Alabama vs. Notre Dame Betting Predictions

Rose Bowl Alabama vs Notre Dame
Alabama vs. Notre Dame, NCAA Football, Rose Bowl, January 1

Alabama has not really been tested all season in a down year for the SEC, and the Crimson Tide are in search of their first national championship since 2017. Standing in their way is Notre Dame, which suffered its first defeat of the year in the ACC championship game to Clemson. The Fighting Irish’s win over Clemson in the regular season was enough to keep them in the playoff, but it’s clear there’s a steep divide between Notre Dame and the top-two teams.

Alabama vs. Notre Dame Betting Odds

Alabama might be the only team in the country with three players who were legitimate Heisman Trophy contenders. Only two of them – quarterback Mac Jones and receiver DeVonta Smith – actually were finalists, but Najee Harris was arguably the best running back in the country this season. Harris averaged nearly six yards per carry in rushing for 1,262 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. But even he was overshadowed by the stellar play from the Jones-Smith connection all season long. Jones threw for more than 3,700 yards and 32 touchdowns in 11 games while tossing just four interceptions. Smith was on the receiving end for 98 catches, resulting in 1,511 yards and 17 touchdowns. Alabama averaged 354 passing yards and 190 rushing yards per game, simply overpowering opponents with their multitude of weapons. And that Nick Saban defense has been up to the task as well, though for once we are not talking about how dominant the Crimson Tide have been on that side of the ball.

I don’t want to call Notre Dame a fraud, but I was also skeptical of their success this year. It was a down year for the ACC and the Fighting Irish caught a break with their matchups with the top teams in the league. Clemson was missing Trevor Lawrence when the two teams met in the regular season, and we saw the difference he makes in a game during the ACC title game. The Fighting Irish also had some trouble pulling away from North Carolina, a team not known for its defensive prowess. Notre Dame also had trouble at home with Duke and Louisville, which is uncharacteristic of a great team. Ian Book was excellent at protecting the ball, throwing just two interceptions all year. He did toss 15 touchdowns and rush for eight others, accounting for more than 3,000 yards combined in those areas. Kyren Williams had a superb year in the backfield as well with 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. The defense, though, has not faced an offense as explosive as Alabama’s all year, and the closest it has come (Clemson) were the two worst performances of the year for the unit.

I was slightly surprised to see the football betting sites in New Jersey set the Rose Bowl over/under at 65.5 points. Alabama has scored at least 38 points in each game and it has scored 50 or more in six of its 11 games this season. I was honestly surprised to see Alabama has punted 27 times this year given how often their drives have ended in the end zone – it’s 73 times for the record. Notre Dame just does not have the offense to match Alabama, but it also might not have the offense to really test this Crimson Tide defense. I am scared about this Notre Dame defense facing such an explosive offense, but the Fighting Irish held Clemson to just 34 points in the ACC title game. I don’t think Alabama will cross 40 points, but I don’t think Notre Dame will able to score enough to push us over the top. I’ll parlay the two results as my main Rose Bowl prediction to build value and bet Alabama to win and under 65.5 total points for +115 odds.

Alabama to win

The question doesn’t seem to be whether Alabama is going to win, but what will the final scoreline be in the Crimson Tide’s favor. The online sports betting sites in NJ have listed Alabama as 19.5-point favorites on the Rose Bowl betting line. The Crimson Tide’s six-point win over Florida in the SEC title game was Alabama’s first all season by less than 15 points, so Alabama hasn’t just won this season, it has dominated. The Gators were also the second team to score more than 24 points on Alabama, joining Mississippi from early October. On the other side, Notre Dame has ripped through a weak ACC, but Clemson showed in the ACC title game what a good defense could do to this Fighting Irish offense. Alabama’s defense is once again among the strongest in the country, and now the Crimson Tide’s offense is the most prolific in the nation as well. The odds on the Rose Bowl aren’t great given the large spread, but Alabama should still roll through Notre Dame with ease. I’m betting the Crimson Tide laying 19.5 points for -112 odds to round out my Rose Bowl betting predictions.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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