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How underdogs have fared in the College Football Playoff

The Wolverines come in as the underdog in this one.

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2021 Big Ten Championship - Iowa v Michigan Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The day Michigan football fans have been waiting for is almost here, as the Wolverines are set to face the Georgia Bulldogs in the first round of the College Football Playoff on Dec. 31 at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Vegas sees Georgia as the favorite, as on DraftKings Sportsbook the Wolverines are currently an 8.5-point underdog against the Bulldogs. Michigan has been one of the most profitable teams in college football this season, leading all DI teams by going 11-2 against the spread.

Michigan is far from the largest underdog in the CFP, as that title belongs to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who ended up covering a 20.5-spread against Alabama in last season’s playoff matchup.

Across the 21 games in College Football Playoff history, underdogs have covered the spread in 11 of those games, proving to be profitable with a 52.3% success rate. Underdogs have won the game outright many times in CFP history, winning seven out of the 21 matchups despite sportsbooks predicting otherwise.

In the CFP’s young history, Ohio State has done the best job at winning outright as an underdog, doing so twice with wins against Alabama and Oregon in 2014-15, and beating Clemson despite being a seven-point underdog in last year’s playoff.

Clemson has also done a decent job winning outright as an underdog, beating Oklahoma in 2015-16, shutting out Ohio State in 2016-17 and winning the national title that same year despite being a 6.5-point underdog against Alabama.

Michigan fans may be wise to bet the Wolverines to win the game outright, as according to this recent piece, Vegas underdogs in bowl season win 36% of the time, while those same teams only lose and cover 15% of the time.

However you end up betting the Orange Bowl, make sure to wager responsibly, don’t bet beyond your means, and above all, enjoy Michigan’s first ever appearance in the College Football Playoff.