Trends lean to Irish and Over
January 7, 2013
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BCS Championship Outlook
Notre Dame vs. Alabama (-9.5, 40.5)
Tonight’s the night we get to see a National Champion crowned in college football and Alabama is looking to cement their “dynasty” status. The Tide comes into this contest as heavy favorites and tries for their third championship in four seasons. For the seniors on this team, leaving the program with three rings on their hand would be quite the accomplishment as they finish their college careers.
Yet, Notre Dame would love to pull off the shocking upset and since the BCS went to a National Title game back in 1998, favorites laying -6.5 points or more are only 1-5 SU and ATS. Furthermore, defending champions (Alabama) that have reached the title game the following year are 0-3 SU and ATS with storied programs like Florida State, Miami and USC (before their sanctions) falling victim to this stat. And finally, the lone time the #2 seed was favored by more than 4 points was the 2000 Florida State team (-11) that lost 13-2 to Oklahoma as the Seminoles were trying to repeat.
Needless to say, recent histories are on the Irish’s side here, but give Nick Saban a month to prepare for anyone and he’ll be extremely tough to beat. Alabama comes into this game with the best defense in the country in terms of yards allowed per game (246), and these two schools are #1 and #2 in points allowed per game with Notre Dame holding the slight edge; 10.3 vs. 10.7. Those numbers have led to many bettors getting down the under in this contest and with how fast and hard-hitting both defenses are it really is no surprise.
However, if we continue to look back at past championship games, we have seen nine of the 14 games have at least 41 points scored with the highest total being 79 during that history Texas/USC game back in January of 2006. Obviously Notre Dame and Alabama are built quite differently than a lot of those past title contenders, but asking for 10 points a quarter isn’t a whole lot to ask for in a game where nothing will be held back.
Both coaching staffs have studied their opposition’s tendencies until their eyes have bled and that means both offenses will have to get out there and try something new. Trick plays, throw backs, big gainers will be had tonight. Alabama has scored 40 or more in five of their past 10 games alone, and given they are such big favorites, Alabama should score in the mid-to high 20’s at least.
That means if you’re having thoughts that the Irish can keep it close and score themselves, it may be best to think about the over here. Alabama’s lone loss (Texas A&M) came to a team with a very mobile QB that is just as dangerous with his legs as he is with his arm. Notre Dame’s Everett Golston had 3.4 yards per rush this season and wasn’t afraid to take off in his 89 attempts. If he can bust a few runs early on and get Alabama’s defense concerned about him taking off, it will open things up elsewhere for the Irish and Brian Kelly’s team should be able to take advantage. In the only two games the Irish were ‘dogs in this season they put up 20 and 30 points respectively and that 20 came against a Michigan State team that finished 10th in points allowed per game at 16.3.
This game should be a great game either way, but don’t be surprised to see this one sail “over” the total.
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