FCS playoffs are in the home stretch with two great matchups on ESPN and ABC.
Delaware (unseeded) vs SDSU (#1 seed) is game #1 at 12 pm (ET) on ESPN. 11 am local kickoff, ugh.
Delaware dominated Jacksonville State last weekend throughout and the final score was quite deceiving. Delaware is playing as well as anyone in the FCS right now and are a strong defensive team. This is another long road trip for them having flown to Alabama last week and now flying halfway across the country to South Dakota this week. South Dakota State really struggled with Southern Illinois last week and should have lost, but Southern Illinois folded late and a few key momentum swings helped SDSU get the win.
Delaware is getting +8.5 with a very low total of 38.
I expect Delaware to keep this game low scoring because they are not built for getting in a shootout with SDSU. SDSU will want to make up for not looking like the #1 overall seed this week as well.
SDSU has continually struggled getting to the FCS championship game in previous years, though Delaware has not been in this position forever as well, so a lot on the line for these two teams.
I'm taking Delaware +8.5 for 1 unit and laying 0.5 unit on the ML for Delaware as well. I would also lean under the total here as sportsbooks are basically begging people to take the over here and for those who know little about the FCS and just wanting football action this weekend a low total of 38 could be very inviting to over bettors. I would also look to take Delaware 1H ATS and also depending on the 1H total take the under there as well. If SDSU blows out Delaware, then so be it, but you gotta make a stand with your bets and these are mine for this game. Formulate your own opinions and bet accordingly. Also good writeups on these games at Athlon and College Football News websites.
JMU (#3 seed) vs SHSU (#2 seed) is game #2 at 2:30 pm (ET) on ESPN.
This should equally be a great game as both teams are pretty evenly matched. JMU has a strong running game and QB Cole Johnson has been heating up in the playoffs. Also in the playoffs we have seen the emergence of Freshman WR #81 Antwane Wells Jr. who has had some tremendous catches and TD's for the Dukes in the first two playoff games. The chemistry between him and Cole has really developed and this tandem could be the difference for the Dukes on offense, otherwise the Dukes have a 4 man rotation at RB. All great runners who can step in at a moments notice. The JMU defense has also been solid this season, but more of a bend, but don't break defense unlike previous years where they were absolutely lights out on D. Penalties have been the big issue for the Dukes in the playoffs especially on defense, this has led to keeping drives alive and points allowed for the opposing teams.
Sam Houston State is undefeated at home in the FCS playoffs in their history at 16-0 now, do not overlook this record. The knock on Sam Houston in previous years has been their lack of defense and the last time they played JMU in the FCS playoffs they were absolutely train wrecked by the Dukes at JMU 65-7 the last time JMU won the national championship in 2017. SHSU has their chance for revenge from that game now playing at home where they are much better and they have now finally built a capable defense that all but shutdown the North Dakota State offense last week, a game where most expected North Dakota State to win and advance to play JMU, which would have been a premier FCS playoff matchup. However NDSU also lost their star QB to the NFL draft and were starting a freshman in his 2nd career start.
Game is basically a pickem with JMU laying -1. So you could argue on a neutral field the Dukes are a field goal favorite. However the books set the line just like this last week opening NDSU favored by -3 or -3.5 on the road last week and without seeing betting percentages I can imagine more bets were on NDSU ATS and ML than SHSU. And guess what the line never moved towards NDSU, but rather slowly moved towards the sharp side for SHSU who won, so I see the same kind of set-up here this week with a very tricky -1 ATS and JMU -115 on the ML. Should be a good game here, my lean would be SHSU, but much more cautious play here. Total of 46 is a pretty good number, would probably lean under with an improved SHSU defense.
Good luck with any bets you do make in these games if you get involved.