The most popular wager to win the 2023-24 college football national championship among customers at BetMGM isn’t Georgia (+220), Alabama (+600), or Ohio State (+700). Instead, sports bettors are backing Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines (+900).
A BetMGM spokesperson told MI Bets that 15.5% of tickets (and handle) across the mobile sportsbook’s college football national championship futures market are on the Wolverines. Among customers in Michigan, that number grows to 55.5% of tickets and 57.7% of money wagered.
The Wolverines are the second-most popular bet (24.3% of tickets) to win the Big Ten (+180) across BetMGM’s national customer base, while 61.1% of Big Ten title futures have been placed on the Wolverines inside the state of Michigan.
McCarthy headlines returning cast
It’s not a major surprise to see bettors across the country placing offseason bets on Michigan to win the national title. The Big Ten provides a path to the College Football Playoff, and Michigan returns starting quarterback J.J. McCarthy. The dual-threat playmaker performed well last season, and there’s optimism among Michigan fans that he’ll take a step forward in 2023.
McCarthy is +1800 to win the Heisman Trophy at FanDuel, the sixth-shortest odds of any player to win the award. BetRivers has similar odds, with McCarthy at +1700 to hoist the trophy. Michigan hasn’t had a Heisman winner since Charles Woodson in 1997.
Georgia, Alabama, and Ohio State all have relative unknowns at quarterback as they look to replace last year’s starter at the position, while Michigan’s starting QB is a known commodity.
Additionally, Michigan’s schedule is favorable. The Wolverines open the season with East Carolina before other non-conference games with UNLV and Bowling Green. A home date with Ohio State at the end of the season, rather than a road matchup, means Michigan has a chance to be favored in all of its regular-season games.
Spartans not viewed as threat
Mel Tucker’s Michigan State team isn’t viewed as a threat in the Big Ten or national championship picture ahead of the 2023 season. The Spartans’ win total at BetMGM is listed at just 5.5 games, with -130 odds for the under.
The Spartans are the third-most popular bet (8.4% of tickets) among BetMGM customers in Michigan to win the Big Ten, despite minimal expectations. Michigan State is +10000 to win the conference, tied with Rutgers, Purdue, Northwestern, and Indiana for the longest odds to win the league championship.
Michigan State faces Washington in its third game of the season, one of the tougher non-conference games on any Big Ten team’s schedule. The Spartans’ season opener is against Central Michigan on Sept. 2, and they’re 14.5-point favorites in that contest.
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