Purdue vs Michigan Odds, Picks, and Predictions: McCarthy Flexes Dual-Threat Muscles in Easy Win

Despite the ongoing sign-stealing investigation, college football odds still expect Michigan to handle its business against Purdue in Week 10. Read our NCAAF betting picks below for a breakdown of the matchup, the best bet, and more.

Rob Paul - Betting Analyst at Covers.com
Rob Paul • Betting Analyst
Nov 3, 2023 • 16:05 ET • 4 min read

Everybody in Big Ten country is talking about Michigan, and not because they cracked the initial CFP rankings at No. 3.

With the Wolverines marred in controversy around the Connor Stalions sign stealing investigation, things could have been hairy for them if they had a big-time challenger this week. Instead, they have Purdue coming to town.

The Boilermakers are heading to the Big House and the college football odds don’t sniff anything close to an upset taking place with Jim Harbaugh’s squad 32.5-point favorites against this 2-6 Purdue program.

While JJ McCarthy probably won’t be wearing a “Free Stallions” shirt, he thrived the last time a coach in the maize and blue got in hot water.

Find out where my best bets lie in our free college football picks for Purdue vs. Michigan on Saturday, November 4.

Purdue vs Michigan best odds

Purdue vs Michigan picks and predictions

The Michigan Wolverines have yet to be tested this season with their closest margin of victory being 24 points against Rutgers. It’s been smooth sailing for J.J. McCarthy over these first eight games and he currently sits second in Heisman Tropphy odds at +300.

The best bet to be the third quarterback selected in the 2024 NFL Draft, McCarthy is in position to add to his Heisman campaign this week against a down-on-their-luck Purdue Boilermakers program that’s 1-4 in the Big Ten and coming off a 17-point loss to Nebraska.

With how easy it’s been for Michigan this season, McCarthy hasn’t been asked to throw the ball too much, especially when Michigan builds big leads against the bottom dwellers of the Big Ten.

He’s averaging 224.8 passing yards per game this season and 219.6 in conference games. With his line for this game set at 240.5, he might not need to throw too much, hurting his chances of getting there — he’s averaging just 21.1 pass attempts per game this season.

Instead, we look at his rushing line of 18.5 to find some value. McCarthy is a fluid athlete who uses his athleticism to make plays out of structure but has also taken advantage of designed runs called by offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore this season to keep defenses honest.

While his 168 rushing yards this season don’t pop off the stat sheet, he’s averaging 21 per game on 4.1 carries. In Big Ten games, he’s relied on his mobility slightly more, especially with the somewhat lackluster play of running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards. 

The duo has just 816 combined rushing yards through eight games at 4.6 per carry after combining for 1,427 rushing yards at 6.1 per carry in the first eight games of last season. As a result, McCarthy has run slightly more in conference games averaging 26.6 rushing yards per game on 5.2 attempts per game. 

With McCarthy behind center utilizing his athleticism, arm talent, and accuracy, the Wolverines have been one of the most efficient offenses in college football despite the drop-off in play from their running backs.

They still sit third in EPA per play and have an offensive line that buries anyone that gets in their way — which is important with sacks counting as negative rushing yards in college football.

That’s going to put Purdue in a less-than-ideal position. While head coach Ryan Walters has a defensive background, Purdue is just 61st in EPA per play on defense. They’ve been giving up 153.8 yards per game, fourth-most in the Big Ten, and haven’t handled mobile quarterbacks well.

Against Nebraska, Syracuse, Wisconsin, and Illinois — teams that leaned into the quarterback run game against them — Purdue allowed an average of 72.5 rushing yards to passers in those games. Walters is certainly aware of what McCarthy can do with his legs too.

“Very talented. Can make every throw,” Walters said of McCarthy. “Can get you out of trouble with his legs on the ground. I think that's where he's grown this season.”

My best bet: J.J. McCarthy Over 18.5 rushing yards (-115 at bet365)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.

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Purdue vs Michigan same-game parlay

J.J. McCarthy Over 18.5 rushing yards (-115)

Blake Corum anytime TD (-600)

Under 50.5 (-110)

Even with Corum looking like he’s a step below where he was last season as he continues to recover from a knee injury, he’s been the most consistent touchdown scorer in college football.

Moore and Harbaugh want to feed the heart and soul of their offense every time they’re near the end zone and it’s paid off. Corum is tied for the most rushing touchdowns this season with 13 in just eight games.

The All-American has scored in every single game this season and has four multi-touchdown games on top of it and while Corum scoring isn’t great for the Under, the Wolverines defense has been so good that it might not matter.

Defensive coordinator Jesse Minter’s unit ranks first in EPA per play on defense, first in EPA per pass, and third in EPA per rush.

They’re giving up only 5.9 points per game, the best mark in the country, and playing a Boilermakers offense that’s scoring only 21.9 per game, 106th in the country.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Purdue vs Michigan spread and Over/Under analysis

While there’s plenty of drama in Ann Arbour over what’s happening with Harbaugh and the program, it hasn’t influenced the line in the slightest. Michigan opened as anywhere between 30.5 to 32.5-point favorites and most books have them at -32.5 to -33.5 now.

The Wolverines have been a fine team against the spread this season going 4-3-1. All four of their covers have come in Big Ten games where they’re 4-0-1 ATS. They’ve covered in four straight.

Purdue has really struggled ATS at 2-6 this season. They’ve only covered in their two wins and are 0-6 ATS in losses. They’re 1-4 ATS in Big Ten games.

The total for this game opened at 48 or 48.5, depending on the book, and has moved up to 50.5 pretty much everywhere.

Michigan is 4-4 to the Over this season, but is 0-3 O/U anytime the total has been above 50.

The Boilermakers have been even hitting the Over this season at 4-4 with their defensive struggles helping in that department. They’ve gone 3-2 O/U in conference play. 

Purdue vs Michigan betting trend to know

Michigan has cashed the Under in six of its last nine games at home (+2.70 units / 27% ROI). Find more college football betting trends for Purdue vs Michigan.

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Purdue vs Michigan game info

Location: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
Date: Saturday, November 4, 2023
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET

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