South Dakota State vs. North Dakota State Odds & Picks: Bet This FCS Underdog
Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Hunter Luepke (South Dakota State)
- The South Dakota State Jackrabbits take on the North Dakota State Bison in an FCS showdown on Saturday afternoon.
- The Bison enter as three-point favorites, according to updated odds, but we see betting value on the other side.
- Check out Alex Hinton's full betting preview and pick for the Dakota Marker below.
South Dakota State vs. North Dakota State Odds
|South Dakota State Odds|
-110o / -110u
|North Dakota State Odds|
-110o / -110u
Last week, South Dakota State spotted South Dakota an early field goal before scoring the final 28 points of the game. The Jackrabbits improved to 5-1 and maintained their No. 2 ranking in the Stats Perform media poll.
South Dakota State took down one rival last week and will face another this week when it visits North Dakota State.
However, the stakes are much higher this week.
North Dakota State survived a scare from Indiana State last week, but pulled out a 31-26 win. It also improved to 5-1 and set up a matchup of the top two teams in the FCS.
This will be the 113th meeting in series history, with NDSU holding a 63-44-5 lead.
This will also be the 19th meeting in which the teams have played for the Dakota Marker Trophy. North Dakota State leads 10-8 in those matchups, but South Dakota State has won the past two.
This year's matchup will feature two of the best running teams in the country. Could a running clock lead to the game going under?
South Dakota State has a balanced offensive attack, averaging 186.5 yards through the air and 165.2 on the ground.
Quarterback Mark Gronowski is completing 59.1% of his passes and has 10 touchdown passes against only three interceptions.
Running back Isaiah Davis leads the team with 626 rushing yards and five touchdowns. He ranks sixth in the FCS in rushing yards. He is on the watch list for the Walter Payton Award, which is given to the top offensive player in the FCS.
Twins Jaxon and Jadon Janke are the Jackrabbits' leading receivers. Jaxon has 26 receptions for 334 yards and four touchdowns. Jadon has 19 receptions for 258 yards and three touchdowns.
Tight end Zach Heins has 14 catches for 201 yards and two touchdowns.
On defense, the Jackrabbits are led by linebacker Adam Bock and defensive tackle Caleb Sanders. Bock leads the team with 50 tackles and has 4.5 tackles for loss to go along with three sacks. Sanders has two tackles for loss, a sack and he anchors one of the best run defenses in the FCS.
South Dakota State has held each of its first six opponents under 100 rushing yards. It is third in the FCS in rushing yards, allowing 57.5 per game on 2.1 yards per carry.
Stopping the run will be key to pulling out a victory over North Dakota State.
South Dakota is third in total defense, only surrendering 228 yards per game. It also is tied for 21st in the FCS in sacks with 16 overall and 14 in the past three games.
The Jackrabbits are tied for 10th in the FCS in takeaways with 12 — eight interceptions and four fumbles — and are +6 in turnover margin.
North Dakota State is the No. 1 team in the FCS behind one of the strongest rushing attacks in the country. The Bison rank third in the FCS with 266.8 rushing yards per game and fifth with 19 rushing touchdowns.
Fullback Hunter Luepke leads the way with 480 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. He ranks seventh in the FCS in rushing touchdowns and when you add his two receiving touchdowns, he ranks fourth in the FCS in total touchdowns.
He also is tied for the team lead with 11 receptions for 135 yards.
Luepke is a load to bring down at 6-foot-1, 236 pounds, and he is joined by TaMerik Williams (6-foot-1, 229 pounds) in the backfield.
Williams is coming off of a career day against Indiana State, as he amassed 145 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries. He broke off runs of 16, 27 and 38 yards and is averaging nine yards per carry this season.
Quarterback Cam Miller isn't asked to do much, but he is efficient. He is completing 69% of his passes and he has six touchdown passes against just one interception.
His top target is receiver Zach Mathis, who has 11 receptions for 213 yards and three touchdowns. Mathis is also coming off of a career day, as he had five receptions for 86 yards last week.
North Dakota State has one of the best rushing attacks in the country, but has uncharacteristically been unable to stop the run. North Dakota State is tied for 59th in the FCS with 148.7 rushing yards allowed per game, the most it has allowed since 2010.
The Bison have allowed every opponent to run for over 100 yards this season. How NDSU handles the Jackrabbits' rushing attack will be key in deciding this game.
Linebacker James Kaczor leads the team with 38 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
Defensive end Spencer Waege leads the team with 3.5 sacks in the first extensive playing time of his career.
North Dakota State has 15 sacks as a team and is tied for the 27th in the FCS.
South Dakota State vs. North Dakota State Betting Pick
This game will be won in the trenches with two of the most physical teams in the FCS going head-to-head.
South Dakota State and North Dakota State both want to run the ball, which means the clock will be constantly running early and often.
Considering the Jackrabbits' defense and their propensity for turnovers, I'm taking the underdog in this FCS showdown.