Can Iowa Beat The Odds Again For A Big Ten Championship?

Written By Russ Mitchell on December 2, 2021

How likely was a Michigan vs. Iowa Big Ten Championship Game going into the most recent weekend?

Depending on where you looked and when you looked:

  • Iowa was a 1.5-point underdog at Nebraska on Black Friday. The Hawkeyes won 28-21 to keep their Big Ten Championship Game hopes alive.
  • Minnesota was a seven-point underdog at home to Wisconsin. The Badgers had to lose for Iowa to win the Big Ten West and punch its ticket to Indianapolis. The Gophers helped their southern neighbors with a 23-13 upset Saturday.
  • Michigan was an eight-point underdog at home to Ohio State. The Wolverines ended an eight-game skid in the rivalry with a 42-27 shocker in Ann Arbor.

That parlay carried quite a potential payout at sportsbooks in Iowa.

John Ewing at BetMGM Sportsbook IA used moneyline odds to calculate the three-leg parlay that made No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 13 Iowa possible. A customer who bet $100 on Iowa (+105) Minnesota (+235) and Michigan (+215) would have won $2,063 at his sportsbook.

Sports trader Jordan Rongaus at Elite Sportsbook IA said a $100 three-lege moneyline parlay of Iowa (+100), Michigan (+200) and Minnesota (+240) would have paid out $1,940.

Jason Sylva came up with similar numbers at Betfred Sportsbook in Iowa.

“The payout really depends on when you made the bet. All three lines moved quite a bit through the week.”

Using Betfred’s closing odds for each game, a $100 parlay bet on Iowa (+105), Minnesota (+240) and Michigan (+210) would have paid out $2,060.70.

“What a weekend it was in the Big Ten,” Sylva said. “All outcomes were good for the house.”

Big Ten Championship Game odds

Iowa started the season with 11-to-1 odds to win the Big Ten Championship at Bally Bet Sportsbook in Iowa. Michigan had 7-to-1 odds.

The Hawkeyes remain a longshot as they travel to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship game. As of midweek, the Wolverines are a 10.5- to 11-point favorite over Iowa.

“It’s going to be a tough challenge for us,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We’re excited about it. It’s an opportunity, certainly, but we’ve got a lot of work to do in the meantime to get ready.”

Ferentz also told reporters Iowa earned the right to play in the championship game.

“It took them all 12 games to get there. We talk to our players all the time: That’s why they keep a clock on it, 60 minutes a game, 12 games a year, see where it’s all at.”

How to watch the Big Ten Championship Game

  • What: No. 2 Michigan (11-1, 8-1 in the Big Ten) at No. 13 Iowa (10-2, 7-2)
  • When7 p.m. broadcast, 7:17 p.m. kickoff
  • Where: Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis
  • TV: Fox

Michigan has a 42-15-4 all-time record against the Hawkeyes. The Wolverines hold a 6-5-1 record in the series when both teams are ranked.

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What’s at stake

Michigan moved up three spots from No. 5 to No. 2 in the College Football Playoff Committee rankings released Tuesday night. The Wolverines will go to either the Cotton Bowl or Orange Bowl semifinal with a win. Ohio State would likely fill the Big Ten’s Rose Bowl spot if Michigan goes to the College Football Playoff.

No. 10 Oregon and No. 17 Utah play Friday night for the Pac-12 spot in Pasadena. The Iowa sportsbooks think Utah has the edge.

Iowa also moved up three spots — from No. 16 to No. 13 — in Tuesday’s CFP Committee rankings. The Hawkeyes get the Big Ten’s automatic Rose Bowl berth with a win.

Fans who want to bet on the Iowa Hawkeyes should keep Jan. 1 open — win or lose. College football writers are unanimous in their latest bowl projections. They think a Michigan win would send the Hawkeyes to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando on New Year’s Day.

  • Mark Schlabach at ESPN — vs. Kentucky
  • College Football News — vs. Kentucky
  • Erick Smith at USA Today — vs. Arkansas
  • Brad Crawford at 247Sports — vs. Kentucky
  • Bill Bender at Sporting News — vs. Kentucky
  • Stewart Mandel at The Athletic — vs. Kentucky
  • Kyle Bonagura at ESPN — vs. Texas A&M
  • Jerry Palm at CBS — vs. Texas A&M
  • Steven Lassan at Athlon Sports — vs. Texas A&M

The bowl-guessers think the Iowa State Cyclones are bound for Orlando too. Seven of the nine think Iowa State will play either Clemson or North Carolina State in the Dec. 29 Cheez-It Bowl. Orlando’s non-profit group Florida Citrus Sports operates both bowls.

If you’re going to the Big Ten Championship Game

The University of Iowa and the National I-Club invite traveling fans to the Hawkeye Huddle from 4:30-6:30 p.m. local time Saturday at the Indiana Convention Center. The location is about a block away from Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Huddle includes a live DJ, concessions and cash refreshments. Herky, the university’s spirit squad and marching band will also be on hand. Space is limited, however. Iowa fans will need a wristband. Get them at:

  • 4-7 p.m. Friday — Tiki Bob’s Catena, INVY Nightclub or Taps and Dolls
  • 7 p.m. Friday — Hawkeye Social at Tin Roof
  • 2-4 p.m. Saturday — at the Indiana Convention Center

Other CFB title games and odds

Photo by Paul Sancya / AP Photo
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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

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