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James Madison vs. North Dakota State Opening Odds: JMU a Small Favorite in FCS Title Game


Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ezrah Archie

James Madison vs. NDSU Odds

  • Odds: NDSU -1
  • Total: 48
  • Time: 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: ABC
  • Location: Frisco, Texas

[In New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana or West Virginia? Bet JMU vs. NDSU now at FanDuel]

North Dakota State isn’t an underdog often. And the last time it happened, the Bison made everyone pay.

NDSU opened as a dog for Saturday’s FCS national title game against James Madison, but has since flipped to a 1-point favorite. The Bison haven’t caught points since 2016, when they upset Iowa as a two-touchdown underdog.

James Madison enters this game as the No. 2 seed in the FCS playoffs and with one loss (to West Virginia in September).

NDSU has won seven of the last eight FCS national titles, with JMU in 2017 as the only other winner in that time frame.

ESPN’s Bill Connelly made James Madison about 3.7 points better than NDSU on a neutral field before the FCS semifinals, while the Sagarin Ratings make the Bison about 3.8 points better.

Sagarin ranks North Dakota State No. 36 among all Division I football teams, sandwiched between TCU and Tennessee. JMU ranks No. 50 between Nebraska and Louisville. The next closest FCS team is Weber State at No. 91.

North Dakota State boasts an elite offense once again, this time under freshman quarterback Trey Lance. The Bison average an FCS-best 7.4 yards per play, and Lance has not thrown an interception this season while posting 28 touchdowns. He’s also run for 934 yards at 6.7 yards per carry.

While still excellent, the NDSU defense has taken a slight step back in its first year without coach Chris Klieman, who left for Kansas State last offseason. NDSU’s 4.57 yards per play allowed ranks just seventh in FCS.

James Madison also boasts excellent balance, with an offense that ranks No. 18 in yards per play and a defense that ranks No. 3. That offense is led by quarterback Ben DiNucci, a Pitt transfer who is averaging 9.4 yards per attempt with a 27-5 touchdown to interception ratio.

Read our full coverage of this game here.

[In New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana or West Virginia? Bet JMU vs. NDSU now at FanDuel]

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