Only three weeks ago, this spread would’ve looked much different, especially with Purdue coming off a three-win season. But three Games into the 2017 campaign with the Big Ten Schedule starting up, Michigan is just a -10 point road favorite at Purdue early in the week at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
While the Wolverines have failed to cover in their last two wins, the Boilermakers have covered all three of their Games under new head coach Jeff Brohm. It was impressive when they battled Louisville in the opener, but they’ve dominated their last two Games, one as a -3 point favorite and the other as an underdog at Missouri. Michigan knows it has a real test on its hands and can’t take this Game lightly.
The Wolverines remain a Top 10 team and that should continue in the next month until a trip to Penn State, but nothing will be a given with trips to Purdue and Indiana to go with an in-state battle against Michigan State. This is the first true road Game of the season for them and that never comes easy, even if Wilton Speight has a year of experience under his belt. That’s mainly because Speight has been less efficient this season, mostly due to a slew of new receivers he’s working with. Completing just 54.5% of his passes for 3 TDs and 2 INTs is not what Michigan fans wanted to see heading into the season.
With that, the Wolverines will continue to take a run-heavy approach between Ty Isaac (336 yards), Chris Evans and Karan Higdon. Isaac left with an injury last week, but isn’t expected to miss any time. Purdue’s defense has surprisingly looked good early on since giving up 35 points to Louisville isn’t all that bad. LAmar Jackson did whatever he wanted in that Game, but the Boilers just locked down a mediocre Missouri offense. Michigan’s offense is by no means considered good, so this will be an interesting battle.
The same can be said for the other side of the ball where Brohm’s specialty is. The Boilermakers were expected to be much better offensively this season and that’s come to fruition, scoring at least 28 points in every Game. David Blough and Elijah Sindelar are splitting reps under center, but Blough has taken the spot in the last couple weeks and is completing 76.1% of his passes. The goal for Purdue will be to get some kind of ground Game going with Tario Fuller (261 yards) as they don’t want Blough doing everything himself against this defense. Fuller had just 29 rushing yards against Louisville in the opener and that’s what they don’t want.
Our Pick – Michigan has one of the best defenses in the nation again and this will be a good battle all day, considering this is probably the best offense that UM will have faced. If the Boilers can get any kind of push on the line, that should open things up just enough for Blough to move the ball. since the Boilermakers already stayed tight with Louisville, there’s no reason not to believe they can’t do so against Michigan. The Wolverines still have some work to do offensively and that’s reason enough to bet against them here. Purdue +10.5