Rose Bowl Alabama vs Notre Dame Odds, Lines and Spread – CFP Semifinal

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) runs against Florida during the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game in Atlanta. Smith has been named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
  • No. 4 Notre Dame is massive 19.5-point underdogs in the Rose Bowl against No. 1 Alabama on New Year’s Day (ESPN, 4p.m. EST)
  • The Irish are looking to rebound after a loss to Clemson in the ACC Championship, while Alabama won a shootout against Florida in the SEC title game.
  • Read below for odds, analysis and a pick on the game

The last time Alabama and Notre Dame played a college football game, things didn’t go so well for Brian Kelly and the Irish.

In the 2013 BCS Championship, the Crimson Tide throttled Notre Dame, 42-14. Unfortunately for the Irish, it doesn’t look like things will be much different between the two nearly eight years later.

Undefeated Alabama is a heavy favorite in the Rose Bowl; the first of the College Football Playoff semifinal games on New Year’s Day. The Tide has been one of the friendliest teams to bettors this season, and Bama was 8-3 against the spread in 2020.

Alabama vs Notre Dame Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
#4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish +19.5 (-108) +630 O 65.5 (-110)
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide -19.5 (-112) -1050 U 65.5 (-110)

Odds taken from FanDuel on Dec. 29th

Does Notre Dame Stand a Chance?

Alabama beat No. 3 Georgia in mid-October by 17 points, 41-24, and didn’t play in another game that finished even close to that margin until Florida in the SEC Championship Game on December 19.

The Gators gave Bama a run for the money, but the Tide hung on for the 52-46 win, and secured its spot as the top seed in the College Football Playoff.

After the Irish beat a Trevor Lawrence-less Clemson in regular season, the Tigers took revenge in the ACC Championship Game, and pummelled Notre Dame 34-10 in their second meeting. In fact, the Irish have fallen off in many of the categories on both sides of the ball that they’ve found success in for most of the season.

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As Book Goes, the Irish Go

Against Alabama, the last thing a team should be doing is trending down, but that is the situation the Irish find themselves in. Opponents have scored on every red zone possession against Notre Dame in their last three games, and run the ball for nearly 70 more yards per game than what the Irish had been allowing over the course of the season.

Quarterback Ian Book threw three touchdown passes against a miserable Syracuse team prior to the ACC title game, but only threw one against North Carolina the previous week and had none in his most recent game against the Tigers.

Notre Dame has dealt with injuries on the offensive line throughout the second half of the season, and its rushing offense has taken a step back as a result. Against Clemson, the Irish averaged just 1.5 yards per rushing attempt, and Alabama has arguably been the best rush defense in the country in its last three games.

Meanwhile, Najee Harris and the Tide’s ground attack has been running over opponents to the tune of 227 yards per game during that same stretch.

2021 CFP National Championship Odds Tracker

No Waddle, No Problem

Alabama has been without star wide receiver Jalen Waddle since the end of October, and he won’t be back in this one. However, quarterback Mac Jones hasn’t missed a beat and DeVonta Smith stepped up in a big way as his go-to receiver.

Smith has 98 catches this season for more than 1,500 yards, and has caught 17 of Jones’ 32 touchdown passes. Starting free safety Kyle Hamilton is expected to play for Notre Dame, but the sophomore is recovering from an ankle injury, and might be a half-step slower when providing support over the top on defense.

Smith and Jones are the top two contenders to win this year’s Heisman Trophy at -180 and +155 odds, respectively.

Making the Best Bet

Finding areas where Notre Dame can push Alabama isn’t easy, and there is little doubt that the Tide will be competing for another national championship this season. Perhaps the real bet is whether or not Kelly’s face will turn a darker shade of red than Bama’s uniforms, because this is not going to be a fun one for the Irish.

Notre Dame doesn’t have the playmakers in the pass game that Florida does, and Bama’s defense is going to be hungry to prove that the Gators’ big passing totals in the SEC Championship Game are the exception, not the rule. This is a situation where Alabama winning by three touchdowns is more likely than any other outcome.

The Pick: Alabama -19.5 (-112)

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