CFP Semifinal Betting Preview, Odds & Picks: Alabama vs Notre Dame

Alabama is set to take on Notre Dame in the upcoming Rose Bowl which will serve as the College Football Playoff Semifinal. Whoever comes out on top will advance to the College Football National Championship Game against the winner of the Sugar Bowl between Clemson and Ohio State.

BetOnline has the Crimson Tide set as a sizable 20-point favorite against the Fighting Irish with the total set at 65.5.

Rose Bowl Betting Odds & Information

  • Spread: Alabama -20 (-110) | Notre Dame +20 (-110)
  • Total: OVER 65.5 (-110) | UNDER 65.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Alabama -1300 | Notre Dame +725
  • Location: Arlington, TX (AT&T Stadium)
  • Date: January 1, 2021
  • Time: 4:00 PM ET
  • TV: ESPN

Odds via BetOnline (12/30/20)

Notre Dame Will Be Seeking Revenge in a Rematch of the 2013 National Championship Game

Despite both being legendary college football programs, Alabama and Notre Dame have rarely met in their long history. In fact, they’ve played just once in the last 33 years. That game was the 2013 BCS National Championship Game. An AJ McCarron-led Alabama team handled Manti Te’o and Notre Dame with ease, beating them by a final score of 42-14.

Notre Dame entered that game as the number one ranked team in the country, sporting an undefeated 12-0 record while Alabama entered the game with one loss at 11-1. The opposite is true for this year’s edition of matchup as Alabama is currently undefeated while Notre Dame has just one loss, losing to Clemson in the ACC Championship game.

Notre Dame holds the all-time series advantage against Alabama at five wins and two losses.

Can Anyone Stop the Alabama Offense?

Strong defense and low-scoring affairs used to be the MO for SEC football, but that’s not the case anymore. Alabama’s offense has lit up the college football world and any team that hopes to dethrone Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide have to find a way to keep them out of the endzone.

Alabama is scoring just below fifty points a game at 49.7. Only one other team in the country is higher than that mark and it’s Kent State from the MAC. Outside of the Golden Flashes, no other team is even within five points of Alabama’s average points per game. Not only are they putting up insane numbers but they’re doing it in the toughest conference in the country so you can’t point to strength of schedule as a cause for skewed statistics. In their four games against ranked opponents this season they’re averaging 46.75 points per game. They even managed to put up 41 points against Georgia, a team that many people believed to have one of the best defenses in the country.

Notre Dame hasn’t lived through the trials and tribulations of an SEC schedule but their defense has put up impressive numbers nonetheless. They rank 13th in opponent points per game, allowing an average of just 18.6. While they’ve been a solid unit through most of the season, their defense let them down in their two games against the ACC powerhouse Clemson, allowing 40 points in their regular season win over the Tigers and then 34 points in their championship game loss. They’ll need to show up big against Alabama if they hope to have a shot.

The Fighting Irish Must Find Success on the Ground

If Notre Dame is to have any hope of taking down Alabama and advancing to the National Championship game, establishing a successful run game is an absolute must. 47.82 percent of their offensive yards this season have come from running the ball, that’s the 37th highest rate in the country. Sophomore running back Kyren Williams has arguably been Notre Dame’s best offensive weapon this season, amassing 1,061 yards while averaging 5.4 yards per carry.

Running the ball effectively was the key to Notre Dame’s biggest win of the season. They rushed for a total of 208 yards in their 47-40 OT win against Clemson in the regular season. Not being able to run the ball in their rematch against the Tigers in the ACC Championship game may have been their downfall. They rushed for just 44 yards on their way to a 34-10 loss.

Betting Advice for Alabama vs Notre Dame

Let’s not overthink this bet. Alabama is the clear number one team in the country right now and they’ve shown no signs of slowing down. Notre Dame was able to take advantage of a mid-season win against a banged up Clemson squad and many people think, for good reason, that they don’t belong in the College Football Playoff. A late-season stumble by Florida and the committee’s refusal to give a team from a non-Power 5 Conference a shot at the Playoff are the main reasons why the Fighting Irish snuck in as the fourth seed.

Alabama enters the game with an average scoring margin of +30.3 while competing against the best conference in the country. No team is within four points of the Crimson Tide’s average scoring margin and Notre Dame hasn’t showed any outstanding abilities that make you think they have a shot in this game. Alabama will win this game, cover the spread, and advance to the College Football National Championship Game for the sixth time in five years.

Best Bet: Alabama +20


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.