BCS Championship Game Betting Preview: #2 Alabama Crimson Tide vs #1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
2013 Discover BCS National Championship Game
Monday, January 7, 2013, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
#2 Alabama Crimson Tide vs #1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Sun Life Stadium – Miami Gardens, Florida
Opening Line: Alabama -7 1/2
Current Line: Alabama -10
Opening Total: 42
Current Total: 40 1/2
Opening Money Line: Alabama -350 / Notre Dame +290
Current Money Line: Alabama -360 / Notre Dame +300
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have won national titles, but none since 1988. That is one more than the Alabama Crimson Tide, who are looking for their third national championship in the last 4 seasons. The Crimson Tide won the national title last year by beating LSU 21-0. The #1 12-0 Fighting Irish take on the #2 12-1 Crimson Tide Monday night in Miami. Notre Dame leads the series against Alabama 5-1, but they haven’t played since 1987.
Notre Dame is 15-16 all-time in bowl games. The Fighting Irish lost the Champs Sports Bowl last season to Florida St 18-14 to break a 2 game winning streak in bowl games. Before that Notre Dame had lost 9 straight post-season games. Alabama is 34-22-3 in Bowl games. The Crimson Tide have won 3 straight bowl games.
Alabama is 8-1 in the SEC under Coach Nick Saban. Alabama beat Georgia 32-28 in the SEC Championship game, in what was a defacto national semifinal. The only loss came at home to Texas A&M 29-24. The Crimson Tide have wins over Michigan 41-14 in Arlington, TX, home wins over Western Kentucky 35-0, Florida Atlantic 40-7, Ole Miss 33-14, Mississippi St 38-7, Western Carolina 49-0 and 49-0 over Auburn as well. Alabama has road wins at Arkansas 52-0, Missouri 42-10, at Tennessee 44-13 and at LSU 21-17. The Crimson Tide are 6-7 ATS and the total is 6-5-1 this season.
Alabama is averaging 439.9 yards per game on offense including 214.5 passing yards and 225.5 rushing yards. The Crimson Tide are #19 in rushing nationally. Alabama is outscoring opponents 39-11 this season. Alabama has 4 shutouts in 13 games. Alabama has forced 28 turnovers with 15 of their own. The Crimson Tide has 333 sacks and has allowed 23 this season. Alabama is 78/164 on third and fourth down conversions and 51/57 scoring in the red zone with 41 touchdowns. Alabama is allowing 246 total yards per game on defense, including 166.2 passing yards and 79.8 rushing yards per game. Alabama is in the top 2 nationally in all defensive categories. Crimson Tide opponents are 67/199 on third and fourth down conversions, and 17/27 scoring in the red zone with 14 touchdowns. Alabama has 3 defensive/special teams touchdowns.
Quarterback A.J. McCarron has completed 191/286 passes (66.8%) for 2,669 yards with 26 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Two interceptions came in the loss to Texas A&M. He has been sacked 22 times this season and has one rushing touchdown. Running back Eddie Lacy has 184 carries, 1,182 yards, and 16 touchdowns, along with 20 catches for 172 yards and a touchdown. T.J. Yeldon has 154 carries, 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns, along with 10 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. Kenyan Drake has 39 carries for 273 yards, but 5 of them went for touchdowns.
Receiver Amari Cooper has 53 catches, 895 yards and 9 touchdowns. Kenny Bell has 17 catches, 431 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is listed as questionable with a leg injury. Kevin Norwood has 26 catches, 395 yards and 4 touchdowns. Christion Jones has 25 catches, 328 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also returns kicks and punts for the Tide and has a 99 yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Four Alabama players are out for the season, including 2 running backs.
Notre Dame is led by coach Brian Kelly. Notre Dame has wins over Navy in Dublin, Ireland 50-10, Miami-(FL) in Chicago 41-3, home wins over Purdue 20-17, Michigan 13-6, Stanford 20-13 in overtime, BYU 17-14, Pitt 29-26 in triple overtime and Wake Forest 38-0. Notre Dame also has road wins at Michigan St 20-3, Oklahoma 30-13, Boston College 21-6 and USC 22-13 to close out the regular season. Notre Dame is 7-5 ATS and the total is 2-10 this season.
Notre Dame is averaging 421.3 yards per game on offense, including 218.8 passing yards and 202.5 rushing yards. The Irish are #29 in rushing and #74 in passing nationally. Notre Dame is outscoring teams 27-10 this season. They are #76 in scoring offense, but #1 in scoring defense. Notre Dame is +9 in turnovers this season with 14 giveaways. The Fighting Irish have allowed 16 sacks this season and are averaging 43 penalty yards per game. Notre Dame is 83/174 on third and fourth down conversions and 46/58 scoring in the red zone with 27 touchdowns. Notre Dame has one of the best defenses in the country. The Irish are allowing 286.8 yards per game including 194.4 passing yards and 92.4 rushing yards. Notre Dame is in the top 6 nationally in all categories except passing defense where they are #20. The Irish have forced 34 sacks and 23 turnovers this season. Notre Dame opponents are 62/181 on third and fourth down conversions, and 21/33 scoring in the red zone with 8 touchdowns.
Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson has completed 166 of 282 passes (58.9%) for 2,135 yards with 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with 89 carries, 305 yards and 5 touchdowns. Back-up quarterback Tommy Rees has completed 34 of 59 passes for 436 yards, along with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He also has a rushing touchdown. Kelly has used Rees in late game situations when the Irish need a score. It is almost like a closer in baseball.
Running back Theo Riddick has 180 carries, 880 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 35 catches for 364 yards and a touchdown. Cierre Wood has 110 carries, 740 yards and 4 touchdowns. George Atkinson III has 51 carries, 361 yards and 5 touchdowns. Tight end Tyler Eifert has 44 catches, 624 yards, and 4 touchdowns. T.J. Jones has 43 catches, 559 yards and 4 touchdowns. Robby Toma will also get some catches. DaVaris Daniels is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. John Goodman has 3 touchdown catches. Four Notre Dame defensive players and two offensive lineman are listed as questionable or out for Monday’s game.
All-American linebacker Manti Te’o was the runner up for the Heisman trophy this season behind Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. Te’o could be the number one pick in the draft and might be the best defensive player in college football. Te’o has 103 tackles, 5.5 for loss, 7 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries.
Alabama is 6-1 ATS in neutral site games, 4-1 in bowl games and in January, 5-2 after allowing 280 passing yards or more, 4-9 on grass, 1-4 in non-conference games, after gaining more than 450 yards, and overall, and 1-5 against teams with winning records.
Notre Dame is 4-1 ATS in neutral site games, 6-2 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 5-2 against teams with winning records, and 3-9 after rushing for more than 200 yards.
Points should be at a premium in this contest between two of the best defenses in football. Notre Dame has faced a some good teams this season, namely a win at Oklahoma. However, their schedule wasn’t nearly as daunting as Alabama’s. Notre Dame wasn’t expected to be here at the beginning of the season, and some say they still don’t belong even though they are undefeated. Notre Dame keeps it close but Alabma wins on a late field goal.
Our college football handicappers are red hot in the bowl season. Don’t miss out on any more winners.