Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Rose Bowl CFB Playoff Betting Picks and Predictions

December 31, 2020

Date:Tuesday, January 1st
Time:4:00 PM ET
Network:ESPN
Venue:AT&T Stadium
Spread:Alabama -19.5
O/U:65.5

The Rose Bowl and opening semifinal of the CFB Playoff will take place on Friday, January 1st at 4:00 PM ET between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Alabama Crimson Tide. ‘Bama comes in as 20-point favorites and we’re expecting plenty of points on the board with a 65.5 over/under. You can tune into both of the games on ESPN. Let’s dive into how this game will go down and who will end up covering the spread. Make sure to check out the rest of our CFB Picks and Predictions as we have every single bowl game covered.

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College Football Playoff Semifinals Preview: Alabama vs. Notre Dame and Clemson vs. Ohio State

Trends

  • Fighting Irish are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games.
  • Crimson Tide are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games in January.
  • Over is 5-1 in Fighting Irish last 6 games on fieldturf.
  • Over is 7-2 in Crimson Tide last 9 games in January.

When The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Have The Ball

The Fighting Irish were 10-0 before getting steamrolled 34-10 by Clemson in the ACC Championship. It was an all-around ugly game and it will be crucial for the Irish to have a short memory if they want to play well in this game. It starts with senior QB Ian Book, who’s looked at as the ultimate game manager in CFB. He never wins games for Notre Dame but does a good job of taking care of the football and getting it to the necessary weapons.  He’s up to 2,601 yards on the season with 15 touchdowns and two interceptions on top of 430 rushing yards and another eight touchdowns. In this tough matchup, Book must have the game of his life to keep ND in striking distance.

The weapons are plentiful and HB Kyren Williams might be the x-factor for Notre Dame. He’s an extremely talented back that was held under two yards per carry for the first time in 2020 against Clemson. He’s rushed it for 1,061 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year with 27 receptions for another 282 yards and a pair of scores. ‘Bama has given up some big games on the ground, and I like Williams to see 20+ carries if the game stays close. He’s backed up by Chris Tyree, who’s averaging seven yards per carry en route to 480 yards and four scores. If Notre Dame can keep it within a score, their running game alone gives them a chance.

When Book does drop back, he’ll be looking for WR Javon McKinley or TE Michael Mayer. Both are unbelievable talents and neither can be covered by just one guy. Then there’s Ben Skowronek, who leads the team with five touchdowns. He’s a future NFL prospect and Alabama can’t ignore him. With all of that said above, the Notre Dame defense must continue to step up. Alabama is lethal offensively and this game will come down to whether or not the Irish defense is on the same level or not.

When The Alabama Crimson Tide Have The Ball

The Crimson Tide are coming off their closest victory of the season, beating the Florida Gators by just six points in what was an extremely entertaining, yet a bit of an unnerving game. The Tide escaped with a win and made it 11 in a row, solidifying their spot as the top team in College Football. The game also pushed Najee Harris into the top-5 for Heisman voting, giving this team three of the top five Heisman candidates. Their defense might not be as good as it was in past seasons, but the offense has more than made up for it.

QB Mac Jones has been the catalyst, making few mistakes and getting the ball to some of the best players in the world. He’s thrown it for 3,739 yards with 32 touchdowns and four interceptions. Jones isn’t a world-beater on his own, but he does a great job of taking care of the football and doing just enough to keep opposing defenses guessing. he has the best WR in CFB at his disposal in WR Devonta Smith, who’s the current odds-on favorite to win the Heisman. Smith has reeled in an unbelievable 98 catches for 1,511 yards and 17 touchdowns.

HB Najee Harris might just be the best running back to come out of Alabama since Mark Ingram. Harris has rushed it for 1,262 yards and 24 touchdowns with 316 receiving yards and another three touchdowns. He’s a guy that won’t escape the first round of the NFL draft and he’s going to put a huge stamp on his career in these playoffs. Ultimately, this game comes down to Alabama doing enough defensively to let their explosive offense breathe a bit.

Spread Prediction

The Pick: Notre Dame +20

The spread isn’t my strongest lean in this game, so check out the total down below. Here’s a hint – I like the Notre Dame offense to have a ton of success against Alabama. I don’t think Alabama struggles offensively either, but I do think it stays closer than 20 points. As hard as it may seem, the Crimson Tide are a different offense if you can eliminate or at least limit Devonta Smith and/or Najee Harris. Ian Book doesn’t turn the ball over and he will continue giving Notre Dame opportunities to score from quarter one. The Irish will have a strong offensive gameplan and I like them to keep it within 20. You could get lucky and wait as the line might grow to 21 by kickoff. It could also go the other way, so there is risk to that move.

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Total Prediction

The Pick: Over 65.5
Final Score Prediction: Alabama 49, Notre Dame 38

The over in this game is one of my favorite bets of the entire bowl season. I fully expected this number to be in the low 70’s and am all over it at 65.5. The Crimson Tide offense can be slowed for a few drives, but they’re putting up 40+ points whether you like it or not. I also expect Notre Dame to have a massive day offensively. Specifically, Kyren Williams, who will have success against the defensive front and ND will want the ball in his hands as much as they possibly can get it there. I’m a massive fan of this over and will be laying two units on both the over and 1H over.

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