FCS Title Game: James Madison to Trample North Dakota State as Live Dog

james madison  north dakota

Swinging Johnson

Wednesday, January 3, 2018 3:01 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018 3:01 PM UTC

This Saturday, James Madison will lock horns with North Dakota State in the FCS national championship game. Let's review the college football odds and gain an edge on a title game few are bothering to consider.

North Dakota State Bison (13-1) vs. James Madison Dukes (14-0)Free NCAAF Pick: JMU +4Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Let's face facts. Little coverage is given to the minor leagues of Division I college football, and therefore the average bettor has no clue as to whom is whom in this FCS championship matchup Saturday at noone ET (ESPN2) in Frisco, Texas. That said, I believe it would be wise to offer a side-by-side comparison so we get a feel for why these teams dominated in the regular season and are justifiably meeting in this title tilt. Without further ado, let's learn about the contestants.

North Dakota State

Offense

  • Passing Yards/Game - 180.0 (ranked 88th)
  • Rushing Yards/Game - 282.1 (ranked 4th)
  • Total Yards/Game 462.1 (ranked 8th)
  • Points Scored/Game - 40.3 (ranked 2nd)

Defense

  • Passing Yards Allowed/Game - 147.9 (ranked 3rd)
  • Rushing Yards Allowed/Game - 89.2 (ranked 7th)
  • Total Yards Allowed/Game 237.1 (ranked 1st)
  • Sacks/Game - 2.64 (ranked 23rd)
  • Interceptions/Game - 1.43 (ranked 4th)
  • Points Allowed/Game - 11.5 (ranked 2nd)

James Madison

Offense

  • Passing Yards/Game – 230.2 (ranked 41st)
  • Rushing Yards/Game – 201.5 (ranked 19th)
  • Total Yards/Game 431.7 (ranked 21st)
  • Points Scored/Game – 35.9 (ranked 8th)

Defense

  • Passing Yards Allowed/Game – 163.8 (ranked 12th)
  • Rushing Yards Allowed/Game - 87.4 (ranked 6th)
  • Total Yards Allowed/Game 251.1 (ranked 3rd)
  • Sacks/Game – 3.43 (ranked 5th)
  • Interceptions/Game – 2.21 (ranked 1st)
  • Points Allowed/Game – 10.7 (ranked 1st)

If you take a gander at these stats, it immediately becomes apparent why these teams are battling for the national championship. Although both teams are among the best offensively, the team defenses truly shine. However, the Dukes of James Madison are the defending FCS champs and are coming off a 51-16 trouncing of South Dakota State in the semifinals leading up to this meeting with the Bison.

In addition, the Dukes defeated North Dakota State in the semifinals of this tournament last season by the score of 27-17. The college football odds makers are installing the Bison as 4-point neutral-site favorites over the Dukes at most of the major online sportsbooks, and I’m not exactly sure how they arrived at that line. These are teams that are eerily similar with North Dakota State having an edge on the offensive side of things, but James Madison boasts a ball-hawk defense that leads the nation in interceptions, averaging 2.21 per game and points allowed, holding opponents to a click over 10 per game.

The Dukes at +4 sound like terrific value to me. Let’s back the dog in our college football picks and watch James Madison successfully defend its title.

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