For the second consecutive season, Michigan is headed to the College Football Playoff. This year, however, the Wolverines are favored to advance to the national championship game.
No. 2 Michigan, a perfect 13-0 this season, faces No. 3 TCU on Dec. 31 at 4 p.m. ET in the Fiesta Bowl. Most mobile sportsbooks have the Wolverines as more than a touchdown favorite, as Jim Harbaugh’s team has a favorable matchup to advance to the national title game, which will be played on Jan. 9.
Michigan nearly 10-point favorite
BetMGM lists Michigan as an 8.5-point favorite over the Horned Frogs, while Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and PointsBet have the Wolverines as 9-point favorites. Barstool Sportsbook, BetRivers, and FanDuel list Michigan as a 9.5-point favorite.
The Michigan moneyline is -345 at multiple sportsbooks, including WynnBET.
Each team has performed well against the spread this season, with TCU posting the more impressive 9-3-1 ATS record. Michigan is 8-5, including outright and ATS wins over Ohio State and Purdue in its two most recent outings.
For the Wolverines, slowing down TCU quarterback Max Duggan will be crucial. Duggan is an experienced quarterback playing the best football of his career. He’s thrown 30 touchdowns to just four interceptions, and he’s added 400 rushing yards and six scores. TCU has impressive size at wide receiver, and Kendre Miller is one of the most productive running backs in the Big 12.
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh on #TCU QB Max Duggan:
"I can't tell you what a joy it was to watch him compete on Saturday. Nothing but tremendous respect. … All I see is a relentless competitor. Super talented."
— Dean Straka (@DWStraka49) December 5, 2022
Michigan’s defense, which ESPN ranks sixth nationally in efficiency, will be tested against TCU. The total for the game is listed at 59.5 points at multiple sportsbooks.
TCU has also performed well in close contests, going 5-1 in one-possession games. The Horned Frogs’ lone one-possession loss came in the Big 12 title game last weekend, when they fell 31-28 to Kansas State in overtime.
Michigan, meanwhile, is a well-balanced team with 11 of its 13 victories coming by at least 10 points. The Wolverines possess firepower offensively and defensively, and Michigan has the pieces to win the national championship. TCU needs a good showing to stay within one possession of Harbaugh’s squad.
Intriguing rematches loom as possible
As the other CFP semifinal, No. 1 Georgia faces No. 4 Ohio State in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31 at 8 p.m.
Regardless of who wins that game, it sets up an interesting rematch for the Wolverines, should they defeat TCU. Michigan defeated the Buckeyes 45-23 on Nov. 26, using explosive offensive plays to earn a spot in the Big Ten title game. Michigan comfortably defeated Purdue, earning the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. A rematch with the Buckeyes for the national championship would generate massive media attention and fanfare.
A showdown with Georgia, the reigning national champion, wouldn’t lack for storylines either. The Bulldogs defeated Michigan 34-11 in last season’s semifinals. Should the two meet in the national championship game, the Wolverines seem better prepared this season to keep pace with the SEC’s elite.
Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier/USA TODAY