Michigan, Texas open as CFP favorites

No. 1 Michigan and No. 3 Texas have been installed as the favorites to win their College Football Playoff semifinal games on New Year’s Day.

Texas will face No. 2 Washington in the first game of the day at 5 p.m. ET in the Rose Bowl. The Wolverines opened as 1.5-point favorites at BetMGM and FanDuel, while DraftKings is offering Michigan -2.0.

The Crimson Tide were the controversial final team to make the CFP, edging out undefeated No. 5 Florida State.

“It was a tough night. I didn’t sleep a lot because there are a lot of good teams out there,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “Florida State’s certainly a good team to go undefeated in their league and it’s unfortunate that some good teams had to get left out. But I really think our team earned the right to be here.”

Michigan cruised to a 26-0 victory over Iowa in the Big Ten title game on Saturday. The Wolverines won six games this season while coach Jim Harbaugh was serving suspensions.

“It’s a galvanized team,” Harbaugh said. “Some may think it is galvanized by adversity, it’s not. It’s galvanized by choice.”

The second game of the day will feature Texas taking on No. 2 Washington, a program Longhorns coach Steve Sarkisian led from 2009-13. The teams also met in last year’s Alamo Bowl, with Washington winning 27-20.

“Kind of ironic,” Sarkisian said. “Washington still holds a special place to me. I got my first head-coaching opportunity there and I had five tremendous years and just tried to rebuild that program. What Coach (Kalen) DeBoer has been able to do the last couple of seasons has really been a tremendous run.

Despite being the lower seed entering the Sugar Bowl, Texas opened as a 4.5-point favorite by BetMGM and FanDuel.

The Longhorns rolled to a 49-21 win over Oklahoma State in the Big 12 title game on Saturday.

Texas defeated Alabama 34-24 at Tuscaloosa in September and is playing in the CFP for the first time. It is the Longhorns’ first conference championship since 2009.

“This has been a heck of a journey for us,” Sarkisian said. “So to earn a seat at the table and be in this tournament, we’re humbled by it but excited for it as well.”

Washington defeated Oregon for the second time this season with a 34-31 triumph in Friday’s Pac-12 title game. The Ducks were in contention for a CFP bid prior to the loss.

The Huskies didn’t have any consternation while waiting to learn who they would face in the semifinals.

“We’re going to face a good football team in Texas and we need to be at our best in all areas,” DeBoer said.

The winner of the Rose Bowl is expected to be favored in the national title game.

Michigan is +170 to win the title at BetMGM, followed by Alabama (+190), Texas (+310) and Washington (+700). FanDuel has the same order at slightly different odds: Michigan (+170), Alabama (+200), Texas (+250) and Washington (+750).