The Michigan Wolverines and Washington Huskies will tangle in the College Football Playoff championship on Monday, Jan. 8, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET at NRG Stadium in Houston and ESPN on the broadcast. Both teams are 14-0 after entering the College Football Playoff as the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked programs and holding serve in respective close wins over Alabama and Texas. Michigan is at on the point spread, and the game has an over/under line of points.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at the national championship matchup between Michigan and Washington, with info on the odds, betting lines, and player props.
Michael Penix Jr. and Washington embracing the role of underdogs
Despite passing for a nation-best 4,648 yards with a 163.5 passer rating this season, Michael Penix Jr. lost out on the Heisman to LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels. Sportsbooks had Washington as the underdog against No. 3 Texas in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, and the Huskies reportedly used that for motivation. Washington also started out as the underdog in this matchup as it pursues the program’s first national title since 1991.
Michigan looking to silence critics
The Wolverines are also seeking their first title in decades, with their third championship of the last century coming in 1997. Winning on this stage would silence some of the chatter about Michigan’s sign-stealing scandal that led to some punitive action from the NCAA. According to Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy, the sign-stealing process is quite common in the FBS, and the players on the field might use their detractors as motivation to win on the biggest stage.
Washington passing attack versus Michigan defense
With stud receivers Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan, and Ja’Lynn Polk at his disposal, Penix Jr. can try to attack Michigan’s secondary if the Huskies are unable to generate traction on the ground against an elite defensive line. Penix Jr. completed 29 of 38 passes for 430 yards and two touchdowns against a Texas defense that was elite against the run and more vulnerable against the pass. Michigan allowed the second-fewest passing yards per game (150) and the fewest total yards (244.5) and points per game (10.2) this season, while posting a 9.48% sack rate.
Michigan running game versus Washington defense
The Huskies have struggled against the run this season, allowing 4.4 yards per carry and a healthy 137.1 rushing yards per game. Michigan has run on 60.7% of plays in games outside of Ann Arbor this season and will likely use Blake Corum and the running game to set up the pass. The Wolverines rushed for 130 yards and sealed an overtime win over Alabama with a great run by Corum, but they only went 2-for-11 on third downs against the Crimson Tide’s defense.
Michigan vs. Washington odds and betting lines
Michigan vs. Washington player props
Michigan vs. Washington injury report
The biggest injury to monitor is Washington lead back Dillon Johnson, who aggravated his long-term foot injury during the win over Texas. He is expected to play per Washington coach Kalen DeBoer. Junior back Cameron Davis has been out all season. A few players have entered the transfer portal and will not play on either side of this matchup.
Michigan has been missing elite offensive guard Zak Zinter (leg) since its game against Ohio State in November. Tailbacks CJ Stokes and Leon Forbes are out, and freshman receiver Karmello English is not expected to play. Backup quarterback Davis Warren is questionable.