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Opening Odds: National Title Game

Washington will play the role of the Underdawg...again

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Texas at Washington Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports

Washington is going to play for the national title.

Don’t you just love the way that sounds?

The Huskies though are going to have to play a role that is increasingly familiar: The UnderDawgs.

DraftKings Sportsbook revealed their first betting line for the National Championship, and they have Washington as an early 4.5-point underdog, with the over/under currently set at 55 points. That suggests an anticipated final score of approximately Washington 25, Michigan 30.

This is the 3rd consecutive game that Washington will be expected to lose by the betting line. They were 9.5-point underdogs to Oregon most of the week leading up to the Pac-12 Championship game before winning the game by 3 and were 4-point underdogs to Texas in the Sugar Bowl before defeating them by 6. The Huskies were also predicted to lose in their road trip to Corvallis although in some places the line flipped to make UW a slight favorite just before kickoff.

The Wolverines entered this season among the handful of favorites to win the national title after making the College Football Playoff each of the past 2 seasons and returning the large majority of their team. UW did similarly but without quite the same track record as they fell just short of a New Year’s Six berth last season.

Most of the advanced stats have the gap between Michigan and Washington as even wider than the betting spread with SP+ projecting more than an 8-point margin. However, it seems clear that some of UW’s midseason falters against bad teams like Arizona State and Stanford are not reflective of the team that got out to sizable leads against teams like Oregon and Texas. It also helps that this should be pretty close to a true neutral site game with neither Michigan nor Washington having a huge alumni base near the city of Houston.

It will be interesting to see whether the line shifts substantially one way or the other as the big money sharps start to weight in one side. Per WagerTalk, 78% of the money and 80% of the bets have come in on Washington so far.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.