No. 9 Alabama (10-2) meets No. 17 Michigan (9-3) meet in the Vrbo One Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. The game will be nationally televised on ABC.
Alabama isn’t in a major bowl for the first time since 2010 under coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide will also be without star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, but backup quarterback Mac Jones will have most of the future first-round picks — including Jerry Jeudy — at his disposal. Alabama ranked second in the FBS with 48.3 points per game this season.
Michigan is trying to win 10 games for the fourth time in five seasons under fifth-year coach Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines are 1-3 in bowl games under Harbaugh, and that includes two losses to SEC schools. Shea Patterson has a talented group of receivers to throw to as well; Michigan has a full roster for this bowl game, too.
It’s a classic SEC vs. Big Ten bowl matchup, and those always have a little extra heat. The coaching matchup between Saban and Harbaugh only adds to that.
Here’s everything to know about betting on Alabama vs. Michigan, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for the Citrus Bowl.
Alabama vs. Michigan odds for Citrus Bowl 2020
- Spread: Alabama -7
- Point total: 58.5
- Moneyline: Alabama -250, Michigan +210
Alabama is a seven-point favorite according to Sports Insider. The line has held there leading up to kickoff.
Alabama vs. Michigan all-time series
The teams have split four meetings, three of which occurred in bowl matchups. Tom Brady led the Wolverines to a 35-34 overtime victory in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1, 2000. Alabama won the last meeting 41-14 in the 2012 season opener at Jerry World.
Three trends to know
— The Crimson Tide were favored in every game this season and went 6-6 against the spread. They were 0-2 against the spread and 0-2 straight up in the two games where they were favored by 10 points or fewer.
— Alabama is 11-5 straight up and 8-8 against the spread in postseason games under Saban since 2007.
— The knock on Harbaugh remains the same: The Wolverines are 0-9 straight up as an underdog since he took over in 2015. The Wolverines are 3-6 against the spread in that situation.
Three things to watch
Michigan’s perimeter defense
The Wolverines couldn’t handle Ohio State on the perimeter in the regular-season finale. Justin Fields passed for 302 yards, four touchdowns and averaged 12.1 yards per attempt. Jones has an even better group of receivers led by Jeudy, who averages 13.5 yards per reception, Henry Ruggs III (18.9), DeVonta Smith (18.5) and Jaylen Waddle (17.3), who combined for 35 touchdown receptions this season. If Michigan’s defensive backs aren’t at their best, then it’s going to be a long game.
Michigan’s running game
Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis was an assistant for Alabama this season. It will be interesting to see what wrinkles he puts in the running game, which must be effective for the Wolverines to have a chance. Michigan averaged 3.2 yards per rush or fewer in its losses to Penn State, Ohio State and Wisconsin this season. If the combination of Zach Charbonnet and Hassan Haskins can have success against an Alabama defense that allowed 3.8 yards per carry this season, then the Wolverines might able to hang around.
Which future first-round talents will shine in this game for Alabama? It’s a last chance for some players — even a few on the defensive side — to show out. For Michigan, players like Josh Uche — who has declared for the NFL Draft — and a talented group of receivers led by Nico Collins and Donovan Peoples-Jones could make an impression with scouts here. This is the best game outside of the New Year’s Day 6 because of the talent on both sides.
Stat that matters
This is one last chance for Shea Patterson to win the big game. Between stops at Ole Miss and Michigan, he has lost 12 starts. He had 15 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in those games, and his completion percent dipped below 60 percent in 10 of those 12 starts. He’ll have to be better than that — like the first half against Ohio State — for Michigan to make this a four-quarter game. Remember, Patterson was 4 of 24 in the second half against the Buckeyes.
Alabama vs. Michigan prediction
The last time Alabama was in this situation their motivation was questioned and they beat No. 7 Michigan State 49-7 in the Capital One Bowl in a one-sided beatdown. Expect Michigan to play loose — but the margin for error is no different than it was at Ohio State. Unless Patterson is as close to perfect as possible, the Wolverines won’t have a chance. Najee Harris ultimately wears on the Wolverines’ defense, and Alabama pulls away in the second half.
Alabama 41, Michigan 24