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Michigan vs. Washington picks, best bets for CFP national championship matchup

The Wolverines and Huskies meet on Monday. We pick against the spread.

Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines take on the Washington Huskies in the 2024 national championship game. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on Monday, January 8 from NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Michigan (14-0) defeated Alabama in overtime in the Rose Bowl to reach the championship. Their biggest win of the regular season came against Ohio State, and they beat Iowa in the Big Ten Championship to win their conference. In the Rose Bowl, quarterback JJ McCarthy passed for 221 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Blake Corum had 19 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown, and added a second touchdown in the air. Michigan’s special teams struggled through the game, with a muffed punt, a mishandled punt, a missed field goal, and a missed extra point.

Washington (14-0) overcame Texas in the Sugar Bowl to reach the title game. Their biggest wins of the season came over Oregon, who they beat twice — once in the regular season, and again in the Pac-12 Championship. In the Sugar Bowl, quarterback Michael Penix Jr. passed for 430 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receivers Rome Odunze and Ja’Lynn Polk each recorded a touchdown and over 100 receiving yards, and running back Dillon Johnson added two scores on the ground.

Here’s everything you need to know and a pick against the spread.

SP+ Rankings

Michigan: 1 overall, 10 offense, 1 defense
Washington: 11 overall, 4 offense, 45 defense

Injury update

Michigan

N/A

Washington

RB Sam Adams II - Questionable (undisclosed)
RB Dillon Johnson - Probable (lower body)

ATS/Total

Against The Spread in 2023

Michigan: 8-5-1 ATS
Washington: 7-6-1 ATS

Total in 2023

Michigan: Over 7-6-1
Washington: Over 7-7

Team Pace

Michigan: 30.9 seconds per play
Washington: 27.3 seconds per play

Odds at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Michigan -4.5
Total: 56.5
Moneyline: Michigan -192, Washington +160

Weather

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Our Best Bet for Michigan vs. Washington

Washington +4.5

My final score prediction is Michigan 24, Washington 21. While the Washington offense hasn’t faced anything close to the Michigan secondary this year, the Michigan defense has also not yet been challenged by anything close to Washington’s offense. We’ll be watching a thriller between two of the undeniable best teams in the country, and here’s how I see it playing out: Washington struggles to stop the run in the first half, and Blake Corum is able to find the end zone early. Washington does its Washington thing, but Michigan gets a defensive score (and perhaps commits a special teams mishap or two). We’ll go into the half with Michigan up something like 17-14, and as the defenses figure each other out, we only see two scores in the second half — a long pass from Penix, and a breakaway run from Michigan. The Wolverines take it home after Washington fails to engineer a downfield drive in time.