Michigan Football - Wolverines 2023 Season Preview, Predictions & Best Bets

Michigan Wolverines running back Blake Corum (2) scores a touchdown against the Connecticut Huskies during the first half at Michigan Stadium, Saturday, September 17, 2022.
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Sam Avellone


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Long-time suffering Browns fan born and raised in the greater Cleveland, Ohio area who now resides in SEC country. University of South Carolina alum. Sports handicapper for close to 10 years with a primary focus on NCAAB while enjoying NFL, PGA, NCAAF, NBA, and Soccer. For Sam Avellone media enquiries, please email contact@pickswise.com.
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Michigan has built an amazing foundation of success in recent years with back-to-back Big Ten titles and trips to the College Football Playoff. While their aspirations of playing for a national title have not come to fruition just yet, there is a good chance the Wolverines will be right in the conversation again this season. Their roster is loaded with returning talent looking to build off last year’s success, and their path to a third straight playoff is not as difficult as you would think.

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Michigan Wolverines 2023 College Football Season Odds

Odds provided by FanDuel Sportsbook

Michigan National Championship Odds

The Wolverines are 1 of 4 teams with odds less than 10/1 to win the national title. They currently have the fourth-lowest odds at +850.

Michigan Wolverines Big Ten Championship Odds

Michigan is the second favorite behind Ohio State to win the Big Ten at +180.

Michigan Wolverines Big Ten East Odds

In the final year of Big Ten divisional alignment as we know it, Michigan has the second-best chance to win the Big Ten East. The Wolverines are listed at +120.

Michigan Wolverines Odds to Reach the College Football Playoff

Listed at +125, Michigan has the third-lowest odds to reach the College Football Playoff.

Michigan Wolverines 2022 Season Recap

The Wolverines finished last season 13-1, which was a school record for wins in a single season. However, they fell short in the semifinal again after being unable to overcome a fast start from TCU. Despite the disappointing finish, the Wolverines won 10 of their 13 games by 20 or more points. They scored over 40 points per game behind a lethal rushing attack with Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, who combined for over 2,700 total yards and 28 total touchdowns and propelled the Wolverines to a top 5 spot in rushing yards per game in 2022. Michigan’s passing attack was not needed in most weeks, but JJ McCarthy was solid with 2,719 yards, 22 touchdowns, 5 interceptions and a completion percentage just short of 65%. His main beneficiary was Ronnie Bell, who caught 62 passes for 889 yards and 4 touchdowns. 

Michigan continued its success on the defensive side of the ball as well, finishing in the top 10 in scoring and allowing just a touch more than 16 points per game. In fact, the Wolverines were just 1 of 3 teams that finished in the top 5 in scoring offense and defense last year along with Alabama and Georgia. Linebackers Junior Colson and Michael Barrett led the team with 173 combined tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks, while Rod Moore, Mike Sainristil and Will Johnson defended the back side with over 150 combined tackles, 10 combined tackles for loss and 8 combined interceptions. Each one of those players return this season and should be able to produce at a high level again under coordinator Jesse Minter.

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Michigan Wolverines 2023 College Football Season Outlook

Coach Harbaugh and the Wolverines return over 80% of their total production from last season, including 84% of their offensive production. Returning production does not always equate to success on the field, but after a top 5 season on both sides of the ball, returning production is most certainly a good thing. McCarthy will lead the offense again with Corum and Edwards at the helm, but Michigan will not have its security blanket behind McCarthy in Cade McNamara – who transferred to Iowa. The offensive line returns 3 pieces that played more than 600 snaps last season including its best piece in Zak Zinter, as well as 2 others that played at least 300 snaps. Harbaugh added 3 experienced transfers in LaDarius Henderson (Arizona State), Myles Hinton (Stanford) and Drake Nugent (Stanford) as well, so expect the Wolverines to trot out 5 seniors across the offensive line this fall. The receiving core has some uncertainties without Ronnie Bell and Luke Schoonmaker in the mix, but Cornelius Johnson and Roman Wilson return after nearly 900 combined yards and 10 touchdowns last year and the tight end position has upside with Colston Loveland entering his sophomore season.

Michigan returns 7 of its 10 top tacklers including its top 5 from a season ago and is expected to be one of the nation’s best stop units in the country again. The Wolverines expect big things from their returning young pieces in the secondary like Johnson and Moore after they both finished top 10 in the conference in pass coverage per PFF, and their rush defense figures to be in good hands with 2 top 15 Big Ten run-stoppers in Kris Jenkins and Colson back in Ann Arbor. 

In short, Michigan’s schedule does not get challenging until November. The Wolverines start with 4 home games in a row against East Carolina, UNLV, Bowling Green, and Rutgers and are expected to be heavy double-digit favorites in each of them. Michigan then travels on the road in consecutive weeks to Nebraska and Minnesota before hosting Indiana and then traveling to Michigan State before its bye week during Halloween weekend. The Wolverines come out of their bye with a game at home against Purdue before another back-to-back road trip to Penn State and Maryland. Finally, the Wolverines wrap up the season with “The Game” against Ohio State.

Best Bet: Michigan Wolverines to win the Big Ten (+180)

Odds available at FanDuel at the time of publishing.

The Wolverines have a couple tricky back-to-back road trips, but they figure to be double digit favorites in every road game except maybe at Penn State. Michigan avoids cross-divisional matchups with Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin, making their schedule very manageable compared to Penn State and Ohio State – both of whom will have first year starters taking snaps under center. With so much continuity on both sides of the ball and less questions across the offensive line than both the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions, the Wolverines should be able to lean on their elite rushing attack without much resistance for the first 2 months of the season. There is a clear path to an undefeated regular season for Michigan if it can continue its recent form against Penn State and Ohio State, so I think the Wolverines should be the favorites in the conference and would bet them down to +150. 

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