Friday College Football Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions for North Dakota vs. Utah State (Sept. 10)
Chris Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Savin Scarver.
- Utah State hosts North Dakota of the FCS in a Friday night college football matchup on Sept. 10 at 9 p.m. ET.
- College football betting analyst Kyle Remillard breaks down the matchup, including why he’s backing Utah State to cover and win against an upstart North Dakota squad.
- Below, check out our full college football betting preview for North Dakota vs. Utah State with odds, picks, and predictions for the game.
North Dakota vs. Utah State Odds
|North Dakota Odds|
-110o / -110u
|Utah State Odds|
-110o / -110u
Utah State looks to avoid a letdown game against North Dakota after its first road victory over a Power Five program in nearly 50 years.
The Aggies upset Washington State as 17.5-point underdogs in their season opener, as quarterback Logan Bonner tossed a seven-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds remaining to secure the 26-23 victory.
The Fighting Hawks finished 4-1 in their first season in the Missouri Valley Conference during the spring and found their first Division I playoff win.
North Dakota won and covered as 10.5-point favorites in Week 1, beating Idaho State, 35-14.
It was a historic opening week that saw six FCS teams upset FBS teams. The Aggies need to avoid overlooking their opponent, or they could be added to the list.
North Dakota was successful in its first season in the Missouri Valley Football Conference after two seasons as an FCS Independent.
It finished 5-2 with two losses coming to FCS powerhouses North Dakota State and James Madison.
The Fighting Hawks are a talented bunch that boasts eight players on the MVFC preseason first or second team.
Fighting Hawks Offense
North Dakota owns a well-balanced offense that kept the ball on the ground 55% of the time, accounting for 47% of the total offensive yards.
In Week 1, we saw that number fluctuate, as they ran the ball on 71% of the plays. But they had success throwing the ball, averaging 10.2 yards per pass attempt in that game.
Tommy Schuster tossed 10 touchdowns and five interceptions last season, averaging 7.2 yards per pass attempt. He was efficient against Idaho State, completing 10-of-18 passes for 183 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Otis Weah is the workhorse for the Fighting Hawks. He punched in three touchdowns after amassing 114 yards on the ground on his 22 carries Week 1.
He will have a tougher challenge against a Utah State rush defense that has looked stout thus far.
Fighting Hawks Defense
The North Dakota defense took a step back from a normally reliable defense last season.
It has relied on turnovers to be successful, forcing 15 in its seven games in the spring. The trend continued in Week 1 against Idaho State, when they forced three interceptions.
The Fighting Hawks stabilized the passing attack of Idaho State, allowing only 5.3 yards per attempt on 43 pass attempts.
But Idaho State moved the chains consistently and tallied four more first downs than North Dakota.
Utah State has already tied its season win total from 2020 after one game.
Rest assured, this is a different program from last season.
Blake Anderson came over from Arkansas State and brought some of the top talent from that program with him. Among that group is quarterback Bonner, who produced two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter, including the game-winner.
In 2020 Utah State averaged 4.8 yards per pass attempt and 4.4 yards per rush. It ranked 124th in the country, averaging just 15.5 points per game.
If Week 1 told us anything, it’s that this offense has evolved under Anderson.
Anderson played both incumbent starting quarterback Andrew Peasley, along with Bonner from Arkansas State.
Peasley passed for 76 yards on his 12 attempts and added 43 yards on the ground on four carries. It was Bonner who stole the show in the fourth quarter, though, leading the offense to two touchdown drives. He was the more efficient of the two, averaging 6.0 yards per pass attempt on his 24 passes.
It looks like the Aggies will continue with that strategy against North Dakota, but expect Bonner to be the guy if things remain tight in this game.
Deven Thompkins was the go-to receiver who brought in eight catches for 94 yards, including the game-winner.
Utah State saw three players rack up double-digit carries against Washington State. The team rushed 46 times for 222 yards, good for an average of 4.8 yards per carry.
The group could be in store for a big game, as its offensive line will have a big size advantage over North Dakota’s front.
This defense was one of the worst units in the country in 2020, allowing 35 points and 485 yards per game. The group ranked 118th in Defensive Points per Drive and 119th in Defensive Touchdown Rate.
It returns the top nine tacklers and adds linebacker Justin Rice, who was the leading tackler for Arkansas State last season.
Utah State showed instant improvement in Week 1, slowing down the Washington State Run-and-Shoot offense. The Aggies allowed just 360 total yards of offense and held strong on third down, allowing the Cougars to convert on just 27% of their third-down attempts.
They should be able to mimic that performance against this North Dakota offense.
North Dakota vs. Utah State Betting Pick
Utah State fired its head coach, dismissed its starting quarterback, and finished 1-5 last season. But it never stopped competing.
Now enter Anderson, who brings a resurgence to the program along with the key pieces that the 2020 team was missing.
The Aggies are oozing with confidence after a Power Five win. They will avoid taking a step back as the seventh FBS team to lose to an FCS program this year. Utah State will gain an additional boost from the crowd — which will be dressed for a white-out — in the home opener.
This game will be won in the trenches. The Aggies offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage against Washington State, and they will have no issues opening holes against North Dakota.
The defensive line will mimic last week’s performance, constantly pressuring Schuster.
This is a different Utah State program than we saw in 2020, and it’s still being undervalued by the market.