Alabama to maul Michigan in CFP Semifinal at the Rose Bowl

  • No. 1 Michigan is a 1.5-point favorite over No. 4 Alabama in the Rose Bowl 
  • Jim Harbaugh is 1-5 in Bowl games while Nick Saban has won seven national championships 
  • The CFP Semifinal kicks off from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA on Jan. 1 at 5:00 pm ET

Michigan takes on Alabama at the Rose Bowl in the first of the two College Football Playoff semifinal games on New Year’s Day. While the Wolverines went 13-0 this season, they’ll be looking to avoid their third-straight semifinals loss against a Crimson Tide team that ended Georgia’s 29-game winning streak to capture the SEC title.

Which school will advance to the National Championship Game on January 8th in Houston, Texas? Before we look at the line for this year’s Rose Bowl, be sure to check out our 2023-24 College Football Betting Resources and get the Best College Football Bowl Odds.

Michigan vs Alabama

BetOnline ReviewSpreadMoney LineTotal Points
Alabama+1.5 (-110)-102Ov 45.5 (-110)
Michigan-1.5 (-110)-118Un 45.5 (-110)

Wolverines in the CFP again

Michigan (13-0) claimed their third-consecutive Big Ten championship with a 26-0 victory over No. 18 Iowa. They finished No. 1 in the AP college football poll for the first time since the school’s last national title in 1997. However, the Wolverines are 1-5 in Bowl games and 0-2 in the CFP under Jim Harbaugh, who endured not one but two suspensions this year.

Last year, the Maize and Blue suffered a 51-45 Fiesta Bowl loss to a TCU team that went on to suffer a 65-7 blowout loss in the national championship game. Michigan also has a 8-12 overall record in Rose Bowl games.

Alabama grabs the No. 4 seed

Alabama (12-1) downed Georgia 27-24 in the SEC title game, bouncing their rivals from their 24-week reign atop the AP poll. Rather than give the final playoff spot to a Florida State team down to its third-string quarterback, the committee predictably chose the SEC Champion Crimson Tide.

In addition to making eight playoff appearances in the 10-year existence of the CFP, Nick Saban has won six straight semifinal games. One of the legendary coach’s seven national championships came as a No. 4 seed back in 2017-18.

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OVER 45.5Michigan vs Alabama
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Wolverines vs Crimson Tide

Michigan is a 1.5-point favorite in the CFP semifinal with the over/under set at 45.5 points. The Wolverines have the No. 1 ranked scoring defense in the nation, allowing just 9.5 points per game, and have held 10 of 13 opponents under 300 total yards of offense this year.

However, Jim Harbaugh’s club will be challenged by Alabama’s dual-threat quarterback. Jalen Milroe passed for 2,700 yards and 23 TDs this season, with 468 rushing yards and 12 scores on the ground. The Crimson Tide’s high-scoring attack averaged over 34 points per contest.

Run game crucial in Rose Bowl

Blake Corum ran for 1,028 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. And the Wolverines have 15 rushing scores and just one passing TD since the start of November.

Alabama held a Bulldogs rushing attack that averages 177 yards per game to just 78 rushing yards in the SEC championship, ending Georgia’s 29-game winning streak.

Best Bet

Michigan’s offensive line is beat up after losing three-time All-Big Ten guard Zak Zinter season-ending injury. That will make it more difficult for Harbaugh to run the ball and allow Bama edge rusher Dallas Turner to get pressure on J.J. McCarthy.

When in doubt, always take the SEC team. We like the Crimson Tide to win the Rose Bowl and advance to the National Championship game.

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Steve Starr

Steve is the quintessential American sports enthusiast. He has mastered the art of Sundays, devoting them to football, and barbecue parties. He proudly wears the hats of a good father, husband and a great dog owner. Aside from his decades of contributing to different top-tier sports publications, Steve has also found his niche on Twitter, where he publishes funny and relatable sports-related insights. When he's not busy tweeting, Steve loves to watch each game unfold live. He possesses an innate talent for finding humor in the sports world, appreciating both the thrilling moments and the comedic mishaps that make each event unique.