Which team will book their place in the College Football National Championship Game? Ahead of the game, we’ve got the latest college football betting odds, DFS picks, and a Sugar Bowl prediction.
Sugar Bowl Betting and DFS Preview
All odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook and correct as of Saturday, Dec. 30, 2023. Want to take advantage of the Sugar Bowl odds? Visit the College Football Network live college football odds page to place bets in your state.
Texas -175, Washington +145
- Game time
8:45 p.m. ET
Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA
- Predicted Weather at Kick Off
Indoor game (42 degrees, 8 mph winds, mostly cloudy with rain)
- How to Watch
Willing to whack some wonga on a Washington win? Can you trust Texas to take care of business in the big game? If you’re going to take advantage of the Sugar Bowl odds, consider some of the following factors before you part with your hard-earned cash.
Despite being the more highly ranked team, and a year since they beat the Longhorns in the Alamo Bowl, Washington comes into the Sugar Bowl as a somewhat surprising underdog. Kalen DeBoer’s team had a midseason wobble in some close games, but so did Texas, and the Huskies have thrived in their role as an underdog this season. Put the nation on upset alert once more.
If you agree with our Sugar Bowl prediction, then taking Washington with the points is a no-brainer. If you think Texas can win, then it might still be worth taking the Huskies to cover.
The Pac-12 champions have covered both times as an underdog this season, while the Longhorns have failed to cover as a single-digit favorite twice this year — including in defeat to Oklahoma.
While there are no guarantees in life, anything other than an offensive shootout in this game would be quite the turn of events. Washington is averaging 37.7 points per game this year, and Texas has scored over 40 in each of their last two games. The line is set at 64 points, passed by both teams in their respective championship games. Get set for a shootout.
Top DFS Picks and Fantasy Plays
- QB Michael Penix Jr., Washington
- QB Quinn Ewers, Texas
- RB Dillon Johnson, Washington
- RB Tybo Rogers, Washington
- RB Sam Adams II, Washington
- RB CJ Baxter, Texas
- RB Jaydon Blue, Texas
- RB Keilan Robinson, Texas
- WR Rome Odunze, Washington
- WR Jalen McMillan, Washington
- WR Ja’lynn Polk, Washington
- WR Germie Bernard, Washington
- WR Xavier Worthy, Texas
- WR Adonai Mitchell, Texas
- WR Jordan Whittington, Texas
- TE Jack Westover, Washington
- TE Ja’Tavion Sanders, Texas
There are five college football games on New Year’s Day to compile your DFS team from. If you’re new to DFS, Fanduel Superflex contests require you to select a quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, and a “Superflex” that can be any of the above or a tight end.
In what should be a high-scoring game, it’s easy to think that your Sugar Bowl picks could include a starting quarterback for your DFS lineup. Michael Penix Jr. was a top-20 fantasy QB this season while leading this high-scoring Washington offense, tallying just under 300 points with his 4,218 passing yards and 36 total touchdowns.
Quinn Ewers was the QB39 despite injury.
While the quarterbacks will play a huge part in the direction of this game, there are potentially better fantasy options in other bowl games. What you’ll struggle to find elsewhere is the same level of wide receiver play. Washington’s Rome Odunze is the WR2 for fantasy purposes, having tallied 236.5 points this year.
Meanwhile, Ja’Lynn Polk finished the year as the WR26, and Jalen McMillan’s fantasy stats are skewed by injury but he had 131 yards in the Pac-12 title game. Texas is also blessed with an embarrassment of riches, with Xavier Worthy and Adonai Mitchell both top-50 fantasy WRs and facing a defense that has given up some big plays in the passing game during the 2023 campaign.
Prediction for the Sugar Bowl
Okay, so we’ve furnished you with the Sugar Bowl odds and some DFS picks. Now, it’s time to close this thing out with our prediction.
Is Texas really back? Can Washington overcome their underdog status to close out their time in the Pac-12 by being the first team to represent the conference in the National Championship Game since Oregon in the 2014 college season?
Before the 2023 college football season, we said that this season might be Texas’ best opportunity to reach the College Football Playoff for a long time.
Behind a talented QB in Ewers, a ground game that somehow absorbed the loss of Bijan Robinson and still thrived, a ludicrously talented group of wide receivers, and a stellar offensive line, they’ve been offensively excellent.
Heading into the Sugar Bowl, the Longhorns boast the 16th-best scoring offense in the nation, the 24th-ranked rushing unit, and the 18th-ranked passing offense, and finished the season with the ninth-most yards per game in the country.
There were wobbles along the way, including injuries to Ewers and WR Xavier Worthy, but they’ve found a way to put points on the board with regularity.
There aren’t many better teams in the country offensively than Texas, but Washington is one of them. Between head coach DeBoer, offensive coordinator Ryan Grubbs, quarterback Penix, and his supporting cast of receivers — not to mention running back Dillon Johnson — the Huskies have averaged 37.7 points per game while leading the nation in passing offense.
Arguably, Washington has the offensive advantage, but how do the two defenses stack up?
Texas has the 12th-ranked scoring defense in the nation, allowing just 26 total touchdowns this year on their way to surrendering a mere 17.5 points per game.
They’ve been particularly strong against the run, allowing just 2.87 yards per carry and seven rushing touchdowns. Byron Murphy and T’Vondre Sweat have been behemoths at the heart of the defensive line this season.
That could be significant against a Washington team whose win against Oregon — that propelled them to the Sugar Bowl — came on the back of a clock-burning drive led by running back Johnson. If the Huskies can’t get the ground game involved at a high level, that could impact their chances of winning on multiple levels.
Washington’s defense has been much maligned this year, not quite to the same degree as TCU’s was in the hunt for the national title last year, but it still ranks 50th for scoring defense and averages 23.6 points per game. The Huskies rank 122nd for passing defense, allowing an average of 263.2 yards per game. That’s suboptimal against this Texas offense.
Perhaps more troubling is that Washington allowed 45 explosive passing plays — passes of over 20 yards — during the 2023 college football season. That ranks 105th in the nation.
However, Texas has been less adept at producing said explosive offensive plays than Washington has in 2023. Furthermore, when they make it to the red zone, the Longhorns have struggled to find the end zone, turning 49.09% of trips into a touchdown and ranking 121st in the nation in that category.
Washington has converted at a high clip, turning 70.31% of their red zone possessions into touchdowns. Whenever Penix has the ball in his hands, you believe that the Huskies could score a touchdown, no matter where or when. In a game that should be extremely close, that could be the difference.
Prediction: Washington 37, Texas 34
Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football’s transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!