One game stands between No. 3 Michigan and its highly anticipated matchup with No. 2 Ohio State. Before the Wolverines (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten) can think about securing the Big Ten East title by beating the Buckeyes (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten), they want to take care of business at home against a solid Illinois team.
Even after consecutive losses, the Fighting Illini have been a success in Bret Bielema’s second season at the helm. Illinois is 7-3 with a season finale on Nov. 26 against a subpar Northwestern team. Illinois hasn’t won eight games in a season since a nine-win campaign in 2007, but an eight-win season looks likely this year.
Making a bowl game is a positive step for Illinois, but there’s a difference between becoming bowl eligible and going toe-to-toe with a top-five Michigan team. FanDuel lists Illinois as a 17.5-point underdog, while BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and PointsBet list the Wolverines as 18-point favorites.
Running back battle
While the Wolverines are significant favorites, this game should still offer plenty of intrigue. Expect the lead running back for each team to draw significant media attention before and during the contest.
Illinois running back Chase Brown leads the Big Ten with 144.2 rushing yards per game. The Fighting Illini love to lean on Brown, who has carried the ball 280 times in the team’s 10 games.
Michigan running back Blake Corum is a Heisman candidate, and he’s not far behind Brown in yards per game. Corum runs for an average of 134.9 yards per game, and he has 17 rushing touchdowns on the season. He ran for 162 yards and a score in last week’s 34-3 win over Nebraska.
Heisman him @blake_corum https://t.co/zwvfz6aixX
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) November 10, 2022
Corum has a legitimate chance to win the award, and he’s priced at +500 on FanDuel. The running back has the third-shortest odds, behind Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (+450) and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud (+125). With Ohio State looming on the schedule, Corum will have a chance to push for the award.
The total for Illinois-Michigan, which should feature plenty of running from Corum and Brown, sits around 42 points at most mobile sportsbooks.
Spartans chase bowl eligibility
While not a College Football Playoff contender, Michigan State takes a two-game winning streak into Saturday’s home finale against Indiana. The Spartans are one win away from securing bowl eligibility, and most sportsbooks have Michigan State as a 10.5-point favorite.
Indiana has lost seven consecutive games, and the Hoosiers are winless on the road this season. The total for Indiana-Michigan State is listed at 47.5 points at most sportsbooks.
Michigan State ends the season on the road against Penn State, making Saturday’s game against Indiana all the more important. The Spartans would prefer to have bowl eligibility clinched before the road clash against a good Penn State team.
Photo: Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY