Saturday FCS Playoffs College Football Odds & Picks for Sam Houston St. vs. Monmouth (April 24)

Saturday FCS Playoffs College Football Odds & Picks for Sam Houston St. vs. Monmouth (April 24) article feature image
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Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jeremiah Briscoe.

  • The Sam Houston Wildkats and the Monmouth Hawks will kick off the FCS Playoffs in Texas on Saturday.
  • Both teams have powerful offenses, so they certainly have the potential to blow past the total set at 60.5.
  • Darin Gardner thinks that will happen, and he explains why in his full breakdown below.

Sam Houston State vs. Monmouth Odds

Sam Houston Odds -9.5
Monmouth Odds +9.5
Moneyline -340 / +280
Over/Under 60.5
Time Saturday, Noon ET
TV ESPN3
Odds as of early Friday morning and via William Hill.

The FCS Playoffs get underway with two of the most potent offenses of the spring season. Sam Houston (6-0) enters the game as the No. 2 seed in the tournament and will be facing an undefeated opponent in Monmouth (3-0).

Both teams have won often, and it has come in convincing fashion.

Sam Houston’s average margin of victory is 27.3 points per game, and Monmouth has outscored its opponents by an average of 24 points in its three games thus far. Both teams rank in the top-four in net yards per play as well, which is the offense’s yards per play subtracted by yards per play allowed on defense.

This will be a big test for two teams that have looked dominant throughout the season. If the offenses are able to sustain their elite level of play, we should be in for an exciting tournament opener.

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Sam Houston Bearkats

Offense

The Bearkats have had some offensive performances this spring that would make Alabama jealous.

In Game 2, Sam Houston ran up 71 points on Nicholls and followed that up with a 62-point performance a week later. Its 44.8 points per game ranks third nationally. In addition to that, the offense also ranks first in yards per play (7.17), third in points per play, and fifth in touchdown rate.

Its passing attack has been the backbone of the offense, led by the Southland Conference’s Spring Player of the year in quarterback Eric Schmid. His 10.11 yards per attempt easily ranks first in the nation at the position.

If this offense has one weakness, it’s allowing defenses to disrupt it. The Bearkats rank in the middle of the pack in terms of Havoc allowed, sitting at 46th. Monmouth will need to take advantage of that if it wants to pull off the upset.

Defense

Sam Houston’s offense isn’t the only reason why it’s beating its opponents by nearly four touchdowns per game.

After allowing 38 points in the season opener, it did not allow more than 17 points to any of its next five opponents.

Even though the Bearkats have often played with massive leads, the defense still ranks sixth in points per play allowed, 10th in touchdown rate, and 11th in points per game.

The run defense has been especially dominant, ranking fourth nationally with only 1.68 yards per rush allowed.

One area where the Sam Houston defense can be exposed to some degree is in coverage. The Bearkats rank only 44th in yards per pass attempt allowed and rank 87th out of 97 teams in interception rate. Monmouth and its strong passing game could find some success on Sam Houston through the air. 

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Monmouth Hawks

Offense

Sam Houston’s offense will likely be the headliner for this game, but Monmouth is capable of fireworks in its own right.

It has been efficient through the air and on the ground in its three games thus far. The Hawks have a passing offense led by quarterback Tony Muskett, who ranks fifth in the nation in yards per pass attempt.

Receiver Terrance Greene also ranks fifth nationally in receiving yards per game and has caught a touchdown in all three games this season.

The passing game is complemented by a rushing attack that ranks eighth in yards per rush. In total, the Hawks’ offense ranks in the top five in yards per play, points per play, and touchdown rate.

Holding on to the ball has also been a strength. Monmouth has not thrown an interception so far this season and ranks fourth in Havoc rate allowed.

Defense

Monmouth’s defensive metrics look good on the surface, but two of its three opponents averaged fewer than five yards per play on offense this season. That does not necessarily mean we should write off the Monmouth defense, however.

It ranks in the top 10 in points per play and first down rate, and the rush defense has suffocated opponents to 2.46 yards per rush, which ranks eighth.

The defense has been susceptible to the pass, however. Monmouth ranks 36th in yards per pass, and 44th in completion percentage allowed. Sam Houston has been lethal through the air all year, and Monmouth may have a hard time slowing the Bearkats down. 

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Betting Analysis & Pick

It’s hard to really nail down these teams based on the volatility of this season, but I do feel relatively confident in both offenses. That has me looking at the total.

One thing that sticks out about Sam Houston is that it still ranks 17th nationally in plays per game despite playing in so many blowouts.

Both teams will likely be incentivized to lean on the passing game because that’s where each defense is most vulnerable, and each offense has been incredibly efficient through the air.

I wouldn’t go crazy on this, but I do think there’s some value on the over with the total. With two offenses that each average more than 40 points per game, I like this game to go over the current total of 60.5.

I probably wouldn’t talk you out of Monmouth +10, either, if you felt inclined to go that route.

Pick: Over 60.5.

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