Well here we are at the BCS Championship Game, where the only unbeaten team in College Football this season the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-0) will take on the SEC Champion Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1), which has a loss and two narrow wins in its last four games vs. FBS opponents after looking like easily the best team in the country earlier in the year.
The bookmakers apparently still believe that as Alabama is a double-digit -10 favorite to repeat as national champions, with the total on this contest set at 42.
ALABAMA – NOTRE DAME BCS BOWL BETTING LINE:
OPEN: ALABAMA -8.5 | CURRENT: ALABAMA -10 | O/U: 42
1. Why Alabama will cover the spread: Alabama will cover this spread if it does not allow any big passing plays vs. the mobile Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson, and a correlated secondary key would be forcing Golson to stay in the pocket, where he seems to be less effective than when he is rolling out. The statistics say that Alabama ranks sixth in the country in passing defense at 166.2 yards per game while allowing only 6.0 yards per pass attempt, but that did not prevent Aaron Murray of Georgia, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M or even Zach Mettenberger of LSU from having big games against this passing defense in the final weeks of the year.
2. Why Notre Dame will cover the spread: Notre Dame will cover the spread if it can at least slow down Alabama’s two-headed running back monster of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon, a duo that combined for 334 rushing yards in the 32-28 win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. The Irish do have one of the best front sevens in the country and they finished the regular year fourth in the nation in rushing defense at 92.4 yards per game on just 3.2 yards per carry, so it will all come down to who proves to be superior in the scrimmage war between that great Notre Dame front seven and the fantastic Alabama offensive line.
Sure Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron had an incredibly efficient passing season, but he is a system quarterback that relies in the running game to help him be successful, so containing the run is paramount for the Irish.
3. Total Talk: This game pits the top two defenses in the country in terms of scoring defense, as the SEC Championship dropped Alabama to second in the country allowing 10.7 points per game, while Notre Dame led the nation at 10.3 points. So naturally we lean to the…’over’? If the last seven years taught us anything, it is that the SEC wins championships because it is simply faster and stronger than all the other conferences.
All of Alabama’s struggles have come inside the SEC, and now that it is out of conference, look for the offensive line to overpower the Irish front like no other team has all year, and we also like the faster Alabama defense to create some offense via turnovers and/or field position. We like Alabama to open up a big lead and for maybe the Irish to score a garbage late touchdown to help the ‘over’.
4. Betting Trends for Notre Dame/Alabama: Alabama is 14-6 ATS in its last 20 non-conference games including 11-1 ATS when not favored by 30 points or more!
Alabama 31 – Notre Dame 17
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