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The College Football Playoff slate will be epic on Monday. The Alabama Crimson Tide and Michigan Wolverines will battle in the night's first game. The semifinals conclude with Washington and Texas in the nightcap.
Many questions will be answered in these two games. Is Alabama worthy of a playoff spot? Can Michigan win the big game? Is Texas back? Can a Pac-12 team win the National Championship?
So many storylines are circulating these games, and we’re breaking it all down on WSN. Let’s get into our best bets for both contests!
Date: Monday, January 1
Time: 5:00 pm EST
Moneyline: Alabama (+106) | Michigan (-128)
Spread: Alabama +1.5 (-105) | Michigan -1.5 (-115)
Total: Over 44.5 (-110) | Under 44.5 (-110)
I hate to bet against any Nick Saban team at this point in the season because winners win, but the line movement and a few key stats have me leaning toward Michigan. The public is all over Alabama, and the line has moved back in favor of the Wolverines, so that is the first factor in my decision.
All season, I have praised Jalen Milroe for his development since losing to Texas at home. Milroe is one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the country, and I can’t wait to see what he looks like in 2024, but Michigan has the team to tame him on Monday.
Alabama’s offensive line hasn’t been good this season. They have struggled to protect Milroe in high-leverage situations and haven’t run the ball that well outside of big scrambles from the quarterback. If you take these explosive plays away, Alabama doesn’t possess a team that can control the clock and beat Michigan with time of possession.
The Wolverines are slow killers. They wear their opponents down throughout a game and have a defensive front that is 7th in the country against the run. If they can keep Milroe in the pocket and make him win throwing, they have a great chance to confuse the quarterback and force turnovers.
I’m not the biggest fan of JJ McCarthy, especially with a thin offensive line after the loss of Zak Zinter in the Ohio State game. However, I think their team can stay on schedule better in this game. They may not have the big plays, but they can win time of possession and field position, ultimately leading to a victory.
Date: Monday, January 1
Time: 8:45 pm EST
Moneyline: Texas (-184) | Washington (+152)
Spread: Texas -4.5 (-105) | Washington +4.5 (-115)
Total: Over 62.5 (-110) | Under 62.4 (-110)
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook. Head over to FanDuel to bet on our picks.
Is Texas back? The Longhorns have a scary defense and an explosive offense. On paper, they’re a better football team than Washington, but the Huskies win regarding hunger. I also think they win when it comes to knowing how to win close games.
The Huskies haven’t blown many teams out, and this could be a knock, but in this spot, I look at it as knowing how to play in close games. Washington’s desire to win against Oregon was clear. They wanted to physically dominate the Ducks in every game phase, and they did so easily.
Most people, including myself, count out Washington heading into the Pac-12 Championship, and we were all proven wrong. Michael Penix is the most dangerous player heading into this game. He led the nation in passing yards with over 4,200 and threw for 33 touchdowns in 2023.
The Huskies also have an elite receiver room with Jalen McMillian and Ja’Lynn Polk. These two combined for 21 touchdowns will be tough to stop for Texas. The Longhorns are great in the front seven, but they allow yards through the air, and we should see this on Monday.
For Washington to win this game, it will be on Penix, McMillian, and Polk. This is a group that I’m willing to bet on against any opponent. Texas has plenty of passing weapons if this game becomes a shootout like Xavier Worthy and Adonia Mitchell. Texas also has the advantage of running the football in this game with Jonathan Brooks, who has rushed for over 1100 yards with ten touchdowns.
I still trust Penix to win this game more than Ewers. With all the adversity Penix has faced in his career, it makes sense he goes out with a National Championship. I’m not saying they win this game, but 4.5 points is a lot, considering Texas weakness is what Washington does best.
Tanner Kern has been working in the betting industry since 2020. He currently is a social media content creator at DraftKings and contributes to multiple sites in addition to WSN, including Forbes and VSiN. He is also the cohost of the podcast Ride the Line at WSN.More info on Tanner Kern
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