Big Ten Best Bet: Michigan to Cover 30-Point Spread vs. Purdue?


Nov 2, 2023

For a Big Ten showdown, the spread for Michigan vs. Purdue seems immense. However, remember that the Wolverines managed to cover a spread of over 30 points against Indiana just a few weeks back. Their recent Big Ten victories have been by 38, 42, 45, and 49 points. It’s worth noting that three out of these games were away, and two were against first-pace Big Ten West rivals.

There’s no doubt that this matchup heavily favors Michigan. They’re at the pinnacle of college football in terms of EPA/play and success rate nationwide and are just behind the leader in available yards percentage.

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Michigan Wolverines vs. Purdue Boilermakers Betting

Spread: Michigan -32.5 | Total: 50.5

Money Line: Michigan -8000 | Purdue +2000 

More B1G: Big Ten Power Rankings | Handicapping the B1G West | CFP Top 5: MICH & OSU | CFP: OSU vs. FSU

Michigan Wolverines vs. Purdue Boilermakers Preview

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET; TV: NBC | Location: Michigan Stadium | Ann Arbor, MI

Michigan: CFP Ranking: 3 | SP+: 1 | PFF: 2

Purdue: CFP Ranking: NR | SP+: 76 | PFF: 73

When Michigan Has the Ball

The driving force behind Michigan’s potent offense, averaging 40.6 PPG (a Big Ten best), is JJ McCarthy. With his standout EPA/play and success rate, he ranks third among all quarterbacks. As a Heisman contender, his impressive 0.722 EPA/ATT sets him apart from other passers. McCarthy has an innate ability to create plays, whether within the pocket, improvising, or running.

With standout performers like Roman Wilson, boasting a 90% catch rate and ten touchdowns, and tight end Colston Loveland, with an 88% catch rate and four touchdowns, their passing game is unparalleled. Though their running prowess isn’t as it was the previous season, it remains consistent, ranking 24th in success rate.

Compared to Purdue’s defense, which allows an average of 30 PPG (worst in the Big Ten), Michigan’s offense has taken apart even better defenses. Despite Ryan Walters’s aggressive tactics, Purdue’s defensive shortcomings are evident. Their record shows them conceding over 30 points to five different teams, none of which are on par with Michigan’s offensive capabilities.

Highlighting Michigan’s efficiency, they lead the Big Ten in third-down conversions at 56.5%. In stark contrast, Purdue’s defense ranks 13th in halting third downs at 46.3%. One wonders how Purdue can slow down the Wolverines.

When Purdue Has the Ball

While Michigan’s offense is top-notch, their defense is even more impressive, allowing only 5.9 PPG, the best in the Big Ten. Their rankings in various categories further underscore their dominance.

The duo of Kris Jenkins and Mason Graham anchors the defense, ensuring edge rushers can work at getting to the passer. Notably, transfer from Coastal Carolina, Josaiah Stewart, has been on a roll with four sacks in the last quartet of games.

Purdue’s quarterback, Hudson Card, deserves sympathy going into Ann Arbor. With an underperforming offensive line that has allowed 18 sacks, ranking them 12th in the Big Ten, Card often finds himself under immense pressure. Adding to their woes, they’ve lost tackles Marcus Mbow and Mahamane Moussa for the season.

Their subpar running game and passing struggles further diminish their offensive prospects.

The Pick: Michigan -32.5

On special teams, the disparity is even more significant, with Michigan ranking seventh and Purdue a distant 124th nationally (per SP+). There might be some who’d jest about Michigan not deciphering Purdue’s signals on Saturday. But remember what happened with Michigan State. All the negative attention is not something the Wolverines take lightly. If anything, controversies like these only fuel Michigan’s determination, especially as they approach the final games of this season.

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Thumbnail photo via Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

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