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James Madison vs Louisville Odds, Predictions: A Bet to Make for Saturday

James Madison vs Louisville Odds, Predictions: A Bet to Make for Saturday article feature image
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Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images. Pictured: Louisville’s Duane Martin (left) and Malik Cunningham (right).

James Madison vs Louisville Odds

Saturday, Nov. 5
7:30 p.m. ET
ESPNU
James Madison Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+6.5
-102
52.5
-110o / -110u
+220
Louisville Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-6.5
-120
52.5
-110o / -110u
-275
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

James Madison’s first season as an FBS team has gone relatively well, as it sits 5-2 overall and 3-2 in the Sun Belt. However, JMU has lost its last two games to Georgia Southern and Marshall.

After a bye week, the Dukes will head to Louisville to close out their nonconference schedule.

Louisville is flying high after thumping Wake Forest, 48-21, last week. The Cardinals used six Wake Forest turnovers in the third quarter to fuel a 35-point frame and pull away for the victory. Louisville comes into this week riding a three-game winning streak and has won four of its last five games, sitting at 5-3 overall and 3-3 in ACC play.

This will be the first-ever matchup between these schools, and it will feature two very capable offenses. Could that lead to a lot of points on the board?


James Madison Dukes

James Madison is led by quarterback Todd Centeio. He bounced around a bit with previous stops at Temple and Colorado State, but the sixth-year grad transfer has a found a home and is lighting it up this season.

He’s thrown for 1,780 yards, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 64% of his passes. He also has added 333 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

Centeio missed the Marshall game after suffering an oblique injury in practice. Head coach Curt Cignetti opted to hold him out, and he will be a game-time decision against Louisville.

If Centeio is out, that’s big loss for JMU’s offense. With him in the lineup, the Dukes average 44.3 points per game. But when he was out against Marshall, the Dukes scored 12 points — none after the first quarter — and mustered just 247 yards of total offense.

James Madison has produced a balanced offense this season. It ranks 35th in Rushing Success Rate and 38th in Passing Success Rate.

Running back Percy Agyei-Obese leads the team with 556 rushing yards and four touchdowns on six yards per carry. Wide receiver Kris Thornton is a big play waiting to happen, as he’s caught 41 passes for 689 (16.8 avg.) and five touchdowns. He was named as an honorable mention on Pro Football Network’s midseason All-American team.

James Madison may struggle against Louisville’s pass rush this week. The Dukes rank 116th in pass-blocking grade and 61st in Havoc Allowed. Louisville’s defense sits at eighth in both areas.

On other side of the ball, James Madison’s defense has been excellent this season. It leads the country in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and Line Yards while ranking sixth in Passing Success Rate Allowed and second in Havoc. It’s also 25th in scoring at 20.9 points allowed per game.

Linebacker Jailin Walker joined Thornton as an honorable mention on PFN’s midseason All-American team. He has 42 tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack and two interceptions this season. He will be asked to lead the charge in slowing down a potent Louisville offense.

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While JMU has a talented dual-threat quarterback on its side, Malik Cunningham is the one who has made waves at the Power Five level. He has accounted for over 12,000 yards and 100 total touchdowns in his career.

This season, he has thrown for 1,254 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions while running for 541 yards and 11 score. He ranks 32nd nationally in QBR.

Cunningham leads a Louisville offense that averages nearly 200 yards both through the air and on the ground (221 passing, 197 rushing). The Cardinals rank 65th in scoring offense at 29.8 points per game, but it has gotten better production at home. In four home games, it’s averaging 36 points per game.

Running back Tiyon Evans missed three games, but he returned with a bang against Wake Forest. He ran 106 yards on 11 carries and posted a 52-yard touchdown run. Evans has run for 369 yards and four touchdowns on 5.8 yards per carry in five games.

Running the ball against James Madison won’t be easy, though, as the Dukes allow just 55.6 rushing yards per game. However, Cunningham, Evans and Louisville’s RPO action will present a challenge for JMU as well.

Tyler Hudson leads the Cardinals with 40 receptions for 560 yards but is still looking for his first touchdown.

Tight end Marshon Ford has two touchdowns among his 21 receptions and adds a big-play element to the offense as well from the tight end position. He’s shown that by recording a 25-yard reception in each of the last three games.

Louisville’s defense has excelled at forcing turnovers this season. It has at least three takeaways in five straight games and converted three of them into defensive touchdowns. The Cardinals lead the FBS with 24 turnovers forced and rank fourth in turnover margin. Five different Cardinals have two interceptions.

Louisville also leads the FBS with 33 sacks. Defensive end YaYa Diaby leads the team with 6.5 sacks, while linebackers Yasir Abdullah and Monty Montgomery and defensive end Ashton Gillotte all have at least four sacks.

Louisville’s ability to generate big plays in key moments has played a role in the Cards ranking fourth in Finishing Drives and keeping opponents out of the end zone.


James Madison vs Louisville Matchup Analysis

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

James Madison Offense vs. Louisville Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 35 69
Line Yards 35 34
Pass Success 38 40
Pass Blocking** 116 8
Havoc 61 8
Finishing Drives 43 4
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Louisville Offense vs. James Madison Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 82 1
Line Yards 45 1
Pass Success 74 6
Pass Blocking** 17 45
Havoc 40 2
Finishing Drives 58 45
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 17 123
PFF Coverage 67 85
SP+ Special Teams 117 31
Seconds per Play 26.2 (60) 26.1 (59)
Rush Rate .0% () 57.5% (39)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

James Madison vs Louisville Betting Pick

Centeio’s injury status is key to the handicap here. If he plays, I like the over. Louisville averages 36 points per game at home, and JMU averages 44 per game when Centeio is in the lineup. Here, we would only need 53 points.

Additionally, the over has hit in each of JMU’s last road games and five of its last six games overall.

If Centeio is ruled out, I would pivot to taking Louisville to cover. The line is currently 7.5 points, but I would expect it to move in Louisville’s direction if he’s out. I would be comfortable taking it up to -13.5 if Centeio doesn’t play.

James Madison lost to Marshall by 14 at home without him. Beating Louisville on the road with a backup quarterback would be a difficult challenge.

Pick: Over 52.5 (If Centeio Plays) · Louisville -13 or Better (If Centeio is Out)

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