FCS Playoff Quarterfinals: Official Plays

Rather than creating a new post for each bet, I am just going to pin this post for the week and go in and add information and plays as they come in. As always, follow me on twitter @MikeyLoBets to be notified as soon as I make any official plays.

Last Week Recap

Last Week: 1-0, +2.00 Units
YTD: 7-4, +5.94 Units

Like I predicted in my write-up last week, rather than looking rusty (like many people we’re predicting), North Dakota looked like they couldn’t wait to get back on the football field after the long layoff. They completely dominated Missouri State from start to finish, moving the ball very well, recording 8 sacks on defense, and adding a block punt TD for good measure. The -5.5 was never in doubt. It’s always nice to get a no sweat winner.

Spring FCS Playoffs: Quarterfinals

North Dakota State (-2.5) (-118) @ Sam Houston State (Bookmaker)


DraftKings/Barstool has -3.5/-104 or -4/+105 available. Bookmaker has -3/+100 which I bought down to -2.5/-118. I don’t see a line on FanDuel yet.

To me this is a Missouri Valley Conference > Southland Conference bet. With a conference-only regular season we didn’t get a chance to see how teams sized up against one another in non-conference games. The committee caught some criticism for selecting five MVC teams for the 16 team playoff, but the Valley backed it up last weekend. South Dakota State and North Dakota State won convincingly, Southern Illinois scored an upset win on the road against Weber State, and North Dakota thumped Missouri State in a MVC vs. MVC matchup.

Sam Houston State was lucky to survive their first-round game against Monmouth. The Southland was believed to be a weak conference, particularly on defense and Sam Houston State didn’t do anything to change that opinion last week.

The stats back up my claim that Sam Houston was lucky to get by Monmouth. They won the game 21-15 but they were outgained 412-267 in the game. Monmouth had 27 first downs to Sam Houston State’s 9 and Monmouth ran 44 more plays in the game than Sam Houston State did. Sam Houston benefited from a Monmouth turnover on downs in the first quarter that led to a short field TD for SHSU, a Monmouth INT inside the Sam Houston 10 yard line, and another Monmouth turnover on downs around midfield.

The Sam Houston State offense has been trending in the wrong direction lately. Two of their last 3 games have been rough. After opening the season with 3 straight games of 500+ yards of total offense, they looked unspectacular against a bad McNeese State team (only putting up 384 total yards) and then (after bouncing back against an Incarnate Word team that never stopped anyone all year) looked subpar last week against Monmouth.

To me this is a strength vs. strength matchup and I’m betting on the strengths of the MVC team being stronger than the strengths of the Southland team. I’ll be the first to admit that this isn’t the same NDSU team of the year’s past, but they are still an incredible program with a history of winning postseason games. They seem to have made the necessary adjustments, finally committing to Cam Miller at QB and finding playing time for more young guys as the season has gone on.

The strength of the NDSU offense is their running game and the strength of the Sam Houston State defense is their running defense. Sam Houston State held opponents to only 1.7 yards/carry in the regular season in the pass heavy Southland conference. Monmouth was able to muster up 115 rushing yards against them last week, however. Only the second team to top 100+ rushing yards on the ground against Sam. I don’t think they’ve seen a rushing attack like NDSU. The Bison have put up some big rushing games this year, including 48-272-5.7 against Missouri State (playoff team), 54-316-5.9 against North Dakota (playoff team), and 57-422-7.4 last week against Eastern Washington (playoff team). They’ve proven that they can run the ball against high quality opponents. Sam Houston State didn’t have the opportunity to prove that they could stop the run against high quality opponents this year because of their soft schedule, but their performance last week when they got out of conference for the first time is concerning. I think the Bison running game will eventually break through against them.

On the other side of the ball, Sam Houston State’s offensive strength is their passing game led by experienced QB Eric Schmid. In the regular season they topped 312 passing yards in 5 of their 6 games, but last week when they got out of the Southland Schmid struggled. He was only 12-for-24 for 133 yards. With the exception of Southern Illinois in the early part of the season, North Dakota State hasn’t allowed a team to top 200 passing yards against them for the entire Spring regular season. Last week they faced a high powered Eastern Washington passing attack with an experienced QB and kept them from going off holding them to 246 passing yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. The Bison got down early in the game but finished on a 35-0 run, shutting Eastern Washington out in the second half. They looked incredible once they got going and I look for them to continue that momentum. It won’t be easy on the road, but I like the Bison to figure out a way to win this one.

Official Plays – FCS Playoffs Quarterfinals

North Dakota State (-2.5) (-118) @ Sam Houston State (Bookmaker)
Risking 2.95 Units to win 2.50 Units

LIVE – North Dakota State (+7.5) (-110) @ Sam Houston State (Bookmaker)
Risking 1.10 Units to win 1.00 Unit

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