Coastal Carolina vs James Madison Odds & Predictions: Target This Total
Eakin Howard/Getty Images. Pictured: James Madison’s Todd Centeio (left) and Kaelon Black (right).
Coastal Carolina vs James Madison Odds
Coastal Carolina heads to Harrisonburg to take on James Madison in a game that will be intriguing and fun to watch, although it carries lower stakes than it might have in another universe …
… a universe where Coastal’s fantastic quarterback, Grayson McCall, had stayed healthy. Or maybe a universe where JMU would be eligible to win the Sun Belt and this game would be for a spot in the title game.
But we live in the real world, and we have to settle for Coastal’s funky and versatile rushing offense — even without its quarterback — taking on the Dukes’ dominant D-line.
We can still enjoy well-traveled JMU quarterback Todd Centeio, who will be playing in his final college game and distributing the ball to his plethora of playmakers.
James Madison sits as a two-touchdown favorite. Should you back the favorites? Or should you side with the Chanticleers as big underdogs?
Jamey Chadwell’s outfit has played three games without Grayson McCall in the past two seasons: twice in 2021 — splitting contests between Georgia State and Georgia Southern — and a close win last time out against Southern Miss.
Chadwell is fortunate to have two longtime backups on his roster. Bryce Carpenter started and took the majority of snaps in the 2021 games, completing 30-of-49 passes for 318 yards in the two games combined. Carpenter is a dangerous and hard-nosed runner but is a severe dropoff from McCall as a passer.
In the game two weeks ago, Chadwell deployed Carpenter strictly in running situations — he only attempted one pass — and started Jarrett Guest, another veteran backup. Guest’s 20 passing attempts against Southern Miss eclipsed the 19 he had scattered over the previous three seasons combined.
Rather than playing things conservatively with Carpenter like in 2021, Chadwell allowed Guest to attack a sturdy Southern Miss defense through the air and utilized Carpenter for the triple option looks the Chanticleers are so famous for. Guest doesn't contribute on the ground, but with an aDot of 15.1 yards and 166 yards on only eight completions, his downfield passing can open things up for the rushing game.
This versatility will be crucial against a James Madison defense that is one of the best in the country against the run and excellent against efficient passing attacks. However, James Madison's defense has been vulnerable to explosive pass plays (128th in explosive pass rate allowed).
Coastal’s defense has been porous through the air all season but has improved against the run. The front seven has been stiffening up in the back half of the year.
While things are trending up for Coastal's front seven, the secondary is still performing like one of the worst in FBS, ranking 97th in Passing EPA allowed.
The list of quality running backs turned away by the Chanticleers keeps growing, but the inverse is true of quarterbacks as several unimpressive passers have had career days against Coastal this season.
The Dukes have had a whirlwind season in their first campaign at the FCS level and are not eligible for postseason play in their transition season.
James Madison has been through it all — blowing out conference foes like Old Dominion and Arkansas State, a pair of comeback wins from 20-point deficits, two tough losses with star quarterback Centeio on the shelf — and now looks to cap the memorable season with a big win over a new conference rival.
Centeio should end his college career on a high note against this forgiving Coastal secondary. He has been incredible this season and his dual-threat abilities are the key ingredient in the JMU offensive recipe.
Centeio has completed 65.1% of his passes for 2,410 yards. He's thrown 21 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He's also chipped in 368 yards and six scores with his legs. Star wide receiver Kris Thornton — 922 yards and seven touchdowns — should have a big day on the business end of Centeio’s offerings.
We already spoke about the Chanticleers' excellent work against running backs recently, which could spell trouble for the Dukes rushing attack, led by Percy Agyei-Obese, who has compiled 829 yards on 5.5 per carry.
JMU’s defense has been excellent against rushing attacks this season, but they continually play in high-scoring games because of their boom-or-bust scheme. The Dukes defense has the most extreme split possible: First in the country in success rate allowed and last in explosiveness allowed.
Coastal Carolina will represent a tough challenge for the Dukes. McCall’s absence will certainly portend a drop in efficiency, but this offense is 17th in the country in explosive play rate. Home-run hitters like running back CJ Beasley and wide receivers Sam Pinckney and Jared Brown will be threats against a JMU team vulnerable to chunk plays.
Coastal Carolina vs James Madison Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Coastal Carolina and James Madison match up statistically:
Coastal Carolina Offense vs. James Madison Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)
James Madison Offense vs. Coastal Carolina Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams
|Seconds per Play
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Coastal Carolina vs James Madison Betting Pick
While the stakes are diminished, both teams have a lot on the line.
This is Senior Day for JMU and the season finale. Coastal can clinch home-field advantage in the Sun Belt championship game with a win, but the victor of this contest will be the “first-place finisher” in the Sun Belt East.
I like JMU to win, but I prefer to bet the over so we can avoid a potential backdoor scenario with a two-touchdown line.
Both offenses will be able to create a considerable amount of big plays in the air, even if their ground games are slowed by the opposition. There's nothing on either team’s defensive resume that suggests they will be able to slow down the big plays.
Chadwell is a great tactician and has had two weeks to prepare his quarterback rotation to maximize their inverse talents. Coastal’s offense won’t be at full strength, but it will still be able to create lightning strikes.
I’ll take the over 53.5 and will play it to 55.
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