2023 College Football Playoff Michigan-Washington odds: Favorites, predictions, picks

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The College Football Playoff final is set. 

No. 1 Michigan will square off against No. 2 Washington in Houston on Monday night at 7:30 p.m. ET. Currently, the Wolverines are favored by 4.5 points over the Huskies.

Michigan punched its ticket by beating the Alabama Crimson Tide in overtime 27-20 in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. The Wolverines were 1.5-point favorites in that game. 

Washington also battled its way into a championship appearance on Jan. 1. The Huskies defeated the Texas Longhorns 37-31 in a thrilling Sugar Bowl. Washington covered the spread as a 3.5-point underdog. 

Now, these two squads will face one another in the first championship game for both teams in the CFP era. 

In addition to Michigan being favored by 4.5 points, the total is currently 56.5 points.

So, what are the best bets to make for the big game?

Our experts — Chris “The Bear” Fallica, Sam “Sammy P” Panayotovich, Geoff Schwartz, Jason McIntyre and Will Hill — are here to help.

Let’s dive into their picks.

Chris “The Bear” Fallica: Michigan -3.5 second half

I think the Michigan running game and the offensive line are going to kind of wear on that Washington front seven and in the second half, I think we’re going to see potentially a big run or two and maybe a couple of time-consuming drives and Michigan scoring some points to ultimately salt this game away.

I think Michigan will win. If you want to play Michigan on the moneyline, you might be able to do that because remember, in these big National Championship Games, Super Bowls, things like that, a lot of people like betting the underdog to win on the moneyline and I sense that will be the case here, and that could result in getting a little bit of a discounted price on the moneyline with Michigan. So certainly don’t not consider that.

I also have not found another play that I like yet as well, but I’m going to continue looking for no defensive or special teams touchdowns in the National Championship Game. Neither of these teams typically turn the ball over. Penix doesn’t throw very many interceptions. McCarthy, for that matter, doesn’t either. Washington’s offensive line has been so good and Penix gets rid of the ball so quickly that it probably eliminates the possibility for things like a sack, scoop and score.

We saw both special teams units kind of struggle the other day, so I don’t know if either will be able to break a long return for a touchdown. So I just think the way the game is going to be played — maybe with Michigan, like I said from the earlier bet — with some time-consuming drives in the second half and maybe not a ton of punts and two teams that typically take care of the football. 

So I don’t know what the no [defensive or special teams touchdown] price is going to be on that, but if it’s not too far out of your comfort zone, I would certainly lay that price and play the no defense or special teams touchdowns in the National Championship Game.

PICK: Michigan -3.5 points in the second half

Can Michigan’s defense stop Washington’s passing game to win the National Championship?

Can Michigan’s defense stop Washington’s passing game to win the National Championship?

Geoff Schwartz: Michigan Over 30.5 points scored

At this point, it seems foolish to wager against Washington. 

The Huskies have won three of their last four as underdogs and have now won 10 straight games by fewer than 10 points. They play close games.  

Granted, they have a quarterback that will always keep them in the thick of things, and the 4.5 points Michigan is laying is intriguing, but at some point, this magical run has to end. 

Michael Penix played the best game of his career against Texas, and the Longhorns still had the ball at the 12 with four tries to punch it in and steal the game. If he pulls back just a bit in this game, I could see Michigan winning 34-27. 

Plus, Washington will be the heavy public side this week, and that’s not a side I want to be on.

I will take Michigan Over 30.5 points in this game. 

PICK: Michigan team total Over 30.5 points scored

Sammy P: Michigan to win outright

This is the first time I’ve laid more than -130 all season. 

Bear with me. 

The Las Vegas lookahead line was Michigan -7 at the SuperBook, but thanks to the Huskies’ outright win over Texas and Michael Penix Jr.’s 430-yard laser show, the price has come down. 

There’s also a faction of people that believe Michigan was “lucky” to beat Alabama, which is silly. The Wolverines didn’t play anywhere near their “A” game and still held the Tide under 300 yards of offense for the first time this season. 

Penix Jr. is dangerous — as are his two surefire NFL wide receivers — but defense tends to win championships. 

Michigan’s defensive line rivals one you usually see in the SEC and, as I’ve said all season long on the “Bear Bets Podcast,” this is the best defense in the country from top to bottom. Penix will have to play a game for the ages, and I’m willing to bet against that. 

I truly believe Michigan should be closer to a 5.5 or 6-point favorite, which correlates to a -250 price or higher on the moneyline. Also, the betting public is salivating over Washington’s moneyline here and there’s plenty of futures liability on the Huskies, too, which distorts the true price. 

Just win, Blue. 

PICK: Michigan (-190 moneyline) to win outright

Jason McIntyre: Michigan to cover

The look-ahead line for this semifinal was Michigan -7, and now we’re adjusting it by a field goal just because Washington held on to beat Texas? This feels excessive. 

Yes, this will be the best offense Michigan has seen all season. It will also be by far the toughest defense Washington has seen. Michael Penix Jr. has been sacked just 11 times all season. Michigan got to Alabama’s Jalen Milroe six times. 

The Wolverines will limit the big plays and rush for over 175 yards in the triumph.

Michigan 31, Washington 17

PICK: Michigan (-4.5) to win by more than 4.5 points

Will Hill: Michigan to cover

I like Michigan -4.5. 

Laying points against Penix Jr. and that explosive offense is certainly uncomfortable, but Michigan has the defense to apply pressure without blitzing, which is needed to slow down Washington. 

On the other side of the ball, I don’t see Washington being big enough up front to handle the physical run game of Michigan. Washington had an incredible year and has been a fantastic story — but that ends Monday night. 

PICK: Michigan (-4.5) to win by more than 4.5 points

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