FCS Playoffs Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions for NDSU-Illinois State


Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Illinois State Redbirds running back James Robinson (25).

Dec 14, 2019, 10:46 AM EST
  • The updated betting odds for Saturday's FCS playoff game between North Dakota State and Illinois State has NDSU as huge favorites (spread: NDSU -24.5) with the over/under at 41.5.
  • Should you expect the Bison to be dominant, or can the Redbirds hang around for a bit to make it a close game?
  • Our college football betting experts break down the matchup and pick out the favorite bets on the board.

Last year, North Dakota State had the best FCS team in the country by a wide margin. And while the Bison are still ranked No. 1 and have won an FCS record 34 straight games (including each this year by double digits), the separation between No. 1 and No. 2 isn’t as large as it was last year as we enter the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs.

James Madison isn’t too far behind in our power ratings. We make them both within a field goal of each other and they are the clear Tier 1 of FCS. Sagarin only has NDSU as four points better on a neutral field.

Someone will have to pull a pretty big upset to prevent a JMU-NDSU national title game.

Those two teams are in a tier by themselves and broadly speaking are about 10-13 points better than the next tier of remaining playoff teams — Montana, Montana State and Weber State.

That then leaves the third tier of teams which you can think of as around 14-17 points worse than the JMU/NDSU Tier 1. That trio consists of Northern Iowa, Illinois State and Austin Peay.

The market isn’t huge for FCS games and limits are significantly lower, but there can be value found at times. It’s also worth noting that teams favored by more than 3 points are 69-53-1 (57%) since 2005 in the FCS playoffs.

Let’s dive into the games.

FCS Playoffs Odds & Picks

Odds as of Friday morning and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.

Illinois State vs. North Dakota State

  • Odds: NDSU -24.5
  • Over/Under: 41.5
  • Time: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN
  • Location: Fargo, N.D.

Travel for FCS teams can be as brutal as a Single A baseball team with a broken greyhound bus.

Illinois State is playing its fourth straight road game, this week in the hostile environment of the Fargo Dome. The Redbirds may not have enough in the tank to pull off the upset, as the team has not had a bye week since Sept. 28. In contrast, North Dakota State had a bye week on Nov. 30.

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