The No. 2 Michigan Wolverines are eyeing a national-title run, but first they need to beat the 13th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes in the 2021 Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday. The Wolverines (11-1) moved up to the second spot in the College Football Playoff rankings with a 42-27 victory against Ohio State last Saturday. Now they will need to avoid a letdown for a chance to play for their first national championship since 1997, and their 12th overall. Neither team has won a conference championship since 2004, when they shared the title. Iowa (10-2) beat Nebraska last Friday for its fourth straight win, but it is seeking this title to salvage what was shaping up as a dream season. The Hawkeyes climbed to No. 2 in the nation after a 6-0 start but promptly lost consecutive games.
Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Wolverines are the 12-point favorites in Caesars Sportsbook's latest Michigan vs. Iowa odds, and the over-under for total points scored is set at 43.5. Before locking in any Iowa vs. Michigan picks or college football predictions, you need to see what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past five-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of almost $3,700 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It also enters Championship Week 2021 on a 42-28 run on all top-rated college football side picks. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Now, the model has zeroed in on Iowa vs. Michigan and just locked in its picks and predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see the model's picks. Here are the CFB odds and betting lines for Michigan vs. Iowa:
- Iowa vs. Michigan spread: Wolverines -12
- Iowa vs. Michigan over-under: 43.5 points
- Iowa vs. Michigan moneyline: Hawkeyes +360, Wolverines -475
- IOWA: It is 18-16-1 in conference games since 2018
- MICH: It is 19-14 in Big Ten games since 2018
Why Michigan can cover
Michigan is 6-2 with the rest advantage since Jim Harbaugh took over in 2015. It is much better on offense and nearly the Hawkeyes' equal on defense. And that defense is fired up after the win against OSU that saw Aidan Hutchinson post three sacks and UM hold one of the nation's highest-scoring teams to 27 points. Hutchinson is third in the nation with a school-record 13 sacks, and David Ojabo has six in the past five games to give him 11. They will get after Spencer Petras, who is completing just 58 percent of his throws, with six picks and 23 sacks.
Michigan is 10-2 against the spread this season, and its balanced offense should trouble Iowa's stout defense. Running back Hassan Haskins rushed for 169 yards and five TDs against a strong OSU defense last week. He has 1,232 rushing yards and 18 TDs for the season, and Blake Corum has chipped in 865 rushing yards, 20 receptions and 11 total TDs. Quarterback Cade McNamara isn't flashy, but he rarely makes a mistake. He has 2,301 passing yards, with 14 TDs to 10 different receivers, and he has three interceptions and six sacks in the 12 starts.
Why Iowa can cover
Iowa is 7-2 ATS against ranked teams since the start of the 2019 season, and the underdog is 9-4 ATS in the last 13 meetings. The Hawkeyes have beaten all three ranked teams they have played (Indiana, Iowa State, Penn State) and have won five of the past seven against the Wolverines. The defense gives up just 17.3 points per game (10th in the nation) and ranks 13th in total yards allowed (315.8). Iowa leads the nation with 22 interceptions, with defensive backs Dane Belton (five) and Riley Moss (four) leading the way, and the unit has scored three TDs.
Jack Campbell, who is tied for eighth in the nation with 124 tackles, is the leader on defense. Joe Evans and Lukas Van Ness both have six sacks, and Noah Shannon helps clog the middle. Iowa ranks 14th in the nation against the run (15.8 yards per game). Running back Tyler Goodson is the focal point of the offense and has 1,320 total yards and seven TDs. The offense averages less than 300 yards per game, with Petras throwing for 1,532, with nine TDs and six interceptions. Tight end Sam LaPorta is the top pass-catcher with 40 receptions for 486 yards.
How to make Iowa vs. Michigan Big Ten Championship picks
The model is projecting over on the point total, suggesting the teams will combine for 47 points. The model also has generated a point-spread pick that is hitting in almost 60 percent of simulations. You can only get the model's Michigan vs. Iowa pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Saturday's Big Ten Championship matchup? And which side of the spread is hitting almost 60 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the Michigan vs. Iowa spread to back Saturday, all from the advanced model on a 42-28 run on its top-rated college football picks, and find out.