Best Michael Penix Jr., J.J. McCarthy prop bets: Over/under passing yards, interceptions, more

While every player who helped both No. 1 Michigan and No. 2 Washington enter the CFP National Championship game with undefeated records deserves credit, there’s no denying the impact both teams’ signal callers, Michael Penix, Jr., and J.J. McCarthy, had on their teams’ success.

Although Penix Jr. arguably had a bigger impact on his team’s 14-0 record, given the Heisman runner-up threw for 4,648 yards and did so with a good but not great defense, while McCarthy was the conductor of a physical ground and pound offense that had an elite defense to rely on, both players are among the nation’s most elite signal callers and figure to have lengthy careers at the pro level. We know it’s Penix Jr.’s final collegiate game, while McCarthy’s future remains uncertain with one more season of eligibility.

So, with the entire nation fixated on both QBs’ performances on the game’s grandest stage and prop bettors preparing to place their bets on these standout QBs, we’ve found five actionable props to consider on the duo ahead of Monday night’s title game.

Best Michael Penix Jr. and J.J. McCarthy prop bets for CFP National Championship

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

1. Michael Penix Jr. UNDER 291.5 passing yards (-115)

Considering Penix Jr. averages 332 passing yards per game and has gone OVER 291.5 passing yards in all but four games this season, there’s a high probability that the majority of prop bettors are not going to think twice about betting his OVER. He has an elite receiving trio and is protected by the Joe Moore award-winning offensive line, so eclipsing this total seems like a slam dunk.

Well, not so fast. He’s set to face an elite Michigan defense that lived in the backfield against Alabama, disrupting Jalen Milroe to the tune of six sacks and countless pressures, and also happens to allow the second-fewest passing yards per game.

Yes, Penix Jr.’s effortless flick of the wrist and ability to get the football through tight windows helped him elevate Washington to the game’s biggest stage, but there’s a chance Michigan’s defensive line gets in the backfield at a high clip, putting him under duress and impacting Washington’s passing attack.

Penix Jr. is completing under 50 percent of his passes under pressure with a 77.7 passer rating, and if he doesn’t get nearly as many clean pockets as he did in the Sugar Bowl, we could see him finish with fewer than 291.5 yards.

It also doesn’t help that his own defense ranks 99th in rush EPA, playing into Michigan’s hands. That could result in the Wolverines dominating the time of possession with several lengthy drives.

It’s undoubtedly a contrarian play, but we’re going against the grain and betting on Penix Jr. to struggle relative to his sky-high expectations.

2. J.J. McCarthy OVER 196.5 passing yards (-115)

After throwing for under 150 passing yards in his past three games, McCarthy ended the Rose Bowl with 221 passing yards and three touchdowns, leading to a quarterback rating of 168.4. Offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore’s scheme made life easy for McCarthy, with plenty of misdirection and trick plays opening up the offense, helping him connect with receivers for chunk gains.

We think Michigan’s offense should have little trouble generating consistent scoring drives, having success on the ground against an inefficient run defense along with through the air against a pass defense allowing 267.1 yards per game (120th in FBS). That figures to give McCarthy a chance to go over his passing yardage prop for a second consecutive game.

3. J.J. McCarthy anytime TD scorer (+255)

McCarthy’s ability to make plays with his legs adds intrigue to his anytime touchdown score prop at +255 (implied probability 28.17 percent). He’s scored just three rushing touchdowns this season, but behind a steady offensive line in a projected high-scoring game (over/under 55.5 points), we wouldn’t put it past Moore to dial up some QB design runs in the red zone.

4. Michael Penix Jr. UNDER 0.5 interceptions (+175)

As seasoned sports bettors, we know it’s imperative to bet on favorable numbers. That’s why we’re taking a shot on Penix Jr.’s under 0.5 interceptions thrown at +175. It may sound counterintuitive, considering we think Michigan’s coverage unit could make things tough on him, but with his odds to throw an interception priced at -240, the betting market’s already saying there’s an 70.59 percent chance he throws a pick.

Therefore, we’ll take the +175 price on Penix Jr. to play clean football, ending his night with zero INTs for the seventh time this season.

5. J.J. McCarthy OVER 21.5 rushing yards (-115)

In correlation to McCarthy’s anytime touchdown scorer prop, we’re taking a shot on him to rush for 22+ yards. We’ve already mentioned that Washington struggles against the run, and Michigan’s offensive line’s ability to win at the point of attack could lead to some chunk runs for their mobile QB whether that’s via designed QB runs or scrambles.

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