The Michigan Wolverines and TCU Horned Frogs will meet up in the Fiesta Bowl for the first College Football Playoff matchup.
Michigan rolled through the Big Ten and was seldom tested on its path to the CFP. After handling Ohio State for the second straight year, the Wolverines beatdown on Purdue to finish the season 13-0 and win their second straight Big Ten title.
TCU managed to mount comeback after comeback this season, but they ran out of luck in the Big 12 Championship and lost to Kansas State 31-28 in overtime.
The Horned Frogs weren’t punished for the loss and remained at No. 3 in the CFP rankings, setting up the semifinal matchup with Michigan.
Michigan vs TCU Odds for Fiesta Bowl
As of Tuesday, Dec. 27, at FanDuel Sportsbook, Michigan is a 7.5-point favorite against TCU. The total is on the higher side, especially for Michigan, and is set at 59.5 points.
Michigan has been among the favorites in the CFB National Championship odds all season, and they’re rightfully over a touchdown favorite against a scrappy TCU team.
Michigan vs TCU Prediction for Fiesta Bowl
Michigan 38, TCU 27
Michigan rode a physical run game and the big offensive line to the College Football Playoff, and they’ll establish the run and lean on the TCU defense early in this one.
Michigan averaged 243 rushing yards per game this season but will be missing a key cog with Blake Corum. Corum rushed for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, but it will be back up Donovan Edwards expected to lead the backfield.
Edwards had 218 yards and two touchdown runs of 75-plus yards against Ohio State, then 185 yards and a score in the Big Ten Championship.
Although the loss of Corum is significant, the Wolverines’ offensive line should be able to keep the offense moving and Edwards is a capable backup.
- Read our betting tips for the other CFP semifinals in our Georgia vs Ohio State predictions.
Sophomore J.J. McCarthy earned the starting quarterback job for Michigan and has taken care of the ball throwing just three interceptions on the year.
Senior Max Duggan - who was one of the four Heisman Trophy finalists - will lead the TCU offense. Duggan threw for 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions and added another six touchdowns on the ground.
Duggan will need to put together a Heisman-worthy performance in this one against a solid Michigan defense that finished second in the Big Ten in total defense (277.1 yards per game) and scoring defense (14.4 points per game).
The TCU defense is going to struggle with Michigan’s run game, and as Michigan has done all season they’ll control the clock, wear down the defense, and pull away in the second half for a win.
Michigan vs TCU Best Bets for Fiesta Bowl
Michigan -7.5 (-110) at BetMGM Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 unit
The Michigan offensive line is dominant and even without Corum, they’re able to control the line of scrimmage and let Edwards run wild as he has in his two games as a starter.
TCU has an OK defense, but they haven’t faced an offensive line this caliber. And it shows as Michigan is able to walk down the field with strong runs on first down and eventually they’ll break off a couple of big plays to cover the spread, making this our CFB pick of the day.
Over 58.5 Total Points (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 unit
TCU’s offense should be able to put points on the board behind Duggan and an offense that is scoring over 40 points per game.
Michigan has scored 40-plus points in back-to-back games and is going to have success running the ball against the TCU defense.
The offensive line will wear them down early, and then break off a couple of runs and perhaps even a long McCarthy passing touchdown late to take the total Over.
Michigan vs TCU Same Game Parlay
Fiesta Bowl Same Game Parlay (+264) at Caesars Sportsbook
- Michigan -7.5
- Over 57.5 Points
WAGER: 1 unit