Michigan is fresh off of a national title run, but will have to answer a lot of questions if it’s going to get back to the College Football Playoff this season.

The Wolverines had numerous departures this offseason, including head coach Jim Harbaugh, quarterback JJ McCarthy and several other key players on both sides of the ball. Michigan is still amongst the favorites to reach the CFP in the first season of its 12-team setup, but it’s far from a certainty.

The best price for Michigan to make the CFP this season comes from Caesars, who has the Wolverines’ CFP prop priced at +120. Below is a breakdown of Michigan’s 2024 roster and schedule to see if there’s value in betting the Wolverines to reach the CFP in the first year of the Sherrone Moore era.

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Michigan’s 2024 roster and returning production

With quarterback JJ McCarthy now in the NFL, the Wolverines have a major question mark at quarterback going into the 2024 season — especially since they didn’t add any passers via the transfer portal this offseason. Redshirt sophomore Alex Orji is expected to win the job, but there are multiple other potential candidates who could also compete for a starting role. That list includes Davis Warren, Jayden Denegal and even true freshman Jadyn Davis. Regardless of who ends up starting for Michigan under center, they will be under immense scrutiny as they try to replace McCarthy.

Running back Donovan Edwards and tight end Colston Loveland return as key skill players in a Michigan offense that was excellent in 2023. However, Michigan’s wide receiver room is a bit inexperienced following the losses of Roman Wilson and Cornelius Johnson to the NFL. Semaj Morgan is Michigan’s leading returner at wide receiver after he posted 202 yards last season.

Offensive line is an area where Michigan will carry a lot of uncertainty into the fall. The Wolverines lost 6 offensive linemen to the NFL Draft this offseason (3 were drafted, 3 signed as undrafted free agents), meaning they will have to rebuild much of what has been a massive strength over the past few seasons. The concern is more about experience and less about talent level — the Wolverines have recruited, developed and retained OL talent at an elite level for years. Michigan did add a grad transfer in Northwestern’s Josh Priebe to help with that lack of experience, however. Priebe is expected to compete for one of Michigan’s starting guard roles.

Defensively, there’s not much concern about Michigan in 2024. The Wolverines bring back a couple of elite defensive tackles in Mason Graham and Kenneth Grant. They also have a solid (although somewhat inexperienced) edge rusher room, led by Derrick Moore and Josaiah Stewart. Ernest Hausmann and Jaishawn Barham have also received good reviews this spring at linebacker.

In the secondary, there may not be a better cornerback in the country than Will Johnson. His counterpart is still unknown, however — but once again, it seems Michigan has good options at this spot between Jyaire Hill, Myles Pollard, Keshaun Harris and others. At safety, Michigan returns starter Makari Paige. Rod Moore also returned, but suffered an ACL injury back in the spring. That leaves a spot open for players like Quinten Johnson, Zeke Barry and Brandyn Hillman to compete for this summer and fall.

Michigan’s 2024 schedule

As you’d expect given the changes around college football, Michigan’s schedule looks very different in 2024. The Wolverines will face 3 of the Big Ten’s newcomers this year in USC, Washington and Oregon. They also have a Week 2 contest against Texas on the schedule, which figures to be the first major test of Moore’s tenure as (permanent) head coach.

The schedule is headlined by those meetings with Big Ten newcomers, particularly Oregon on Nov. 2. The Wolverines will have to go on the road to Ohio State on Nov. 30 as well in a game that could have major Big Ten title game and CFP implications.

Here’s a look at Michigan’s schedule in-full:

  • Aug. 31: Fresno State
  • Sept. 7: Texas
  • Sept. 14: Arkansas State
  • Sept. 21: USC
  • Sept. 28: Minnesota
  • Oct. 5: at Washington
  • Oct. 19: at Illinois
  • Oct. 26: Michigan State
  • Nov. 2: Oregon
  • Nov. 9: at Indiana
  • Nov. 23: Northwestern
  • Nov. 30: at Ohio State

Michigan does have a tougher-than-usual schedule, but 3 of its 4 toughest matchups (on paper, at least) will be at home. Texas, USC and Oregon are all coming to Ann Arbor to play in the Big House. The Wolverines only have 4 road games on the schedule, and none of them (other than Ohio State, of course) appear to be too dangerous.

Caesars currently as Michigan’s regular-season win total set at 9 wins. If you want to bet on that total, you can sign up with Caesars Sportsbook or one of the other top Michigan sports betting apps currently available to bettors.

Will Michigan reach the College Football Playoff in 2024?

With the new 12-team CFP model (5 automatic bids and 7 at-large selections), it’s likely that Michigan will need to go at least 10-2 in order to reach the College Football Playoff — although it could be possible at 9-3.

Last month, ESPN’s Bill Connelly updated his SP+ projections for the 2024 season to reflect roster changes over the spring portal window. Connelly’s update included a projection for Michigan’s chances of going 10-2 or better — 57.2%.

With that in mind, there is some significant value on the Wolverines to reach the CFP based on Caesars’ odds of +120 to do so. The +120 price equates to implied odds of 45.45%. That’s significantly lower than SP+ projected odds of going 10-2 or better (57.2%), and thus almost certainly reaching the CFP. With those variables set, the expected value of a bet on Michigan to make the Playoff is $25.84 (on a $100 wager). That’s more than enough value for me to feel good about Michigan reaching the Playoff in 2024.

PICK: Michigan to reach the College Football Playoff (+120 at Caesars)

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