2023/24 National Championship Game Odds & Preview

NCAAF Championship Game Preview

It’s almost here… the biggest game on the college football calendar. A pair of unbeaten teams will meet in the College Football National Championship Game on Monday, January 8th, as No. 1 seed Michigan takes on No. 2 seed Washington at NRG Stadium in Houston.

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The 14-0 Wolverines are fresh from beating Alabama, 23-20, in overtime at the Rose Bowl, and the 14-0 Huskies held off Texas, 37-31, in the Sugar Bowl. Both teams are big-time football programs with a strong history, but each one is playing in their first championship game in the CFP era.

Bovada Sportsbook has all the lines, props, and odds you need to hit all your national championship game betting goals. Keep reading to see who each team’s strongest players are, plus some insider stats that might just give you the edge on Monday night.

MICHIGAN WOLVERINES PREVIEW

In one corner, we have the No. 1 Michigan Wolverines (14-0), a team with the nickname to match its defense. These yellow (ok, technically maize) and blue marauders have a stingy defense that has allowed a measly 10.2 points per game this year. It’s only fitting that it was their defense that stopped Alabama on fourth down in overtime in the CFP semi-final game to get to the championship showdown. The same defense that sacked the Crimson Tide’s QB six times. In short: the Wolverines don’t quite match up with Washington for QB star power or offensive prowess overall, but they don’t need to.

Here are some key Michigan players to keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Blake Corum, RB: This bruising running back is like a combination of Derrick Henry and Barry Sanders, plowing through defenders and eating up yards (1,111 so far this season). He’s a nightmare to tackle and the engine that drives Michigan’s ground game. Corum can change a game in seconds with one of his electrifying runs. He’s scored 25 touchdowns this season too – some guys just have a knack of finding the end zone.
  • J. McCarthy, QB: The Wolverines’ quarterback is in his third season with the team, and his style is often referred to in the bigs as a “game manager” rather than a star QB. Ok, he did throw for almost 2,000 yards less than his upcoming opponent. But his 22 TDs vs just 4 INTs this season are more than a little impressive though. Add to those stats his 73.2% completion rate and he is more than just a player who hands the ball off to Corum. His experience playing in front of 100,000+ fans at every home game should mean he’s ready for the CFP national championship game spotlight.
  • Mike Sainristil, DB: This talented defensive back started out as an elite wide receiver a couple of years ago. Now he’s fresh off a Big Ten Championship MVP trophy and a season that saw him snag 5 interceptions and two touchdowns. He’s just the kind of player to watch on the big stage, as he might come up with the big play against the Huskies’ superstar QB Michael Penix Jr.

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WASHINGTON HUSKIES PREVIEW

The No. 2-ranked Washington Huskies (14-0) come to the national championship game with a different set of strengths. More flash and dash, more big plays, but a little less defensive muscle.

  • Michael Penix Jr., QB: As mentioned before, this gunslinger is on fire, slinging dimes with pinpoint accuracy. He can make any throw, and the sixth-year veteran’s confidence is contagious for the Huskies’ offense. He just racked up over 4,600 passing yards for the second straight season, along with 35 TDs and only 9 picks. He was the Heisman Trophy runner-up for a reason.
  • Rome Odunze, WR: Every leading QB has to have his star receivers to make the magic happen. Odunze led the way this season for the Huskies’ offense with 13 TD receptions. He’s a big-play guy too, with an average of 17 yards per catch. If the game turns into a track meet, expect Odunze to be a real factor.
  • Bralen Trice, DE: While many view the defensive side to be Washington’s Achilles heel, Trice stands out as an exception as one of the top edge rushers in the country. The Sugar Bowl Defensive MVP had 2 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss, and a forced fumble in the semi-final game against Texas – precisely the types of plays that can turn a game around. “We prove everybody wrong every time,” he said after the January 1st win. And now he’s carrying that attitude into the biggest college football game of the year.

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ODDS AND ENDS

Even though Washington is currently riding college football longest winning streak, the Wolverines are heading into the game as 4-point favorites, with the line moving slightly tighter in recent days. Moneyline action is currently:

-185 for Michigan

+160 for Washington

The props are plentiful at Bovada Sportsbook, as always. You can even use the Prop Builder to create your own custom wagers for college football’s marquee matchup. Now that we’ve given you the goods on both teams, it’s time to get creative.

Will a defensive TD be scored?

Michigan’s Mike Sainristil sure seems like a solid candidate. Rome Odunze’s O/U for receiving yards is set at 94.5; he’s been over 100 yards in each of the last 5 games heading into the CFP national championship game in Houston. (Tip: warm weather is better for receivers).

The O/U for the game is 55.5

A high number for the NFL, but not especially high for college football. The reason for this has to be largely due to the Michigan defense. But when you consider the high-octane Huskies have averaged 44 points per game over the last 6 matchups, the Over starts to look more tempting.

*Odds and markets subject to change