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CFP National Championship: No.2 Washington vs. No.1 Michigan | Predictions, Odds & Picks

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published January 8, 2024
10 min read

The No. 1 Michigan Wolverines (14-0) and No. 2 Washington Huskies (14-0) will take the field one final time in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday, Jan. 8.

The Wolverines were 0-2 in the CFP era until they managed to beat Alabama in overtime in the semifinal. Washington, meanwhile, overcame the odds in both the Pac-12 Championship and CFP semifinal against Texas to earn their spot in the decisive game.

Here, we will break down the betting odds and share our favorite pick for the Michigan vs. Washington CFP National Championship extravaganza.

CFP National Championship Washington vs Michigan

No. 2 Washington vs. No. 1 Michigan Odds

The Huskies are 4.5-point underdogs against Michigan the same way they were 4.5-point dogs against Texas.

Michigan won and was covered as a 1.5-point favorite against Alabama in their semifinal matchup.

Team Spread Moneyline Points Total
No. 2 Washington -4.5 (-110) +154 Over 55.5 (-110)
No. 1 Michigan +4.5 (-110) -185 Under 55.5 (-110)

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No. 2 Washington vs. No. 1 Michigan Betting Preview

Washington is not as well-rounded of a team as Michigan is, nor should they try to be. Instead, they are going to have to lean into their strengths, particularly on the offensive end.

Styles make fights. What Washington has proven against teams such as Oregon and Texas is that they can apply so much pressure with their vertical playmaking that even if they’re outmatched on paper, they can control the tempo and force opponents to play their game. 

Washington’s success revolves heavily around the stellar play of Heisman runner-up and QB, Michael Penix Jr. The senior averaged 332 yards per game and racked up 38 total touchdowns and only nine interceptions. He also tore Texas’ defense apart to the tune of 430 yards and two TDs while completing 76.3% of his passes.

Washington might hail from a conference that barely exists anymore, but they’re now 6-0 against top-25 programs. They’re also 8-0 in one-score games and won nine straight games by 10 or fewer points, which shows they’re comfortable playing in nip-and-tuck games. 

Michigan might just be the most balanced team in the country. They allowed the fewest points per game amongst FBS schools (10.2) and were 14th in averaging scoring (36 points per game).

UM’s success starts from the trenches. They are dominant at the point of attack on both sides, which is a major reason why they held Bama to 288 yards of total offense and were able to march down the field late in the fourth quarter and in overtime.

The Wolverines want to run the ball early and run it often. Blake Corum set a program record and led the country with 25 rushing touchdowns and made one of the best plays of the year with his 17-yard game-winning touchdown in OT.

This presents a potential problem for Washington. One of their biggest weaknesses was stopping the run, as they were 41st in average rushing yards and 84th in yards per carry allowed. They also allowed the Longhorns to pick up 180 yards and three touchdowns on only 28 carries, or 6.4 yards per carry.

At the same time, Washington is well-equipped to deal with Michigan’s menacing front line. Per Pro Football Focus, their offensive line had the third-best pass-blocking grade in the country, so UM will be hard-pressed to generate six sacks like they did against Bama. They also have a potential top-10 draft pick in wide receiver Rome Odunze who caught 100+ yards in five straight games. 

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No. 2 Washington vs. No. 1 Michigan Picks & Predictions

No. 2 Washington ML (+154) at DraftKings

The safer option is going with the points, but we believe that Washington will win this game. J.J. McCarthy and the Wolverines offense aren’t explosive enough to match the big plays that Penix and co. will create. Michigan’s path to victory comes from running the ball, dominating the time of possession, and winning the turnover battle, but we like the mettle and late-game execution Washington has proven to have.

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Over 55.5 (-110) at DraftKings

If Washington is going to win, they’ll probably have to go over the total. The Huskies’ defense has had its moments, particularly in the Pac-12 Championship Game, but they’ll need Penix to lead a bunch of scoring drives for them to win. Michigan might not be explosive, but they can score enough points to help drive this total over.

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No. 2 Washington vs. No. 1 Michigan Betting Promos

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How to Watch No. 2 Washington vs. No. 1 Michigan

  • Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX

  • When: Monday, Jan. 8, 6:30/7:30 p.m. CT/ET

  • TV: ESPN

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AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

397 Articles

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.

In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.

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