Undefeateds Advance to Set Up College Football National Championship Game

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In a pair of thrillers on New Year’s Day, undefeated Washington and Michigan won. In the Rose Bowl, Michigan bested Alabama in overtime, 27-20. At the Sugar Bowl, Washington outlasted Texas, 37-31. Texas and Alabama entered the College Football Playoff with one loss. Washington and Michigan were unbeaten, standing at 13-0.

Both games were even closer than their one-score differences would indicate. Alabama’s Crimson Tide was at the three-yard line when they failed to get into the end zone and force a second overtime. For the Texas Longhorns, they had four chances from the 13-yard line to score the winning touchdown in the closing seconds.

On January 8, it will be Pac-12 vs. Big Ten. That’s before next year, when Washington and Michigan will be in the same Big Ten conference.

Michigan the Early Favorite

As the No. 1 team in the country and the top seed in the College Football Playoff, it is no surprise that Michigan opened the week as the favorite to win the championship. BetUS.com opened with the Wolverines at -4.5. On the moneyline, they are paying -185.

Michigan online sports bettors know that the Blue and Maize has covered three straight games, and did so in the three biggest games of their season so far – versus Ohio State, in the Big Ten Championship vs. Iowa, and now vs. Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinals.

Overall, Michigan is 8-6 against the spread this season, and in hitting the over on Monday, they are now 7-6-1 on the over.

This is the third straight College Football Playoff appearance for Michigan, and for the first time, they have made it to the finals.

Washington’s Pac-12 Swan Song

From a television ratings standpoint, the prizes for the Big Ten in 2024 are USC and UCLA. The Big Ten Network will now stretch west to Los Angeles, and it will include the national fanbase that follows Trojan football.

The crown jewel addition, however, is Washington. This will be the third time since 2016 that the Huskies will end the season ranked inside the AP Top 10, and the fifth time since 2016 that their win total has reached double digits. (In 2020, because of the COVID pandemic, Washington played just four games.)

There is no state-wide online sports betting in Washington. But residents of the state who frequent its many brick and mortar sportsbooks know that as successful as the Huskies have been this year, they are a nail-biting bet. Beginning with their 31-24 win over Arizona on September 30, Washington hasn’t beaten an opponent by more than 10 points, and eight of their 10 wins since then have been by less than one score.

And in an unusual twist for a team playing for the national championship, Washington has been an underdog in four of their last five games, including this matchup with Michigan.

Next Year’s College Football Playoff Expansion

We have just one more game on the schedule for college football betting, but that will not be the case 12 months from now. Instead of four teams and three games, beginning next season the CFP will include 12 teams, four first round byes, and a total of 11 games to decide the National Champion.

For now, we just have the CFP National Championship Game in Houston on Monday night, and the FCS National Championship Game on Sunday in Frisco, Texas. In that game between Montana and South Dakota State, Bovada.lv has the Jackrabbits of SDSU as 12.5-point favorites to repeat as FCS champions.

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