 last week behind standout performances from Hassan Haskins and Aidan Hutchinson. With a win, Jim Harbaugh will have Michigan in the College Football Playoff.
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Iowa (10-2) has a chance to play the role of spoiler. The Hawkeyes won the Big Ten West Division and are making their second appearance in the Big Ten championship game. Kirk Ferentz is 1-1 in head-to-head coaching matchups against Harbaugh, and Iowa will stick to a grind-it-out-style on both sides.
The Big Ten East has won eight straight Big Ten championship games.
It’s an old-school Big Ten championship game; the last one of the weekend. With that in mind, a look at everything you need to know to bet on the Wolverines and Hawkeyes:
Iowa vs. Michigan odds
- Spread: Michigan -10.5
- Over/under: 43.5
- Moneyline: Michigan -520, Iowa +375
Three trends to know
— The Wolverines are 10-2 ATS in 2021, and that includes a record of 5-1 ATS with double-digit spreads. The only game with a double-digit spread Michigan didn’t cover this season was a 20-13 victory against Rutgers on Oct. 2.
— The Hawkeyes are 7-5 ATS in 2021, but they are 2-0 S/U as underdogs with victories against Iowa State and Nebraska.
— Iowa has won five of the last seven meetings against Michigan dating back to 2009. The Hawkeyes and Wolverines have split the last two matchups. Iowa beat Michigan 14-13 on Nov. 12, 2016. The Wolverines beat the Hawkeyes 10-3 on Oct. 5, 2019.
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Three things to watch
— Hassan Haskins’ encore. The Michigan running back rushed for 169 yards and five TDs against Ohio State, and the Wolverines were able to dominate up front. Iowa presents a different challenge. The Hawkeyes have a top-15 run defense and allow just 3.0 yards per carry, and linebackers Jack Campbell and Seth Benson have combined for 213 tackles this season. Will the Wolverines’ offensive line be able to get a push at the second level? If so, then Iowa will be in trouble.
— Iowa’s ball-control offense. The Hawkeyes have the same methodical offense built around All-American center Tyler Linderbaum, and Tyler Goodson is a multi-purpose back who totaled 1,101 rushing yards and six TDs on the ground and 25 catches for 219 yards and a TD. Michigan allowed 3.5 yards per carry this season, and linebacker Josh Ross was a force with 86 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss.
— Spencer Petras and Cade McNamara. Which quarterback will make the big throws when needed? Petras completed 58.1% of his passes this season and threw nine interceptions, and he will have to weather the edge pressure from Hutchinson (13 sacks) and David Ojabo (11 sacks). Will that pressure create a game-changing play for safety Daxton Hill? Iowa has a talented secondary, and the Hawkeyes had 22 interceptions and 82 points off turnovers this season. McNamara threw just three interceptions this season behind a high-percentage passing attack directed by offensive coordinator Josh Gattis.
Stat that matters
The first quarter will be huge. Will Michigan carry the momentum from the victory against Ohio State into this game? Or will there be an emotional letdown? Michigan outscored opponents 54-16 in the first quarter this season. Iowa, meanwhile, was outscored 68-46 in the first quarter. There is more pressure on the Hawkeyes to build an early lead and control tempo from there.
Iowa vs. Michigan prediction
It’s a big stage and an old-school block-and-tackle game for Big Ten purists. Michigan played a similar game against Wisconsin this season. The defenses will be huge, and don’t be surprised if Iowa tests the down-field passing game early to create some momentum. Harbaugh and Gattis will have to stay patient with the running game, and they will. It won’t be comfortable at times, and Iowa might have a chance to tie with a last-minute drive. But Michigan’s defense comes up with the stop in the end, and the Wolverines advance to the College Football Playoff.
Final score: Michigan 27, Iowa 19