(UPDATE) Computer Picks and Spreads: 28 Games Scheduled Friday-Sunday

February 24, 2021 by Staff

After a 20-game schedule last week was reduced 12, mostly due to bad weather, we began Week 3 of the FCS Spring football season with 29 contests on the docket. Turns out the Rhode Island-Bryant game had already been canceled so the slate breaks down to 1 game on Friday, 23 on Saturday, and 4 on Sunday.

A few of the sportsbooks, notably Westgate and Draft Kings, posted odds late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning. The favorite is split down the middle between home and away teams.

You can view the computer's pick of every game, and the odds, here.

Five of the top six teams in this week's Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com will be seeing action this week.

Top-ranked North Dakota State visits No. 29 Southern Illinois. The Bison were 25-7 winners at home over Youngstown State in their opener this past Sunday, while the Salukis committed 5 turnovers in a 44-21 upset loss at the University of North Dakota on Saturday. Southern Illinois was ranked 9th ahead of last weekend's game. North Dakota State is favored by 24.44 (-16.5 odds) to run its winning streak to 40 games.

No. 2 James Madison went out of conference last week for a 52-0 win over Morehead State in Harrisonburg. The Dukes stay home this week to open conference play against No. 10 Robert Morris as a 19.30-point computer pick and 35.5 at Draft Kings..

Third-ranked Illinois State will try for a second time to open its season when the Redbirds host No. 23 South Dakota as a 16.69-point projected winner, but just a 6-point favorite at Draft Kings. Last weekend's scheduled contest at Missouri State was one of those games that was canceled due to the winter weather and was rescheduled for April 17.

No. 4 Monmouth doesn't open its 4-game conference-only slate until March 13th when the Hawks have a Big South encounter at Robert Morris.

Fifth-ranked South Dakota State is a 6.63-point computer choice at No. 13 North Dakota, and a 7.5 sportsbook favorite. While UND was getting that upset win over Southern Illinois last weekend, the Jackrabbits were staging a dramatic 24-20 win at then-No. 3 Northern Iowa by scoring the winning TD with 19 seconds left in the game.

No. 6 Kennesaw State opens play at home against a vastly out-manned D2 opponent as Shorter takes a 4-mile bus drive from Rome, Georgia to take on the Owls as a 40.32-point underdog (no sportsbook line).

Elsewhere, the two FCS newcomers butt heads with each other when Tarleton State hosts Dixie State in Stephenville, Texas as a 3.5-point computer pick and a whopping 28.5-point favorite on the spread. The Texans will return the favor by traveling to St. George, Utah to face the Trailblazers again on March 13. This is the opener for Dixie, but game three for Tarleton (1-1) which routed FBS member New Mexico State on Sunday, a week after blowing a late lead in its opener vs. McNeese State.

No. 17 Nicholls State, an 87-3 winner over Lincoln University of Missouri (D2) last week, will face a bit tougher opponent when Lamar visits on Saturday. The computer favors the two-time defending Southland champion Colonels by 16.64 points over the Cardinals while the opening line has Nicholls by 21.5.

Jackson State also draws a much tougher opponent than last week's debut against NAIA member Edward Waters. Deion Sanders' second game as head coach comes against Mississippi Valley State, the former school of NFL Hall-of-Fame receiver Jerry Rice that lies just 100 miles up the road. This is the season opener for MVSU which the computer lists as a 7.18-point underdog to the homestanding Tigers which is under the 10.5-point line.

9th-ranked Northern Iowa (No. 3 a week ago) will look to rebound from its devastating last-second loss at home to South Dakota State. It won't be particularly easy as the Panthers have to visit Youngstown State. The Penguins stayed well within last week's 25-point spread at North Dakota State this past weekend in that 25-7 loss. Northern Iowa is an 11.41-point computer favorite this week, more than doubling the 5.5-point spread.

No. 11 Weber State opens as a 9.62-point computer pick at No. 51 Idaho State, more than halving the whopping 20.5-point line.

12th-ranked SEMO opens on Sunday at No. 78 Eastern Illinois as a 17.34-point computer favorite over the 14.5-point spread.

The 16th-ranked Wofford Terriers open at the 39th-ranked Chattanooga Mocs as a slim 2.79-point computer choice and a 3-point favorite. Dave Congrove, the owner of CollegeFootballPoll.com and creator of the rankings, had a grandfather who was a captain and star at Wofford in the mid-to-late 1910's. "Plug" Osborne played every position in the backfield for the Terriers, but mostly at fullback despite his 120-pound frame, and rushed for over 100 yards in a 20-0 upset of South Carolina in 1917.

Speaking of Wofford, longtime rival Furman also opens play on Saturday as a 5.85-point road favorite over VMI in the computer rankings which is nearly 18 points under the 23.5-point opening line. The Palladins are ranked 18th.

Now, we just need to keep our fingers and hope the majority of these games get played as their is little opportunity for make-up scheduling before the NCAA playoffs get underway on the weekend of April 24.

For instance, the Rhode Island-Bryant game which was postponed from Saturday due to Covid issues at Bryant, has no common makeup date currerntly available. The teams may still try to make up the contest if another game gets deleted from their schedules.