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College Football Playoff: TCU vs. Michigan Betting Preview, Picks and Analysis for Saturday, December 31

With a spot in the national championship on the line, the TCU Horned Frogs face the undefeated Michigan Wolverines in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona. This College Football Playoff semi-final matchup will kick off at 4:00PM ET on Saturday, December 31. The winner of this one will take on the winner of an exciting meeting between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Georgia Bulldogs, making for an unforgettable couple of weeks for college football fans and bettors. Find out how we think this one will play out in our TCU vs. Michigan betting preview. We're giving you our best bet for this battle in the desert. 

If you haven't already, you should consider signing up for DraftKings ➡️ here ⬅️ as you can turn a $5 pre-game moneyline bet on any game into a free $150 if your team wins. 

 

RELATED: College Football Bet Hub 

TCU vs. Michigan College Football Playoff Betting Preview 

Spread Analysis (Michigan -8)

For a semi-final game, this one definitely has a bigger spread than you'd like to see. But that's unfortunately the problem with college football these days, with the sport just lacking in parity. Georgia seems a cut above the rest of the teams in the nation this year, with Michigan being second and looking a lot better than the next group of programs. We'll find out whether or not that includes TCU rather shortly.  

The Wolverines showed just how good they are in a blowout win over the rival Buckeyes in Ohio at the end of the year. Ohio State is the fourth-ranked team in the nation right now and didn't look like it had a chance against Jim Harbaugh's group. Meanwhile, the Horned Frogs lost their Big 12 Championship Game against the Kansas State Wildcats, which seemingly meant nothing in the eyes of the committee. However, that loss did mean something to the oddsmakers, as Michigan is a huge favorite here. 

It's just hard to see the Horned Frogs having as much success offensively in this game as it did against Big 12 opponents this season. Quarterback Max Duggan is a remarkable player, capable of beating teams with his arm and his legs. However, Michigan's defense really has no holes. And the Wolverines running game, now spearheaded by the electric Donovan Edwards (401 rushing yards, 3 TDs over last two games), has the potential to overwhelm the Horned Frogs here. 

It will take a Herculean effort from Duggan to keep the Horned Frogs in this one, but we have seen him do it before. 

Total Analysis (Over/Under 58.5) 

The Over was 7-6 in the 13 games that TCU played heading into this one, and that's actually pretty telling about betting Horned Frogs totals. Despite having the sixth-ranked scoring offense in college football, the Over wasn't exactly a great bet when Sonny Dykes' team took the field. And we think it's important to recognize that heading into this game. 

Michigan is not going to want to let TCU turn this into a shootout, so you're going to see the Wolverines pounding the rock often in this one. That'll allow the clock to run, while also giving the Michigan defense a chance to rest up. Those things coupled together will make it hard for this to go Over. 

TCU vs. Michigan Prediction

Best Bet: Under 60.5 

TCU is known for having an explosive offense, which is why people might be quick to bet the Over here. However, Michigan has a top-five scoring defense and will look to run the ball on offense. That's a good recipe for an Under. 

UPDATE: This total was at 60.5 when we first wrote this game up early in December. It's now down almost two points everywhere. We still would lean towards the Under on the new number, but those that got in early could be getting some tremendous closing line value here. 

 
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