A good one is set to kick the College Football Playoff Semifinals off on Saturday afternoon when the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs square off against the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines for the right to advance into the finals. Both teams put forth memorable regular season campaigns worthy of punching tickets into the CFP. The Horny Toads went unblemished throughout the regular season, but failed to see it all the way through after getting tripped up in overtime of the Big 12 title game against Kansas State. The Maize and Blue punched a ticket back into the Final Four by way of winning all 13 played games which included a win and cover over Purdue in the Big 10 Championship Game. TCU proved to be a gritty team over the course of the regular season which resulted in making college football bettors a good chunk of change by going 9-3-1 against the spread. But it never really ran up against a defense quite like the one it will oppose in the Wolverines. Will that be enough to trip them up and see U of M advance?
TCU Horned Frogs vs. Michigan Wolverines
Date and Time: Saturday, December 31, 2022 at 3:00 PM EST
Location: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
TV Coverage: ESPN
PointsBet Sportsbook opened the betting line with the Michigan Wolverines installed 9.5-point favorites and the total set at 60. Though the betting market has put its faith in Jim Harbaugh’s squad with 59 percent of the bets and 65 percent of the money, the number to beat has actually gone in the direction of TCU with it down a couple points to -7.5. It looks like some respected sharp money hit the Horned Frogs early! Michigan hasn’t been installed a moderate favorite in the 7-10 point range since 2019 when it easily disposed of the Indiana Hoosiers by a 39-14 count. This is unchartered waters for the program with it deemed the favored side in a game of this magnitude.
Total bettors look to be enamored with the over evidenced by 68 percent of the bets and 82 percent of the money dictating as such, but the O/U has also seen some reverse line movement with it down to 58.5. TCU played to the over at a 7-6 clip while Michigan played to low scorers in eight of its 13 lined games.
Everything revolves around Heisman Trophy candidate Max Duggan and his ability to get the nations sixth ranked scoring offense into high gear. The Horned Frogs will march a balanced offensive attack onto the gridiron with it ranked No. 25 both running (200.0 YPG) and passing (273.0 YPG) the pigskin. Along with the offense’s stud QB1, it’s got some other PTPers to throw at the Wolverines defense in the forms of Kendre Miller and Quentin Johnson. The former rushed for over 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns while the latter reeled in over 900 receiving yards and scored 5 TD and is expected to be a highly coveted wide receiver come the 2023 NFL Draft.
DC Jesse Minter had his kids locked in from day one and it resulted in Michigan attaining the No. 5 ranked scoring defense that allowed just over 13 points per game. The offense began its ascension once J.J. McCarthy took the starting QB1 reins away from Cade McNamara following the Week 2 throttling of Hawaii. It was all she wrote from that point forward with the unit going on to average 450+ yards (No. 27) and 40+ points (No. 7) per game. Blake Corum played a large role on the ground but had his campaign cut short due to injury. Donovan Edwards stepped right into his place which allowed for the nation’s No. 5 ranked rushing attack to not skip a beat.
While TCU is yet to run up against a defense quite like the one the Wolverines will bring to the desert on Saturday, Michigan hasn’t run up against an offense quite like the Horned Frogs either. Ohio State was its stiffest test and the Buckeyes were undermanned in what turned out to be a shocking result in Columbus. I used to be a huge proponent of backing the better defensive squads in these types of matchups, but times they are a changing. So much so that I have absolutely no issues taking the points with this moxie-rich TCU outfit even though it’s likely overmatched from a defensive standpoint. The team has alligator blood and simply knows how to stick around. It’s in their DNA! I won’t call for the upset but wouldn’t be shocked if it came to pass. Either way, gimme those points!
Bet the CFP Semifinal matchup between TCU and Michigan at PointsBet Sportsbook