The first College Football Playoff semifinal features No. 1 Alabama facing No. 4 Notre Dame on Friday in a matchup of two of the winningest programs in NCAA history. It’s called the Rose Bowl but was moved to Texas due to COVID restrictions in California. The Tide are huge favorites on the college football odds.
How to Bet Alabama vs. Notre Dame NCAA Football Odds & TV Info
When: Friday, 4 PM ET
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington
Stream: ESPN app
Opening NCAAF Lines: Alabama -20 (total 65.5)
Alabama and Notre Dame will meet for the eighth time in the history of the two storied programs. The Fighting Irish hold a 5-2 lead in the series, but the Crimson Tide has come out victorious in two of the last three matchups. The most recent pairing came in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game in Miami, which the Tide won 42-14. Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban is 4-0 for his career against ND, including a 1-0 mark at Alabama.
Why Bet on Alabama?
This is easily the best offensive team that Nick Saban has ever had led by quarterback Mac Jones, running back Najee Harris and running back DeVonta Smith. The Crimson Tide scored 52 points in the Dec. 19 SEC title game win over then-No. 7 Florida. It marked the 24th straight game that Alabama’s offense has scored 35-or-more points, which is the longest streak in major-college football history.
Alabama (11-0) is leading the SEC and is the second-ranked Power 5 program in scoring average at 49.7 points per game. The Tide offense is averaging 6.18 touchdowns per game (68 touchdowns) with 43 of those scores coming on drives of less than three minutes – or 63.2 percent.
It’s expected that Smith will win the Heisman next week and Jones will finish second. Smith won the Associated Press College Football Player of the Year Award this week and 17 of the past 22 winners of that won the Heisman.
Smith was named SEC Offensive Player of the Year. He leads the country in receptions (98), receiving yards (1,511) and yards after the catch (768) and ranks second nationally in receiving touchdowns (17), receptions per game (8.9) and receiving yards per game (137.4). He has converted a first down or a touchdown on a team-high 68 of his receptions this season. Smith already owns the Alabama single-season record for receiving touchdowns and is on-pace to take over the receptions and receiving yards marks.
Jones likely will finish second in the Heisman voting and was second for AP Player of the Year. He has recorded four of the Crimson Tide’s 10 400-plus yards passing performances in program history, the most by any one quarterback at UA and tied for the most in single-season SEC history. Jones had an NCAA-leading 202.3 passer rating and 95.6 QBR. He leads the nation in completion percentage (76.5) and adjusted completion percentage (82.8). Jones had 3,739 passing yards to rank second in Division I while averaging 339.9 passing yards per game, good for third nationally.
Harris leads the nation in total touchdowns (27) and rushing touchdowns (24) in addition to scoring (162). He’s third rushing yards at 1,262 and has totaled two or more rushing touchdowns in eight of 11 contests with at least one score in 10 games this season. Harris also had 32 receptions for 316 yards and three touchdowns and converted a first down or scored a touchdown on 20 of his receptions. He has totaled 1,578 all-purpose yards in 2020 to average 143.5 per game.
Why Bet on Notre Dame?
Notre Dame joined the ACC as a temporary member because of scheduling concerns during the pandemic. It was the first time in 114 years of playing football that the Irish didn’t play as an independent. The Irish ran the table in the regular season but then were dominated 34-10 in the ACC title game by Clemson.
The momentum changed late in the first quarter when Notre Dame kicker Jonathan Doerer, who had converted an ACC title-game record 51-yard field goal on the game’s opening drive, clanked a 21-yard attempt off the right upright.
The Fighting Irish could get nothing going in the passing game. Ian Book was under pressure almost every time he tried to throw the ball and Notre Dame’s wide receivers couldn’t shake Clemson’s defensive backs. Book completed 20 passes on the day, moving into second all-time in Notre Dame quarterback career completions with 701, passing Jimmy Clausen’s 695. Book trails only Brady Quinn (929).
For the Fighting Irish to have a chance, here senior QB Ian Book is going to have to play exceptionally well. He’s the all-time winningest quarterback in school history with a 30-4 record. His 88.2 winning percentage ranks him second only to Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence (97.1) among active FBS quarterbacks. Book is the only Power 5 quarterback with at least 240 pass attempts and two interceptions or fewer this season. Book ranks second in school history in career passing yards, touchdown passes, rushing yards by a quarterback, total offense and points responsible for.
Notre Dame senior linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and senior offensive lineman Aaron Banks were named to the Associated Press All-America First Team. The 2020 Butkus Award winner and ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Owusu-Koramoah is widely regarded as one of the best defensive players in the nation. The senior has totaled 56 tackles (38 solo), 11.0 TFL, 1.5 sacks, one interception, three PBU, two FR and three FF on the season.
Banks is part of an offensive line that leads the ACC and ranks eighth in the FBS in time of possession, controlling the ball for 33:57 minutes of game time and winning the time of possession battle in 10-of-11 games this season. The 33:57 time of possession average leads the ACC by more than two minutes per game.
Since the start of 2018, Notre Dame is 33-4 (.892). That rate ranks fourth among all teams who have made an appearance in the College Football Playoff since its inception in 2014. Notre Dame is one of just five teams who have made playoff appearances in multiple seasons.
Fighting Irish are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games.
Fighting Irish are 6-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Fighting Irish are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 bowl games as an underdog.
Crimson Tide are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games as a favorite.
Crimson Tide are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
Alabama 41, Notre Dame 24
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