FCS Line Movements

April 28, 2021 by Staff

Since openings were posted on Monday, most of the sportsbook lines for this weekend's games have seen only modest movement.

For the SWAC Championship on Saturday, Alabama A&M has doubled from a 1.5-point favorite to 3. The Bulldogs (3-0) are facing the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions (4-0) in Jackson, Mississippi. The over/under has increased from 60 to 61 points. The game will be broadcast at 3:00 p.m. EDT on ESPN-2.

All four FCS quarterfinal games will be played on Sunday.

The matchup of Delaware at Jacksonville State (3 p.m. EDT on ESPN-3) has seen the homestanding Gamecocks move from a 1.5-point play to a 3.5-point favorite. Also noteworthy is that the over/under has fallen from 43 to 41.5 points. Jacksonville State, the 4-seed in the playoffs, was one of few teams that didn't have a single game affected by Covid and managed to play on each of 7 consecutive weekends while putting together a 6-1 spring record to go along with a 3-1 campaign in the fall. Including last week's opening round 49-14 demolition of Davidson, the Gamecocks are now 10-2 for the 2020 season. Delaware had two games dropped from a 7-game schedule, New Hampshire and Albany, but the 5-0 Blue Hens weren't the reason for those games being scratched. Both the Wildcats (on April 6) and Great Danes (on March 31) announced they were opting out of the remainder of the spring season. New Hampshire only managed to play single game while Albany completed four contests.

The 2-point opening line favoring James Madison at home over North Dakota (6 p.m. EDT on ESPN-2) has ticked up a half-point. It's somewhat surprising that the line hasn't moved more since the Dukes are favored by a hefty 18.63 in the Congrove Computer Rankings. JMU, the No. 3 seed, is 6-0 while the Fighting Hawks invade Harrisonburg, Virginia with a 5-1 record. North Dakota's only loss was a 34-13 blowout at North Dakota State on March 20.

Speaking of North Dakota State, the Bison have two losses in the same season for the first time since 2016. NDSU, now 7-2, was blitzed 38-14 at Southern Illinois on February 27 and also lost its regular season finale to South Dakota State, 27-17, on April 17. But the Bison come into this week's game at unbeaten Sam Houston State (7-0) fresh off a 42-20 rout of Eastern Washington. The sportsbooks largely had North Dakota State favored by 4 in that game while the computer put the Bison advantage at 37.55, The computer easily won that contest ATS and it once again has North Dakota State has a much larger favorite (-28.35) than the oddsmakers which set the line at minus-2.5 and have since seen it move marginally upward to minus-3 over the No. 2 seed Bearkats. This game will be broadcast at 3 p.m. EDT on ESPN.

South Dakota State, the 1-seed, is given just a 9.59-pooint advantage by the computer which is well under the 15-point opening line and the current spreads that range from 14.5 to 15.5. The undefeated Jackrabbits (6-1) are hosting a Southern Illinois squad that is 6-3 but lost 44-3 this same team on March 20 in Carbondale. The Sioux Falls newspaper, the Argus Leader, appropriately labeled this game as "a rematch of a mismatch". The game will air on ESPN at 9:00 p.m. EDT.

The winners of this week's game will advance will advance to the quarterfinals with the SDSU-SIU winner facing the JSU-Delaware winner, and the UND-JMU victor taking on the NDSU-SHSU survivor.