College Football Playoffs: The Matchup, Odds and Predictions

The 2023-24 College Football playoffs landscape is set and NCAAF odds are in full swing in sports betting markets as No. 1 Michigan, No. 2 Washington, No.3 Texas and No. 4 Alabama vie for the coveted Championship title.

Top seed Michigan is the consensus favorite, tipped at +180 per BUSR sportsbook. Alabama (+200) emerges as the second overall favorite despite falling to the No.4 seed, with No. 3 Texas (+260) close behind. Finally, rounding out the betting is No. 2 Washington as the longshot of the competition on +650 odds.

college football matchups

NCAAF Championship Winner Odds

·       Michigan Wolverines +180

·       Alabama Crimson Tide +200

·       Texas Longhorns +260

·       Washington Huskies +650


The College Football Playoffs run from Jan 1 to 8, 2024, with the first Monday serving up the semifinals featuring the matchups of: No. 1 Michigan vs No. 4 Alabama in the Rose Bowl and No. 2 Washington vs No. 3 Texas in the Sugar Bowl.

The CFP National Championship game is scheduled for the following Monday at the NRG Stadium in Houston.

Who will advance into the coveted final? Here is our NCAAF betting verdict, complete with choice NCAAF picks for your consideration.

ncaaf bowls


Key College Football Matchups that will shape the NCAAF Landscape 2023-2024


No.1 Michigan vs No. 4 Alabama
Rose Bowl (Semifinals)
Date:, Mon, Jan. 1, 2024
Time: 5 pm ET

Michigan +160 à Implied probability 38.5%

Coach Jim Harbaugh led his stoic Michigan Wolverines to their third straight Big Ten Championship following a shutout win over the Iowa Hawkeyes in Indianapolis on Saturday, Dec. 2.

It was the culmination of a perfect season for the Wolverines, capping the 2023-24 campaign with their thirteenth straight win. It was also the one-sided affair that many pundits predicted the Big Ten Championship would be, though perhaps few would have expected the Hawkeyes would go totally pointless through four quarters.

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy was solid as he went 22 of 30 for 147 passing yards, marking his card for the 2024 NFL Draft class. But it was Harbaugh’s signature defense and ground game that dominated proceedings, with running back Blake Corum galloping for 57 rushing yards and two scores in Michigan’s 26-0 victory.


Alabama +200 à Implied probability 33.3%

Nick Saban’s No.8 Alabama Crimson Tide captured the SEC Championship at the expense of the nation’s top team and two-time defending champions, the No.1 Georgia Bulldogs. Thus, earning their place in the College Football playoffs and the chance to compete for a seventh championship title in the Saban era.

Georgia was riding a 29-game winning streak into the championship game and positioned as the -5.5 favorite in the sports betting markets. But in Alabama, they faced one of the most successful college football programs in the country, known for churning out NFL-calibre talent, and its biggest rival in recent history. Case and point: Georgia’s last defeat came against Alabama in the 2021 SEC title game.

Alabama’s only chance of making the playoffs was through a victory over Georgia and the committee swinging the vote in their favor – otherwise they were no-hopers. All told, things went their way on both scores.

Quarterback Jalen Milroe earned the MVP honor for his performance in the gutsy 27-24 victory on Saturday, Dec. 3. He went 13 of 23 for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Roydell Williams toted the ball for 67 yards on 16 carries to lead the rushing and wideouts Jermaine Burton and Jamarion Miller each caught a touchdown.

Michigan vs. Alabama Prediction:

Michigan might be the presumptive betting favorite as it looks to win its maiden CFP National Championship title, but the six-time champions Alabama are nipping at their heels. Thus, setting up a mouthwatering Rose Bowl showdown on New Year’s day.

Early NCAAF lines had the Wolverines tipped at -2 in spread betting, but since open doors, that line has trimmed down to Michigan -1.5.

Alabama’s strength is in its dynamic offense that averages 34 points per game. Milroe and Burton have found a nice chemistry together with the wideout scoring eight touchdowns on 35 catches.

