- The Alabama Crimson Tide takes on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Rose Bowl at 4 p.m. ET on Friday, January 1, 2021 and televised live on ESPN.
- Notre Dame are 20 point underdogs according to bookmakers, but we predict Alabama and the OVER is the best bet.
- Alabama is the first team in league history to go 10-0 against SEC competition.
The Alabama Crimson Tide are back where they belong. After missing the College Football Playoff for the first time last season, the Tide left no doubt rolling over every Southeastern Conference opponent to become the first team in league history to go 10-0 against SEC competition. Alabama takes on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Rose Bowl, which was moved to ATT Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with the winner advancing to the national championship game. Notre Dame’s unbeaten season came to an end with a loss to Clemson in the ACC Championship and the Irish are huge underdogs to advance.
The Rose Bowl between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Notre Dame Fighting Irish will take place at ATT Stadium in Arlington, Texas at 4 p.m. ET on Friday, January 1, 2021. The game will be televised live on ESPN.
Alabama vs Notre Dame Rose Bowl Odds
Alabama Crimson Tide -20
Notre Dame Fighting Irish +20
Playing against huge lines all season didn’t prevent Alabama from being a profitable wager. The Tide had an average margin of 30.2 points and went 8-3 ATS. They were 6-2 ATS in games when they spotted opponents at least 20 points on the closing line. This may be the best Bama team in a few years, and that’s saying something since Nick Saban has produced juggernauts every year during his tenure. The Tide covered in seven straight before the SEC title game, where they hung on to beat Florida 52-46, failing to cover the 16.5-point line. That they were favored by that many points against a strong Gators bunch shows the level of respect.
Twice this season the Irish got points on the closing line, both times against Clemson. Notre Dame pulled off the upset in double overtime in the first meeting when the Tigers were missing some key players. The rematch wasn’t close. Notre Dame enters its second CFP on the heels of a thorough 34-10 beating in the ACC title game with some questioning their inclusion in the playoff. The Irish went 10-1 SU and 5-6 ATS during the season doing enough to sway the committee. The teams last met in the 2013 BCS title game with Notre Dame outclassed in a 42-14 setback.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Two finalists for the Heisman Trophy give us a good idea of how good Alabama is offensively. They will be facing a good Notre Dame defense, though nothing has slowed the Tide this year. Even the loss of Jaylen Waddle earlier in the season hasn’t slowed the Bama freight train. They topped the 50-point mark in more than half their games, including the last three, and scored at least 41 points in each of their last 10 games to rank second nationally with an average of 49.7 points per game. Mac Jones distributes the ball to a group of playmaking receivers and Najee Harris keeps defenses honest with his running ability. Nobody has stopped the Tide this year.
Jones has thrown for 3,739 yards with 32 touchdowns against only four interceptions. DeVonta Smith emerged as a Heisman finalist with his 98 receptions for 1,511 yards and 17 touchdowns. Harris probably should have been in the mix as well after rushing for 1,262 yards and 24 touchdowns. “We’ve certainly been very productive on offense,” Saban said. Bama did allow 462 yards and 46 points to Florida in the SEC title game, but the defense for the most part has been solid allowing 19.5 points per game.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Irish will hear all about their last playoff game, a 30-3 loss to Clemson a few years ago in the semifinals. They’ll also be trolled about their last game with Alabama, a 42-14 pasting in the 2013 BCS Championship matchup. They can silence the critics with an upset win or even a close loss. Notre Dame isn’t here to play a close game, though. They are here to win, and Brian Kelly thinks his team has a good chance. “We’re much better prepared than we were in 2012 in terms of the physicality on both lines. I think we have the ability to move the football, certainly,” he said.
The Irish don’t want to get into a shootout but they will need to move the football and score points, doing that will require a stellar game from Ian Book, who passed for 2,601 yards and 15 touchdowns. Book’s elusiveness and ability to extend plays frustrated opponents and could pose a problem for Bama. The Irish also churned out over 217 yards per game on the ground with Kyren Williams going for 1,061 yards behind a mammoth offensive line. They will have to come up with stops on defense, and while the numbers were strong the group was gouged twice by a Clemson team that features playmakers all over the field.
Alabama vs. Notre Dame Prediction
Best Bet: Alabama -20 and OVER 66
As much as I’d like to see a close game, I don’t think it’s going to happen. Notre Dame was exposed by Clemson’s offensive firepower and Alabama is even stronger. And the Tide is motivated after not playing for a national championship last year.