North Dakota vs James Madison Odds, Spread and Picks – FCS Quarterfinal

  • James Madison is a 2.5-point favorite over North Dakota on Sunday (May 2, 6 pm ET) in FCS Quarterfinal action
  • The Dukes rank first in total defense, and second against the run
  • See below for analysis, odds and a betting prediction

The FCS playoffs have reached the quarterfinal stage, and arguably the best game on this weekend’s slate features North Dakota visiting James Madison on Sunday (May 2nd, 6 pm ET). Both programs were impressive in the opening round of the playoffs, with the Fighting Hawks reeling off their most lopsided win of the season.

North Dakota vs James Madison Odds

Team Spread Moneyline at DraftKings Total
North Dakota Fighting Hawks +2.5 (-110) +106 Over 53.0 (-109)
James Madison Dukes -2.5 (-110) -129 Under 53.0 (-112)

Odds as of April  28th. 

Despite the blowout victory, North Dakota still opened up as a 2.5-point underdog on the road. Their 44-10 rout of Missouri State last week was even more impressive when you consider they hadn’t played in over a month.

North Dakota Mashes Missouri State

Each of the Fighting Hawks’ last four regular season outings were cancelled due to COVID, but the team showed no rust against the Bears. Tommy Schuster completed 72% of his passes for 223 yards, tossing 2 touchdowns along the way.

Otis Weah and Creighton Mitchell each rushed for a score, while Bo Belquist hauled in four catches and a TD before leaving with a broken leg. Belquist’s injury will now put even more pressure on leading receive Garrett Maag, who caught a touchdown of his own last week.

Defensively, UND held Missouri State to just 190 total yards, limiting them to 3.1 yards per pass, and 2.7 yards per carry. That unit will face arguably its toughest test of the season against James Madison, who’ve been running all over the opposition all season.

Dukes Outlast VMI

The Dukes rushed for 309 yards against VMI last week, with both Jawon Hamilton and Percy Agyei-Obese eclipsing the 100-yard mark. Hamilton ignited the offense with a 99-yard run in the opening quarter, and finished with 171 yards on the afternoon.

James Madison racked up 513 total yards, and the final score of 31-24 is a tad misleading. The Dukes held a two score lead for virtually the entire second half, before the Keydets scored a meaningless touchdown with 9 seconds left. JMU did allow a season-high 403 yards, but 130 of those yards came late with the game well in hand, and they still forced three turnovers.

The Dukes currently have the third shortest odds to win the FCS Championship, and there’s a strong argument to be made that they should be the favorites.

JMU Moves On

James Madison enters the quarters with a perfect 6-0 record, and some of the most impressive team stats of any of the final eight programs still standing. They rank first in total defense, second in rush defense, and fourth versus the pass. They’ve held all but one opponent below 18 points, and boast the personnel to beat up UND, just like North Dakota State did.

The Fighting Hawks’ lone loss came to the Bison, in a game where they were punished on the ground. North Dakota gave up 316 rushing yards to its state rival, and the Dukes’ run game is even more powerful than NDSU’s. James Madison ranks fourth in rushing offense, averaging 247.5 yards on the ground per game, and eighth in time of possession.

Expect the Dukes to control the clock by pounding the rock, while forcing the Fighting Hawks to play catch up, something they are not accustom to doing.

Pick: James Madison Dukes -2.5 (-110)


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