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TCU vs. Michigan picks and best bets for Fiesta Bowl

The Horned Frogs attempt to wear the slipper for at least one more game against the Big Ten champions.

Big 12 Championship - Kansas State v TCU Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

The No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs and No. 2 Michigan Wolverines meet up in the Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 31 in Glendale, Arizona. The game kicks off at 4:00 p.m. ET, and will air on ESPN.

TCU (12-1, 9-1 Big XII) had a remarkable season led by backup quarterback Max Duggan. The Horned Frogs made their mark with a big win over Oklahoma, and proceeded to beat Kansas, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State in the following weeks. The end of their schedule had some real challenges, but the other shoe never quite dropped — a win over Texas and a close overtime loss in the conference championship put the Horned Frogs into the CFP.

Michigan (13-0, 9-0 B1G) will make their second appearance in a row in the CFP following a perfect season that was punctuated with a huge win over Ohio State on the road. The Wolverines took home the conference championship over Purdue. Running back Blake Corum was the star of the show for most of the season, but a late-November injury has sent him off the field for the CFP.

Current lines at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Michigan -7.5
Total: 58
Moneyline: Michigan -305, TCU +255

Opening line: Michigan -9.5
Opening total: 60

Key players that have opted-out, injuries for Fiesta Bowl

Michigan

TE Erick All (transfer portal)
QB Alan Bowman (transfer portal)
RB Blake Corum (injury, out)
TE Louis Hansen (transfer portal)
S Caden Kolesar (injury, out)
TE Colston Loveland (injury, questionable)
QB Cade McNamara (transfer portal)
EDGE Mark Morris (injury, questionable)
EDGE Eyabi Okie (injury, questionable)
DT George Rooks (transfer portal)
LS William Wagner (injury, out)

TCU

WR Quincy Brown (injury, doubtful)
WR Caleb Medford (transfer portal)

The Pick

TCU +7.5

The Horned Frogs have a very different style of play than the hard-nosed, tough-guy way that Michigan plays, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be disadvantaged in tis matchup. TCU and Max Duggan in particular have found ways to win games in which they’ve been the underdogs, in which they’ve been behind, in which they needed a miracle (remember that walk-off field goal that was more like a run-off field goal?).

While Michigan clearly has the tools to fill the void left by Blake Corum (JJ McCarthy and Donovan Edwards stepped up over the last games of the season), this might be a closer matchup than we expect. TCU to cover.