James Madison vs Old Dominion Odds, Picks | Low-Scoring Affair Expected
Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Hayden Wolff (Old Dominion)
James Madison vs Old Dominion Odds
James Madison heads to Norfolk to take part in an in-state rivalry game between two new Sun Belt teams.
One team will snap a three-game losing streak in this royal rivalry. Will it be the Dukes, whose dream season has turned into a nightmare due to the oblique injury to star quarterback Todd Centeio? Or will it be the Monarchs, fresh off of getting shut out 12-0 by Marshall?
James Madison is favored by a little more than a touchdown in the game, and at full strength, it's clearly the better side.
Old Dominion is inconsistent week-to-week and reliant on big plays from its two stars, running back Blake Watson and wide receiver Ali Jennings III.
Can Hudson and the home underdogs create enough juice to win or cover against JMU and the Duke Dog?
The Dukes began their first season in FBS football with a five-game winning streak that had neutral observers and partisans alike raising questions about the fairness of the NCAA’s rule that bars transition teams from participating in the postseason.
The Dukes were dominant on defense and transfer quarterback Centeio was distributing the ball to a host of dynamite playmakers.
But it all began to unravel in a shootout loss to Georgia Southern, in which the Eagles' quartet of receivers repeatedly roasted the JMU defense on the perimeter.
Centeio suffered an oblique injury in the week leading up to the Marshall game, and he missed that contest against the Herd.
Backup Billy Atkins struggled mightily in his stead, and the Dukes dropped that game, too.
Centeio played last week against Louisville, and while the team played tough for a half, its limited offense and lack of depth was exposed against a Power Five team.
That was the Dukes' third straight loss
Without Centeio — or with him clearly limited — and against the two best defenses on their schedule in back-to-back weeks, the Dukes' offense has cratered.
Centeio only attempted 15 passes on Saturday in The House That Papa John Built and completed only four of them. He was also not his usual threat on the ground. His dual-threat playmaking will be of the utmost importance for James Madison to win and cover in this matchup.
The struggles in the passing game allowed Marshall and Louisville’s strong defenses to stack the box against running back Percy Agyei-Obese and prevent JMU from taking over the game on the ground.
Even with the struggles in the past two outings, this is still an efficient offense for the Group of Five level, ranking 51st in Success Rate.
The Dukes' offense — after these two miserable showings — has to be hopeful it can come alive this week with better health from Centeio and an easier matchup against an Old Dominion defense that ranks 73rd in SP+.
James Madison still has an incredible defense. This is one of the best front seven looks in college football.
The Dukes put opponents in tough situations by being one of the best at forcing unsuccessful plays. They are first in Success Rate against the rush, 12th in Success Rate against the pass and sixth in creating Havoc.
Unfortunately, this style makes the Dukes vulnerable to big plays, as they rank dead last in FBS in allowing explosive plays.
This will be an interesting matchup against an Old Dominion offense that can not move the chains consistently (126th in Success Rate), but does create big plays (9th in explosives).
The Monarchs have experienced the same “strikes and gutters” season as the Dukes, although on a more week-to-week basis.
They opened the season with an exuberant win over regional rival Virginia Tech at home, but dropped three of their next four, including a winnable game against Virginia.
They looked incredible in a mid-season victory over Coastal Carolina in Myrtle Beach — still the only game the Chanticleers have lost — but have lost three straight to Sun Belt East teams since.
The Monarchs' offense is powered by big plays from their trio of stars, quarterback Hayden Wolff, Watson and Jennings. If a defense is able to limit one or more of them, they can slow down this attack, which ranks 112th in EPA.
Jennings in particular will be critical to this matchup against JMU. Georgia Southern showed that the Dukes are vulnerable to big plays from wide receivers.
I anticipate Watson will have a tough time against this Dukes' front, meaning it’s even more important for the Monarchs to get big plays from their star on the outside.
Jennings has been in a slump, falling from his perch as the leading receiver in FBS, with only seven catches for 54 yards total in the past two weeks. He was averaging 129 per game before this slump, so a return to form will be critical for Old Dominion.
Old Dominion’s defense is average, checking in at 58th in Success Rate and 61st against explosive plays. It will certainly be a welcome reprieve for JMU after the Dukes faced Marshall’s top-15 defense and a Power Five stop unit in back-to-back contests.
But Old Dominion does have one big advantage against the Dukes' offense: Finishing Drives.
Parker Fleming’s ECKEL stat is a measure of how often teams create scoring opportunities (“ECKELs”) and what they do with their chances. James Madison’s offense has struggled to maximize its chances all season, ranking 98th in points per ECKEL.
Old Dominion’s defense is one of the best at “bend but don’t break,” ranking 19th in points per ECKEL.
James Madison vs Old Dominion Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how James Madison and Old Dominion match up statistically:
James Madison Offense vs. Old Dominion Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Old Dominion Offense vs. James Madison Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||117||99|
|Seconds per Play||26.9 (78)||23.8 (19)|
|Rush Rate||.0% ()||41.6% (124)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
James Madison vs Old Dominion Betting Pick
James Madison is a quality outfit, as determined by its season-long advantage in metrics and its status as a favorite in this game. But it's slumping, and there is no guarantee Centeio will be healthy or effective in this game.
This could be a good live play — see how Centeio looks and back the Dukes if they open up the offense and trust him to make tough throws. Without his playmaking, this should be a rock fight like their previous contests.
Old Dominion is at home in this new rivalry series and has matchup advantages with JMU’s struggles to finish drives and with Old Dominion’s ability to hit big plays, particularly with Jennings.
I’ll take the points with the home team in what could be a heated, low-scoring affair. Give me Old Dominion at anything more than a touchdown.