FCS College Football Odds & Picks: Saturday Bets for East Tennessee State vs. Chattanooga, Columbia vs. Princeton
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- Another college football Saturday is upon us, and there are plenty of intriguing matchups on the docket in the FCS ranks.
- Keg breaks down three bets for East Tennessee vs. Chattanooga, Columbia vs. Princeton and NC Central vs. Campbell.
- Check out all three FCS bets for Saturday below.
Week Five of the FCS season presents another stacked schedule with some key games that will weigh heavily in regards to conference championships.
Last week, we saw a few shake ups in the top 25, but none as noticeable as Incarnate Word’s fall from fourth to 11th after a down-to-the-wire loss against Southeast Louisiana.
Check out my FCS futures piece on why I think not all hope is lost for the Cardinals just yet, and how that loss may be a rare opportunity for bettors at this point in the season.
Saturday FCS Week 5 College Football Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football staff is targeting from today's slate of games. Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
NC Central vs. Campbell
On Saturday, the FCS slate kicks off with the best offensive team from the MEAC squaring off against the second-best defense from the Big South.
The NC Central Eagles head to Campbell with the longest active win streak (7) in FCS dating back to last season. The Eagles also have one of the most productive offenses in the entire FCS.
North Carolina Central leads the MEAC and ranks fifth in the FCS in scoring, tallying up 24 touchdowns on the season while averaging 43.3 points per game.
The Eagles are strongest in the run game, as quarterback Davius Richard is second in the MEAC and 60th in the FBS in rushing yards. Running back Latrell Collier isn't far behind, ranking third in the MEAC and 73rd in the FCS, respectively.
No team in the FCS is better than the Eagles when it comes to third-down conversion percentage, as they’re converting 67.3% of all attempts.
Now matched up against a Campbell defense — which is allowing 242.7 rush yards per game, 5.5 yards per carry and is stopping just 41.7% of third downs attempts — I expect the Eagles’ offense to flow with ease against this Camels defense.
Campbell ranks 52nd in passing offense and is 50th when it comes to rushing offense. It does come into this game off of a bye week, but prior to that, quarterback Hajj-Malik Williams had the best game of his career.
Against ECU, Williams completed 60.5% of passes for 300 yards, However, it didn't mean much in the Fighting Camels’ 49-10 loss to the Pirates.
Both of these teams have really yet to be tested this season, but with how much the Fighting Camels struggle against the run, I feel confident backing the Eagles here.
Pick: NC Central +7 or better
Princeton vs. Columbia
Columbia being 2-0 on the season doesn't truly tell you how good this Lions team has been.
The Lions have outscored their first two opponents 80-9. They rank 11th in FCS scoring offense and are a top-15 rushing offense, as well as a top-50 passing defense.
Their defense leads the FCS in scoring defense while ranking second in rushing defense.
Now, I do want to point out these stats and rankings are somewhat inflated due to Columbia taking on Marist and Georgetown. But not as much as one might think, as Georgetown beat Marist, 43-12.
The Lions have not beaten the Princeton Tigers since 2017. The Tigers have also not lost a game in September or October since 2017.
On the defensive side of the ball is where I think Columbia can make a difference, the Tigers have struggled to protect their quarterback and are tied for last when it comes to sacks given up this season.
Columbia also ranks second in the conference when it comes to defensive efficiency.
I'm backing the Lions here to end their losing streak against Princeton and get the win at home to start their Ivy League play.
Pick: Columbia ML
Chattanooga vs. East Tennessee State
This is a very strong contender for the best game of the week, as the Chattanooga Mocs make the trip up to Johnson City to square off against the ETSU Bucs for the 45th meeting of the Rail Rivalry.
Chattanooga leads the all-time series 24-19-1 and currently boasts a two-game win streak. However, the Mocs have not won in Johnson City since 2016 and all-time, they are just 8-11-1 on the road.
ETSU enters this game at 2-2 on the season, having already suffered losses to Furman and The Citadel.
The Bucs are reigning SoCon champions, but if they want any chance of getting back to that championship game, this feels like a must win.
Unfortunately for them, Chattanooga has been outstanding on both sides of the ball.
Eastern Michigan transfer quarterback Preston Hutchinson leads the Mocs’ offense by racking up 801 yards on five touchdowns to start the season.
His top target, Ailym Ford, is one of the best receivers in all of FCS, having racked up 418 yards on four touchdowns in just four games. He also averages 21.8 yards per catch.
On the defensive side of the ball, Chattanooga is ranked behind ETSU, which comes in at ninth in scoring defense while the Mocs are 12th.
However, Chattanooga is better when it comes to limiting the run, allowing just 100.2 yards per game. Also, the Mocs have yet to allow a single point in the fourth quarter.
These are without a doubt the two best teams in the Southern Conference, but I think the Mocs are the better squad. And after failing to score a single point in a blowout loss to Illinois, I think the Mocs bounce back in a big way on the road this week.
I was able to get the Mocs as a 3-point favorite here, but I wouldn't take them any higher than that. The last four meetings between these two teams have been decided by seven points or less.