In addition, Alabama can be quite suffocating on the defensive side of the ball as well, especially against opposing quarterbacks, recording 29 sacks and forcing 13 turnovers. It’s this balanced aspect of Suban’s Crimson Tides that could propel Alabama to the betting upset.

That said, Michigan’s strength is in its no-nonsense defense (ranked No. 2 nationally) and a physical ground game powered by running back Corum who has 1,028 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns to his credit.

Alabama hasn’t faced a defense this tough all season and that unit is sure to be the deciding factor, testing Milroe’s mettle and Saban’s coaching nous. Harbaugh’s Michigan has been knocking on the door for several seasons. It’s about time they kick it down to go through to the big game.

NCAAF Picks First Match:

·       Michigan -120

·       Michigan -1.5 (-110)



No. 2 Washington vs No. 5 Texas
Sugar Bowl (Semifinals)
Date:, Mon, Jan. 1, 2024
Time: 8:45 pm ET


Washington Huskies +625 à 13.8%

The Washington Huskies ascended to the No.2 seed following a Pac-12 championship victory over the Oregon Ducks on Saturday, Dec. 2. But they’re being pegged as the considerable underdogs of the competition at +625 to win their first-ever CFP National Championship title.

Nobody is buying what the Huskies are selling, despite reeling off a perfect 13-0 run on the season and producing a Heisman Trophy finalist, Michael Penix Jr. Washington’s first-ever Heisman nod, mind you.

The reason for the underwhelming outlook is twofold: it’s Washington’s first final four appearance since 2016 and they are perceived to be inferior in quality versus this field.

Nevertheless, the Huskies have arrived. They muscled their way into the playoff picture on the back of 34-31 victory over the Ducks, coming through as the huge +9.5 underdogs. It marked their second straight win over the Ducks this season.

Penix went 27 of 30 for 319 yards and a touchdown and orchestrated two pivotal late-game touchdown drives that helped deliver the conference title.

Texas Longhorns +260 à Implied probability 27.8%

The Texas Longhorns thumped the Oklahoma State Cowboys 49-21 in the Big 12 championship and moved to the No. 3 spot in the college football  playoffs. Underscoring their case is a solid season, featuring an upset over Alabama in Tuscaloosa, four wins over ranked opposition and just one loss to a team inside the Top 15.

Quarterback Quinn Ewers threw a whopping 450 yards and four touchdowns in Texas’ win at the AT&T Stadium and running back Keilan Robinson ran for two scores in the second half to cement the lopsided win that delivered Texas its first championship title since 2009.

college football bowls

Washington vs Texas Predictions

Washington and Texas locked horns in the 2022 Valero Almo Bowl with Penix Jr. and the Huskies edging the Longhorns 27-20. Having that matchup as a handy preview hasn’t impacted the NCAAF odds for the Sugar Bowl, as they are pinned in Texas’ corner at -4.

Penix Jr. leads the nation in passing yards with 4,218 passing yards and 33 touchdowns with nine interceptions. Wide receiver Rome Odunze has 13 touchdowns and running back Dillon Johnson is a key target in the ground game, having trotted for 1,113 rushing yards and 14 scores.

Washington scored an average of 37.7 points through 13 games. In the Longhorns, however, Penix Jr. will face a tough defense that allowed 17.5 points per game on the season. As the Texans D-unit also excels against the run, the onus on the passing game is only going to add greater pressure on the Huskies starter.

The Huskies are most vulnerable on the defensive side of the ball, which is giving up almost 27 points per game on average. Longhorns quarterback Ewers can exploit that aspect to his side’s advantage, especially if this game turns into a shootout. Texas is averaging 36.2 points per game and has the offensive weapons in Xavier Worthy, Adonai Mitchell and Ja’Tavion Sanders to keep pace with the Huskies.

By all accounts, this should be a thrilling showdown between two teams that have an equal shot to reach the CFP National Championships, more so than the betting odds would suggest.

NCAAF Picks Second Match:

·       Texas -175

·       Washington +4 (-113)