Alabama vs. Michigan Odds, Betting Pick, Prediction: Will Crimson Tide Be Motivated for 2020 Citrus Bowl?
Wesley Hitt, Getty Images. Pictured: Nick Saban
- Alabama is a 7.5-point betting favorite over Michigan in the latest Citrus Bowl odds, with the total rising to 60.5 behind a flood of money on Wednesday morning.
- The Crimson Tide missed the College Football Playoff for the first time since the format began in 2014, but only lost two games by a combined eight points.
- Michigan didn't get its much-desired resurgence under Jim Harbaugh, going 9-3 with losses to Penn State, Ohio State and Wisconsin.
- See our experts' picks for Alabama vs. Michigan in the 2020 Citrus Bowl below.
Alabama vs. Michigan Odds
- Odds: Alabama -7
- Over/Under: 58
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV: ABC
- Location: Orlando, Fla.
Collin Wilson: Will Alabama Be Motivated?
Normally, a handicapper can rely on the data and information to make an investment. In the case of the 2020 Citrus Bowl, the most important part of the handicap can’t be quantified.
How motivated will Alabama be for this game?
This is the first time since the advent of the College Football Playoff that Nick Saban will not coach Alabama in the national semifinal. Saban has coached Alabama in three bowls without national championship implications, going 1-2.
Alabama will also have to make due without a few key players in their secondary. That’s not a recipe for success against Michigan’s offense, which features two dynamic wideouts in Nico Collins and Ronnie Bell. Additionally, quarterback Shea Patterson and offensive coordinator Josh Gattis are familiar with Alabama, as the Patterson played at Ole Miss and Gattis coached in Tuscaloosa in 2018.
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones hasn’t played enough to give us an idea of the difference between him and Tua Tagovailoa, but Jones didn’t look great when he was under pressure against Auburn. That spells trouble against a defense that ranks 12th in sack rate.
Our projected spread for this game is Alabama -5, so I am happy to back a motivated Michigan team looking for a season-changing win over an SEC blue blood.
Pick: Michigan +7 or better
Stuckey: Michigan Can Keep up with the Tide
I also think there’s value fading the Tide in this game and make the line closer to Alabama -5. I think the drop off between Tagovailoa and Jones is larger than the market indicates.
There were some questions about a number of Alabama players sitting out for this bowl but it looks like almost everyone on the offensive side of the ball (with the exception of Tua) will suit up and the Tide could get TE Miller Forristall back.
However, two of its best defensive players in cornerback Trevon Diggs and outside linebacker Terrell Lewis won’t go. Plus, it looks like another starter in freshman DT DJ Dale will sit out with an injury. That will certainly hurt an Alabama defense that has been nowhere close to as dominant as in years past, especially in the front 7 due to a plethora of NFL departures and preseason injuries.
I ultimately think Michigan can have plenty of success moving the ball. This is an offensive unit that has improved drastically on the offensive side of the ball as the season has progressed, which you would expect for a team with a brand new scheme. You’d also have to think that the extra time off and preparation ahead of this bowl will only help the offense.
There are also real concerns about Bama coming out a little flat in a game the Tide aren’t used to playing. The last time Alabama played in a non-college football playoff bowl was in 2014 when it lost 45-31 as a 17-point favorite against Oklahoma.
Something also worth mentioning is the edge Michigan should hold on special teams. Alabama’s third phase has been pretty putrid this year, particularly when it comes to punting and field goals. And we all saw how important special teams were in Alabama’s loss to Auburn to end the season.
You can buy this to 7.5 on the cheap which I fancy here.
Pick: Michigan +7.5