Rose Bowl: Alabama vs. Michigan College Football Playoff prediction and preview

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Rose Bowl: Alabama vs. Michigan in the College Football Playoff semifinals

The first of the two College Football Playoff semifinals features the Michigan Wolverines facing the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. These two prestigious programs will clash at 5:00 pm ET on Monday, January 1. Keep reading for our Alabama vs. Michigan betting preview and predictions. 

 

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Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Michigan Wolverines (-2, 46) 

After earning a win over Ohio State in “The Game” and following it up with a blowout over Iowa in the Big Ten Championship, Michigan didn’t need to sweat out its spot in the CFP. The only question was whether the Wolverines would be the top-seeded team. However, Alabama’s presence in the semifinals is controversial. Many people wanted to see Florida State get rewarded for an undefeated season, but Jordan Travis’ injury ended up doing the Seminoles in. Their subpar outings in their past two games left a lot to be desired, while Alabama’s win over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game was one of the most impressive individual performances of the year. We’ll now see two of the biggest brands in football clashing at one of the greatest venues in sports.

The biggest question mark here is whether the Alabama offense will be able to move the ball against Michigan. This Wolverines team has allowed only 9.5 points per game to this point. Michigan’s sixth-ranked rushing defense (87.1 yards per game allowed) was a big reason for that, and the team was also stingy against the pass. So, this matchup will be a tough one for Jalen Milroe and the Tide. Alabama’s offense did its job against Georgia, putting up 27 points and looking solid in both the running and passing games. But Michigan is a little better than Georgia defensively, especially against the run. If the Tide can’t get the ground game going, Milroe’s job gets a lot tougher. 

Michigan’s offense should also present more problems for the Alabama defense than Georgia’s did. The Wolverines can really run the football, as Blake Corum is one of the most talented backs in the country and runs behind an elite offensive line. And J.J. McCarthy, a potential first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, can make all the throws. The Wolverines offense probably won’t light the Tide up, but it’s capable of doing what’s necessary in a low-scoring game. 

It’s also important to note that this Michigan team averages only 26.3 penalty yards per game, which is the best mark in college football. Under Nick Saban, Alabama is just 8-20 against the spread versus teams that average 42.0 or fewer penalty yards per game.

Lean: Michigan -2 & Under 46 (Stronger lean to Michigan -2) 

Game Trends from Steve Makinen

CFP SEMIFINAL Rose Bowl Game – Rose Bowl (Pasadena, California)

* ALABAMA is 13-2 ATS in the last 15 games with more than 13 days of rest (1-0 this season)

* ALABAMA is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 games vs Big 10 teams

* MICHIGAN is 1-7-2 ATS in the last 10 bowl games

System Match: PLAY ALABAMA, FADE MICHIGAN

* MICHIGAN is 10-2 Over in the last 12 January 1st Bowl Games

System Match: PLAY OVER the total