CFB: Michigan Takes on the Incredible Under Wonders in Big 10 championship

darren cooper
By:
Darren Cooper
27/11/2023/
NCAAF

Highlights

  • For the second time in three years, Michigan will play Iowa for the Big 10 title in Indianapolis. Michigan is shooting for a third straight Big 10 title.
  • Iowa has become a media sensation and sportsbook wonder hitting the under in 10 of their 12 games. The Hawkeyes are 10-2 straight up, but have scored only 216 points this season.
  • The early line has Michigan at least a three-touchdown favorite and the total at 35 points.

Michigan fans can add another core memory. What were they doing when Rod Moore intercepted the pass to seal the 30-24 win over Ohio State?

Now the 12-0 Wolverines are the favorite at multiple Michigan sportsbooks to win the national championship again. They got by Ohio State and are three more wins away.

Up next is Iowa Saturday in the Big 10 championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Hawkeyes are 10-2, but DraftKings and BetMGM already have Michigan as big favorites, but that’s not the number everyone will be talking about. It will be the total.

Every time the sportsbook go low, Iowa somehow goes lower.

Iowa: The Ultimate Under-Dog 

For the last few weeks, sportsbooks have been setting record low numbers for Iowa games, and yet, the Hawkeyes keep going under.

Last week, the over/under total for Nebraska was a record 25.5. Iowa won 13-10 on a last second field goal by a back-up kicker.

The week before, Iowa-Illinois, the total was 33.5, again, super low. Iowa won 15-13. Against Rutgers, the total was 27, Iowa won 22-0. Against Northwestern at Wrigley Field, the total was a now laughable 32, Iowa won 10-7.

Iowa is 2-10 over/under this year, and 6-5-1 against the spread. It’s truly a remarkable streak.

What’s Iowa’s Deal? 

Even though the Hawkeyes are 10-2, they have a brutal offense. Former Michigan starting quarterback Cade McNamara was the Hawkeyes starter at the beginning of the season, but he tore his ACL in Week 5 and was replaced by sophomore Deacon Hill. Hill has completed under 50 percent of his passes, which is almost unheard of in football in 2023.

Iowa’s offense ranks 125th in the nation in points per game. They have scored 216 points. Michigan has scored 421.

Iowa averages 122.9 yards rushing per game, Michigan 171. Iowa has thrown for 123.4 yards per game, Michigan 228.6.

That’s how you hit all the unders.

Hail To The Victors 

A Michigan win in the Big 10 Championship game pretty much guarantees them a spot in the four-team College Football Playoff for the second straight year. Michigan clobbered Iowa in the Big 10 title game 42-3 back in 2021.

The rest of the CFP field looks is not as set. Georgia and Alabama play for the SEC title. Georgia is two-time national champs, so the debate will be if Alabama wins do both teams make it, because that would knock someone out. A lot hinges on what happens in the Pac-12 title game between high scoring Washington and Oregon, the winner of that probably gets in. Plus Florida State can get in with a win in the ACC title game over Louisville. Texas has a win over Alabama, so it still has a shot to make it with a win in the Big 12 title game.

This is the time of year where upsets are possible and just about anything can happen…except for Iowa hitting the over.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.