Sam Houston State head coach K.C. Keeler and team sing the school fight song after an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in Huntsville, Texas. Sam Houston State defeated Incarnate Word 57-20. (AP Photo/Joe Buvid)
- The 2021 FCS Spring Football playoff quarterfinals kick off on Sunday, May 2nd
- North Dakota State is listed as road favorites at Sam Houston State in the headlining game
- Read below for the best ATS picks for the FCS playoff quarterfinals
There are eight FCS teams remaining in the quest for a national championship in 2021. The FCS spring football playoff quarterfinals will be played on Sunday, May 2nd and feature several matchups with strong betting value.
North Dakota State will continue its quest for a fourth straight title against Sam Houston State, while North Dakota aims to play spoiler to JMU. Earlier in the day, Jacksonville State host Delaware as small home favorites.
Here are three ATS picks to consider for the FCS playoff quarterfinals.
Delaware vs Jacksonville State Odds
|Delaware||+3.5 (-112)||+128||O 41.5 (-109)|
|Jacksonville State||-3.5 (-109)||-155||U 41.5 (-112)|
All odds as of April 28th at DraftKings
Webb Leads JSU Past Delaware
Jacksonville State will look to hand Delaware its first loss of the season and advance to the semifinals when they host the Blue Hens on Sunday. The Gamecocks are 10-2 on the year and coming off a commanding 49-14 win over Davidson in which they exploded for three touchdowns in a seven-minute span during the second quarter.
John Grass’ team has a well-balanced offense that should be the difference against a very stout Delaware defense. The Blue Hens gave up just 87 passing yards in a 19-10 victory over Sacred Heart last weekend and haven’t allowed more than 21 points to any opponent this season. Zion Webb and JSU will provide their toughest test yet.
Round 2 awaits⏰…#StayCocky #FearTheBeak pic.twitter.com/BW3bBcP1ss
— Jacksonville State Football (@JSUGamecocksFB) April 27, 2021
This game has all the makings of a defensive battle, which gives the advantage to the team with the more explosive offense. JSU out-gained Davidson 461-261 last weekend despite only having possession for 18 minutes. Delaware also lost the possession battle in their playoff opener, but they were out-gained 236-199 by the Pioneers and went 2-of-13 on third downs.
JSU’s Webb should be the difference in this game after going off for 307 yards and three TDs against Davidson, which included a career-long 67-yard run. Sacred Heart’s Julius Chestnut rushed for 138 yards against this Delaware defense, and JSU has the ground attack to exploit that vulnerability. Also expect a big day from the Gamecocks’ defense in the red zone against a Blue Hens’ offense that is among the country’s worst at converting third downs (.371%).
- Pick: Jacksonville State -3.5 (-109)
2021 Heisman Trophy Odds Tracker
North Dakota State vs Sam Houston State Odds
|North Dakota State||-3.5 (-104)||-143||O 47.5 (-104)|
|Sam Houston State||+3.5 (-118)||+118||U 47.5 (-118)|
Bearkats Shut Down Bison
Sam Houston State will look to upset powerhouse North Dakota State when the two teams do battle at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium on Sunday. The Bearkats required a last-minute interception to get past Monmouth in the opening round of the playoffs, while NDSU cruised past Eastern Washington by a 42-20 score.
SHSU has been a frustrating team to get bet on due to inconsistent play, but they’re capable of beating anyone when they’re at their best. It’s no secret the Bison don’t have much of a passing attack this season, which is going to play right into the hands of an elite Bearkats defense allowing under 60 rushing yards per game.
Highlights from today’s @NCAA_FCS opening round playoff win against Monmouth pic.twitter.com/HRAC5koFWX
— BearkatSportsNetwork (@BearkatVid) April 24, 2021
North Dakota State freshman QB Cam Miller attempted just 11 passes against the Eagles last weekend and is yet to be truly tested with his arm. The Bearkats rank second in the country with 31 sacks and are exceptional at creating havoc for opposing quarterbacks. They’ll bring the pressure on Miller and force him to make plays in what’ll be only his second career FCS start.
The Bearkats are more experienced at QB with junior Eric Schmid, who was named the Southland Conference Player of the Year after throwing for over 300 yards in five of six regular-season games. Bet on SHSU’s rush defense doing what it’s done all season and Schmid to deliver against a susceptible NDSU secondary Sunday.
- Pick: Sam Houston State +3.5 (-118)
North Dakota vs James Madison Odds
|North Dakota||+2.5 (-110)||+106||O 53 (-109)|
|James Madison||-2.5 (-110)||-129||U 53 (-112)|
UND Plays Spoiler to JMU
North Dakota will look to punch its ticket to the semi-finals when the team travels to James Madison to face the Dukes on Sunday. UND is coming off a commanding 44-10 victory over Missouri State in which they gave up just 185 yards of total offense, while JMU failed to cover the spread in a 31-24 victory over VMI.
There’s an argument to be made that the Fighting Hawks have best the best team in FCS this season. North Dakota’s offensive line leads the FCS in fewest tackles for loss allowed and has surrendered just one sack all season. The defense is terrific at getting to the quarterback, sacking Missouri State QB Matt Struck seven times in the first half alone last weekend.
Sack City grew by eight today. #UNDproud | #LGH pic.twitter.com/hylBxn1svn
— North Dakota Football (@UNDfootball) April 25, 2021
JMU has the top ranked defense in the country, but they showed some vulnerability allowing VMI to hang around in the opening playoff round. North Dakota is going to have the best QB in this game with Tommy Schuster, who has thrown for 1,215 yards and 10 touchdowns with only three picks. Dukes QB Cole Johnson doesn’t exude the same confidence, throwing two picks in his first-round playoff game and six on the year.
UND has all the tools to win this game and will be hungry to prove they can win a big road matchup. Standout RB Otis Weah was held to a season-low 64 rushing yards last time out and should bounce back against a JMU rush defense that got gashed for over 100 yards by the Keydets. Bet on Schuster outduelling Johnson and the defense coming through with a few big plays to garner the upset bid for UND.
- Pick: North Dakota +2.5 (-110)
Brady is a passionate hockey fan and sports writer with over five years of experience specializing in digital media, plus a degree in Broadcast Journalism. His work has been published by outlets such as ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo! Sports and Fox Sports.