Big Ten NCAA Football Odds: (8) Michigan Wolverines at Purdue Boilermakers

Michigan at Purdue
Time: 3 PM CT, Saturday
Spread: MICH -10
Total: 51.5

Odds c/o 5dimes

The Michigan Wolverines are rolling at 3-0 and possessors of a No. 8 national ranking, but this week the Wolverines will have a test as it travels to face the 2-1 Purdue Boilermakers, a team and program on the rise.

Michigan is still fairly heavily favored as 10-point underdogs, but many bettors are hinging their hopes on an upset in this affair, which will air at 3 PM (CT) on FOX Saturday. The over/under is set at 51.5, which is fairly high for a Michigan game, given the Wolverines’ typically strong defense.

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Michigan has hardly been poor defensively this season, either. It has allowed just 17, 14 and 13 points through its first three weeks, while scoring more than enough to dispose of Florida, Cincinnati and Air Force. The opening Week 1 win over Florida was an impressive one, as Michigan knocked off the then-No. 17 ranked Gators by a count of 33-17. Despite the victory, Wilton Speight struggled to complete passes, throwing just 11 of 25 for completion and suffering two interceptions to his one touchdown.

Running back Ty Isaac was on-point though. He had 114 yards on just 11 carries, including a long-rush of 36-yards. Speight had far less success moving it on the ground as the QB suffered a nine-yard total lossage on his four carries. Even so, the Michigan defense made life tough on Florida, as the Gators were only able to muster 11 (!) rushing yards, with a team average of less than one yard on its 27 attempts.

That rush defense should factor heavily against Purdue this week, with Tario Fuller being such a key to the Boilermakers’ offense. Purdue’s No. 1 back has been fairly unstoppable in averaging 6.1 yards per carry on his 43 attempts, totaling 261 yards on the season along with a pair of touchdowns. But the real key for Michigan will be slowing and impeding the accuracy of quarterback David Blough. The 6-foot-1 junior has thrown 76.1 percent for completion while averaging almost nine yards per attempt.

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Blough, however, has been sacked seven times, and Michigan will certainly rush him in attempt to both disturb his passes and get those coveted sacks. Blough keeps his composure well, but is not immune to the pressure: He has two interceptions on the season despite having maintained a very impressive passer rating of 174.5.

Purdue also has a bit of an x-factor when it goes with Elijah Sindelar off the bench. Sindelar is waiting in the wings as a sophomore, but he has thrown for 263 yards on 48 pass attempts and has accounted for four of Purdue’s passing TDs on the season. With Purdue having such a multifaceted offense, the Wolverines will be put to the test. Fuller is also capable of catching passes out of the backfield, with five receptions for 37 yards.

Cole Herdman leads Purdue in reception yardage, though, with 200 yards on a mere seven catches. He is made for deep routes, evidenced by his 28.6 yards per catch and a 62-yard TD catch this season. Jackson Anthrop is just 5-foot-11 but leads the team in receiving TDs with four, as a great end zone threat. He has 157 yards receiving on 17 catches, and he has rushed a few times to pick up nine yards total.

Purdue just does such a good job of mixing it up, and is hardly the pushover it has been known to be in historically in the Big Ten. That said, overcoming Michigan will require quite a performance, and the odds for this game speak loudly enough to that.

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