Sportsbooks Face a Split Decision on Michigan Wolverines’ Title Chances

Posted on: January 9, 2024, 08:38h.

Last updated on: January 9, 2024, 08:39h.

The Michigan Wolverines (15-0, Big Ten) have secured their first college football championship win since 1997. After a triumphant 34-13 victory, the outcome delivered a mixed result for US sportsbooks.

Michigan Wolverines college football Washington
Jim Harbaugh hoists the College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy after his Michigan Wolverines defeated the Washington Huskies 34-13 in Houston on Jan. 8, 2024. The Wolverines’ victory was a mixed result for sportsbooks. (Image: Getty)

Leading up to the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship, sportsbooks reported a fairly even line of action on Michigan and No. 2 Washington (14-1, Pac-12). Despite oddsmakers at BetMGM, DraftKings, and BetRivers noting more betting activity on the Wolverines, the preseason futures markets indicated similar levels of liability on both teams.

BetMGM reported a notable 53% of title game bets and 56% of the money being on Michigan, making bookmakers hopeful for the favorite to win–while not necessarily covering the spread. Despite the fact that Michigan went on to cover the roughly 5.5-point spread, the outcome still proved to be one of the better possible results for the book.

FanDuel was a rare exception, as they took a greater amount of action on Washington, with 55% of the bets and 51% of the money favoring the underdogs. The sportsbook held onto the entirety of that action.

Big Bets, Big Losses

BetMGM indicated taking a $100,000 spread bet on Washington before the game started. This substantial wager stayed with the book after the Huskies were outpaced by three touchdowns.

Sportsbooks also came out on top with a multitude of bets and money on Michigan containing Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. One of the more popular player props for the game focused on Penix’s passing performance, with Michigan effectively limiting the star quarterback to only 255 passing yards, below the set prop line of over 297.5 yards.

DraftKings disclosed holding a $20,000 futures bet placed back in September on Washington clinching the CFP National Championship at 18/1 odds–potentially yielding $380,000. However, the bettor reportedly refrained from hedging.

In addition, sportsbooks performed notably well with the over/under, which saw overwhelming betting interest on the over. With a set consensus of 56.5 points, the actual outcome of 34-13 comfortably remained below. BetMGM noted that 60% of bets and 69% of the money reflected the preference for the over.

Harbaugh’s Swan Song?

Rumors suggest that Jim Harbaugh might have coached his last game with the Michigan Wolverines. A season marred by controversy, including a three-game suspension for alleged spying on rival teams, seems to spell the end of the road for the accomplished coach in the NCAA.

Harbaugh was questioned about his future in light of Michigan’s triumph in college football.

“I just want to enjoy this,” Harbaugh stated. “I hope you can give me that. Can a guy have that? Does it always have to be what’s next, what’s the future? Like I said the other day, yeah, I hope to have a future. I hope there’s a tomorrow, a day after tomorrow, a next week, a next month, a next year.”

Regarding any speculation about Michigan’s title being tarnished due to cheating allegations, Harbaugh adamantly insists, “These guys are innocent.”

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