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Bryce Lance #5 of the North Dakota State Bison catches a pass prior to the game against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks at FARGODOME on Nov. 19
Bryce Lance #5 of the North Dakota State Bison catches a pass prior to the game against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks at FARGODOME on Nov. 19. Sean Arbaut/Getty Images/AFP

Breaking down the best strategy for betting on FCS championship futures and sharing our top plays for this weekend’s quarterfinal round matchups.

The 2022 FCS playoffs are set to continue this Friday and Saturday. Eight teams remain in the hunt for the FCS Championship and each will take part in a quarterfinal round matchup this coming weekend. 

With four games on tap, bettors have plenty of ways to approach the upcoming slate. The updated FCS Championship futures odds for each of the remaining contenders provide another angle to pursue betting value.

Here are our best bets heading into the quarterfinal round of the FCS Championship playoffs (odds via FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, SuperBook).

Odds to Win the 2022 FCS Championship 

TeamDraftKingsFanDuelSuperBook
South Dakota State+155+180+105
Sacramento State+275+250+425
North Dakota State+330+350+350
Montana State+600+600+1000
Incarnate Word+1800+1600+2500
William & Mary+3000+3500+3500
Holy Cross+3500+3000+8000
Samford+4000+5000+4000

Best Bets to Win the FCS Championship 

  • South Dakota State (+180 via FanDuel)
  • North Dakota State (+350 via SuperBook)

FCS Championship Futures Betting Picks 

South Dakota State + North Dakota State

The FCS playoffs may already be half over, but bettors can still put themselves in a position to turn a profit on championship futures. The strategy? Bet on each of the two remaining Missouri Valley Conference teams. Based on the current prices, a profit can be obtained regardless of whether South Dakota State or North Dakota State ultimately wins the title.

Top-seeded South Dakota State is still waiting to break through with an FCS Championship. After being upset in the semifinal round by Montana State last year, the Jackrabbits figure to be much less likely to suffer a similar fate this time around.

In the bottom half of the bracket, North Dakota State will likely have to knock off Sacramento State on the road to reach the title game. That said, betting against a program that has won five of the last seven FCS Championships is hardly advised. 

The Bison went toe-to-toe with FBS-level Arizona earlier this season. They also just destroyed the same Montana team that took the Hornets to overtime during the regular season in last week’s second-round matchup. Like SDSU, North Dakota State largely dominates opponents in the trenches. Both schools also ranked top 4 in scoring defense this season.

Bettors should note that the soonest the two MVC rivals could meet is in the FCS Championship game itself. The Jacks and Bison are both massive favorites in their respective quarterfinal-round matchups and will likely both be laying points next week as well. As such, a profit could be secured before a champion is even crowned.  

FCS Championship Playoffs Quarterfinal Round Schedule and Odds

(odds via FanDuel)

  • Samford vs. North Dakota State (-16.5)
  • William & Mary vs. Montana State (-7.5)
  • Incarnate Word vs. Sacramento State (-6.5)
  • Holy Cross vs. South Dakota State (-15.5)

FCS Playoffs Quarterfinal Best Bets 

  • Sacramento State -6.5 (-114 via FanDuel)
  • Samford-North Dakota State Under 62.5 (-110 via FanDuel)

FCS Playoffs Quarterfinal Picks

Sacramento State -6.5 (-114)

Both Incarnate Word and Sacramento State own victories over FBS-level opponents. The Cardinals kicked off the 2022 season in style by knocking off a lowly Nevada team by two touchdowns. A few weeks later, the Hornets went into Fort Collins and picked up a 31-point victory over Colorado State.

After receiving a first-round bye, Incarnate Word survived a comeback attempt by Furman to earn a three-point win last week. The three-point victory was easily the Cardinals’ closest win of the season after rolling through a mediocre Southland Conference.

Meanwhile, the fact that Sacramento State made it through the regular season undefeated as a member of the loaded Big Sky Conference is quite an accomplishment. The Hornets overcame a slow start to largely dictate terms in last week’s playoff matchup against Richmond.

Add in the fact that Sacramento State will have home-field advantage in Friday’s quarterfinal matchup and laying less than a full touchdown makes for a solid selection.

Samford-North Dakota State Under 62.5 (-110)

The contrast in the offensive styles of Samford and North Dakota State is undeniable. The Bison are hoping to ride one of the top rushing attacks in all of FCS to their fifth title in the last six years. As a team, NDSU rumbled for a whopping 453 yards in last week’s playoff win over Montana.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were able to pull out a thrilling overtime win despite only getting five snaps out of starting quarterback, Michael Hiers. A shocking performance from backup Quincy Crittendon enabled Samford to get past Southeastern Louisiana in overtime.

Samford’s chances of replicating last week’s offensive heroics against North Dakota State aren’t great, to say the least. With the expectation that Hiers will be limited at best, the Bison will have a week to game plan with the expectation that Crittendon will start. NDSU's defense allowed only 18.1 points per game this season, the fourth-fewest in all of FCS. 

Combine the concerns about how many points (if any) the Bulldogs will be able to score with North Dakota State’s run-heavy approach and bettors have plenty of ammo to fire on the Under.

Where to Bet on FCS Championship Picks

Check out our best sportsbooks: