FCS Playoffs Odds & Pick For South Dakota State vs. Delaware: A Parlay For Saturday’s Semifinal
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images. Pictured: Pierre Strong Jr.
- The top-seeded South Dakota State Jackrabbits will host the Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens to kick off FCS semifinal action on Saturday.
- The total for this game is extremely low for a modern college football games, so our betting analyst explains how to bet it with his full breakdown.
- Check out Mike Calabrese's guide below for updated odds and his pick for this semifinal below.
South Dakota State vs. Delaware Odds
|South Dakota State Odds||-8.5|
|Moneyline||-385 / +290|
|Time||Saturday, Noon ET|
If you’re a casual college football fan firing up a betting app this weekend, you may do a triple-take scrolling through the FCS Playoff games on the board.
Why is that?
Well, the total for the semifinal between South Dakota State and Delaware has been set at 38. That was the first-half total for Alabama and Ohio State in the FBS National Championship game.
A number this low conjures images of a mid-2000s AFC North game in December and not a modern college football game. Just when you thought it was safe to rely on tempo, RPOs, aggressive fourth-down tactics and defenses playing for turnovers, you have an absolute throwback of a matchup predicated on elite offensive lines and nasty front sevens.
Surely a fluky turnover or special teams turnover is all it would take to make this an instant sweat for under bettors, but is that a good enough reason to pass on this play or take the over? I’ll examine what we can expect from the Jacks and Blue Hens.
South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Usually when you see a No. 1 next to a college football program, you expect to see a dominant track record and a flurry of statistical accomplishments in its wake. But when it comes to South Dakota State, you're getting more grinders than maulers.
The 7-1 Jacks have won three games by five points or fewer, relying on a stout defense that excels in stopping the run (118 ypg). Interestingly, they’ve suffocated the opposition without blitzing very often or creating many negative yardage plays (59th).
As a result, teams have struggled to create any big plays against SDSU. In their last three games — two in the FCS Playoffs and a third against North Dakota State — the Jacks have surrendered exactly zero carries of 15 yards or more.
Delaware’s star running back and CAA Offensive Player of the Year Dejoun Lee is mired in a slump, gaining just 105 yards and one score in his last three games. Given the shoulder injury to UDel QB Nolan Henderson, it’ll likely be Lee who has to do the heavy lifting against a loaded box on Saturday.
If Henderson is forced to put the ball in the air early and often, that’s great news for under backers. The Jackrabbits' pass defense is a ball-hawking group (third in INTs with 12) and is currently fifth in passing yards allowed per completion.
When SDSU has the ball, it’ll need freshman quarterback Mark Gronowski to play within himself. The first-year starter has been highly efficient both through the air and on the ground, but the SDSU offense will be locking horns with an elite UDel defense.
Delaware leads the FCS in passing yards allowed per attempt (4.85), checks in at second in passing yards allowed per game (108.7) and is tied for fourth in interceptions.
Given the track record when the ball is in the air, I foresee the backfield trio of Gronowski, Pierre Strong and Isaiah Davis toting the rock 30+ times in this one. The Jacks' top three ball carriers have accounted for nearly 1,700 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns in just eight games this season. If there were a Joe Moore Award for offensive line play in FCS, SDSU would be in the running with Wes Genant leading the way.
Bank on a run-heavy diet against the Blue Hens.
Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens
Henderson enters the game banged up, albeit on his non-throwing shoulder.
Live bettors will want to monitor him early on because if he’s unable to mix it up on the ground (7.5 carries per game), that means SDSU will be able to laser in on Lee and Khory Spruill even further.
That's bad news for the Hens because the Jacks have gotten even better in the trenches with the return of Xavier Ward. The quick defensive tackle is collapsing pockets again and has registered a sack and fumble recovery during the playoff run.
Delaware hasn’t turned the ball over much this season, which is a major benefit to consider when targeting an under in this range. My main concern in this spot is actually its special teams, particularly Tyler Pastula. The freshman punter has been blocked three times already, and the Jacks as a special teams unit have already blocked three on the year.
Four of UDel’s seven games this year have come in under 38 points, which indicates its comfort level playing at this pace.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I'm viewing this play as a package deal, with SDSU winning another low-scoring game on its home field.
I’ll be parlaying the SDSU moneyline with the under to flip the juice from -110 on the total to +145.
Delaware’s run has been admirable, but it doesn't have the firepower to beat SDSU on the road in what should be an immensely physical game.
Pick: SDSU ML & Under 38 Parlay at +145 (Play to +125).