Michigan Opens as 5-Point Favorite vs. Washington in College Championship

Posted on: January 2, 2024, 09:17h. 

Last updated on: January 2, 2024, 12:19h.

The top-ranked Michigan Wolverines (14-0, Big Ten) are the early favorites for the College Football Playoff National Championship against No. 2 Washington (14-0, Pac-12).

Michigan Washington odds line spread
Michigan DL Kris Jenkins, left, head coach Jim Harbaugh, and OL Trevor Keegan celebrate after defeating Alabama 27-20 in overtime at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 1, 2024. Michigan is the early betting favorite for the College Football Playoff National Championship. (Image: The Detroit News)

Oddsmakers told Casino.org before the CFP semifinals that the winner of the Michigan-Alabama showdown in the Rose Bowl would presumably be the favorite in the title game.

The Wolverines and coach Jim Harbaugh managed to outduel legendary coach Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide in a 27-20 overtime thriller. Harbaugh had big praise for his quarterback, J.J. McCarthy, after he led the Wolverines to fourth quarter and game-winning drives in OT.

This is the greatest quarterback in University of Michigan college football history. He’s got a long way to go to get to where Tom Brady eventually got to, who is the GOAT, but in a college career, there’s been nobody at Michigan better than J.J.,” Harbaugh declared.

Washington might have an even better QB. Michael Penix Jr. dazzled in the Sugar Bowl, throwing for 430 yards on 29/38 passing and two touchdowns in what’s being labeled as one of the more dominating performances in CFP history. He also ran for 31 yards.

The Huskies’ defense managed to fend off an improbable last-minute comeback to win, 37-31, over No. 3 Texas (12-2, Big 12).

“I got the best playmakers on the outside. So, they make it easy,” Penix said humbly.

Michigan Early Favorite

Michigan and Washington will battle for the College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy next Monday, January 8.

ESPN Bet, Penn Entertainment’s rebranded sportsbook through a $1.5 billion partnership with ESPN, installed the Wolverines as a 5-point favorite. DraftKings and BetMGM opened Michigan spotting Washington 4.5 points, while others had it even shorter at 3.5 points.

The Big Ten champs are seeing some major early action. ESPN Bet confirmed taking a $1.35 million moneyline wager on Michigan at -130 to win outright. The bet would net $1,038,461.54 if the Wolverines win.

BetMGM says almost 70% of the money it’s taken on the title bout since the game was determined late Monday night has been on Michigan. About 60% of the tickets are on the underdog Huskies.

The over/under for the big game opened at 55.5 points. Almost 80% of the early bets and 94% of the money have been on the over.

Oddsmakers Fare Well

The CFP Semifinals on New Year’s Day were largely success stories for oddsmakers.

Alabama accounted for the bulk of the Rose Bowl money and tickets. BetMGM said the Crimson Tide represented 60% of the money and 61% of the total money wagered. With Michigan winning by seven and covering the 4.5-point spread, most of that money will presumably stay with the book.

BetMGM also said a $205,500 preseason futures bet on an Alabama championship was officially retained by the house.

Washington’s victory wasn’t quite as profitable, as BetMGM reported that 59% of the handle was on the Huskies. The blueblood Texas program was an early favorite of the public. But late money from sharps came in on the Huskies to tilt where the books were rooting.

Monday’s contest will feature the Big Ten vs. the Pac-12. But come next season, Washington will become part of the Big Ten.