2022 Big Ten Championship Game odds: Michigan taking huge action vs. Purdue despite big spread, no Blake Corum
Could Saturday's Big Ten Championship Game between No. 2 Michigan and unranked Purdue be a bit of a trap for Jim Harbaugh's Wolverines? They are coming off a very emotionally charged win at rival Ohio State and are almost surely in the College Football Playoff no matter the result Saturday in Indianapolis. Michigan also will be without star running back Blake Corum. Despite all that, bettors at Caesars Sportsbook are crushing Michigan at -16.5.
The NCAA is allowing conferences to dump divisions going forward and still hold a title game – most will do so and the Pac-12 actually got ahead of everyone else and did it this year. Alas, the Big Ten will keep the East and West next year (they may be eliminated in 2024 when USC and UCLA enter), and that's a shame because the West isn't in the East's stratosphere. Four-loss Purdue has no right to be playing in this game.
Then again, since the AP poll began in 1936, no unranked team has been more successful against the highest-ranked teams in the country than Purdue. The Boilermakers have nine wins against AP No. 1 or No. 2 teams as an unranked club, four more than any other program.
Michigan was originally posted at -15.5 over Purdue and it now sits at -16.5 after the line crept down from -17. The Wolverines have captured 73.8% of the tickets and 81.9% of the handle at the book. The handle is the highest of any conference title game.
"I'm not surprised that Michigan has been this lopsided," said Joey Feazel, lead college football trader at Caesars Sportsbook. "Between the Ohio State win and demolishing Iowa in a similar spot in last year's Big Ten title game, the public is trusting them here. I think there's a little bit less pressure because I think Michigan is in the playoff regardless, but obviously you still want to win the Big Ten. Purdue is just outmatched here, but every time we get to 17, sharps are taking them there. So that's why we're hanging 16.5 now."
Corum, a potential Heisman Trophy finalist, barely played in last week's win over the Buckeyes because of a knee injury suffered the week prior vs. Illinois, and he will have season-ending surgery. Corum, who was named to the first team All-Big Ten and selected as a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, accounted for 18 of Michigan's 35 rushing touchdowns this season and ranks No. 8 among all FBS backs with 1,463 rushing yards this season. Except for against Ohio State, Corum scored a touchdown in every game this season and had more than 100 rushing yards in the other eight Big Ten games.
The Wolverines do have a stellar No. 2 in Donovan Edwards, who torched Ohio State with 216 yards and two long touchdowns (75 and 85 yards) on 22 carries. Freshman C.J. Stokes is likely to back him up.
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