Arkansas State vs JMU Odds, Picks | Saturday College Football Betting Preview

Arkansas State vs JMU Odds, Picks | Saturday College Football Betting Preview article feature image

Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Champ Flemings (Arkansas State)

  • James Madison faces off against Arkansas State in a college football Week 6 night affair.
  • Should we buy into the Red Wolves' defense?
  • Collin Wilson explains why we should, and offers up his best bet.

James Madison vs. Arkansas State Odds

Saturday, Oct. 8
7 p.m. ET
NFL Network
James Madison Odds
-112o / -108u
Arkansas State Odds
-112o / -108u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

James Madison and Arkansas State have over-exceeded expectations this season, with both teams currently unbeaten against the spread.

In Week 6, they will go head-to-head in Jonesboro.

Head coach Curt Cignetti has enjoyed the transition of the Dukes from the FCS to FBS, compiling a 37-5 record since taking over in 2019. No opponent has put up 300 total yards of offense this season, including an Appalachian State team that was scoreless through three quarters.

James Madison is not eligible to play in a bowl this season, but the quest to put the entire Sun Belt Conference on notice continues.

Arkansas State is in the second year of the Butch Jones era, winning just four of 17 since the hire. The Red Wolves have covered all five games this season, winning twice as a favorite and losing three as an underdog.

Long gone is the up-tempo, pass-heavy offense from the Blake Anderson days. The Red Wolves have replaced that attack with a run-first, slower-paced offense.

Covering all five games this season is directly linked to an improved defense.

For the Red Wolves to keep up in the West division, a heavy defensive presence is needed against a steaming James Madison roster.

James Madison Dukes

It can take a number of years for a team to hit a stride after transitioning from FCS to FBS. Coastal Carolina needed three seasons to become bowl eligible, while Liberty fast tracked to the Cure Bowl in its second season.

James Madison is making the move to FBS at warp speed after an undefeated straight up and cover record through September.

The promotion of Bryant Haines to defensive coordinator has paid dividends for the Dukes. The former linebacker coach has two of the best linebackers in the Sun Belt, as Jailin Walker and Taurus Jones have combined for 41 tackles through four games.

Impressive INT by JMU’s Jailin Walker set up the go-ahead TD for the Dukes.

This game >>>

— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) September 24, 2022

James Madison ranks as the top defense overall in Rushing Success Rate, defensive Havoc, Line Yards and Stuff Rate.

No defense gets opposing offenses out of Standard Downs quicker than James Madison — a top overall rank in Standard Downs Success Rate.

The defense has overshadowed a run-heavy offense led by quarterback Todd Centeio.


— The College Football & Basketball Experience (@TCEonSGPN) September 24, 2022

Centeio is the leading rusher for James Madison, racking up 215 yards on designed runs, with nine exceeding 15 yards.

The sixth-year senior is having his best season as a passer after stints at Temple and Colorado State. An 11% Big Time Throw rate is more than double his career average.

Centeio has been fantastic in a crowded pocket, dropping just 7% in adjusted completion percentage on 42 drop backs versus a clean pocket.

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Arkansas State Red Wolves

Rob Harley had the pedigree when taking over defensive coordinator duties for the Red Wolves.

A longtime assistant to Pat Narduzzi at Michigan State and Pitt, Harley moved Arkansas State from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme last season in an effort to take away the run game and get pressure on opposing Sun Belt quarterbacks.

The defense has responded, ranking fifth nationally in tackles for loss with three individual players ranking top-90 in FBS.

The Red Wolves recorded six tackles for loss against the Ohio State offensive line, more than any other Buckeyes opponent.

Another great throw by CJ Stroud but watch Arkansas State edge Kivon Bennett (#5) giving the left tackle trouble 👀

Bennett is on the #ShrineBowl1000 Watchlist

— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) September 10, 2022

James Blackman continues to start at quarterback in his second season on the Jonesboro campus after transferring from Florida State.

The sixth-year senior is having his best season to date, failing to record a Turnover Worthy Play and fumbling just once. In comparison, Blackman has 26 career fumbles and 46 Turnover Worthy Plays from the quarterback position.

The Red Wolves rank 27th in Passing Success Rate, but the run game has been dreadful.

The offensive line ranks 130th in Stuff Rate, failing to create any room on rushing attempts.

Arkansas State has the 17th-highest rate of passing downs, as it depends on wide receiver Champ Flemings and tight end Seydou Traore to move the chains.

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James Madison vs. Arkansas State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how James Madison and Arkansas State match up statistically:

James Madison Offense vs. Arkansas State Defense
Rush Success5981
Line Yards4019
Pass Success4046
Pass Blocking**11043
Finishing Drives38110
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Arkansas State Offense vs. James Madison Defense
Rush Success1101
Line Yards1271
Pass Success272
Pass Blocking**9356
Finishing Drives6745
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling15111
PFF Coverage7973
SP+ Special Teams801
Seconds per Play27.5 (89)27.9 (94)
Rush Rate.0% ()55.4% (53)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

James Madison vs. Arkansas State Betting Pick

Defense will reign supreme when the Dukes and Red Wolves pair up in Week 6.

Arkansas State will have success against James Madison on rushing attempts, as it ranks top-20 in Line Yards. The Red Wolves have been behind the offensive line of every opponent, including Ohio State.

James Madison struggles in pass blocking with a rank of 110th, indicating Arkansas State will continue creating Havoc.

The Action Network projects James Madison as a touchdown favorite with a total of 55.5. While the total is inline with the market, there could be inflation with the Dukes, who have been a favorite of sharp investors week over week.

Arkansas State will be in passing downs often against the James Madison defense, but a poor coverage and pass rush grade from the Dukes may be an advantage for Blackman and his receivers.

Arkansas State also has a hidden advantage away from offense and defense, ranking as the best team in SP+ Special Teams.

Look to buy an Arkansas State defense that made an Ohio State offensive line work. The unit will contain Centeio from generating more explosive plays on the ground.

Pick: Arkansas State +10.5 or Better

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