South Dakota State running back Pierre Strong during an NCAA football game against Minnesota Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton- King)
- The 2021 FCS Spring Football playoff semifinals will be played on Saturday, May 8th
- South Dakota State hosts Delaware, while James Madison faces Sam Houston State
- Read below for the best ATS picks for the FCS playoff semifinals
There are four FCS teams remaining in the hunt for a national championship in 2021. The FCS spring football playoff semifinals are scheduled for Saturday, May 8th and both games feature intriguing betting value.
Delaware will look to upset a top FCS program for a second straight weekend when they travel to South Dakota State, while James Madison is a small road favorite against Sam Houston State in the second game of the day.
Here are ATS picks to consider for the two FCS playoff semifinal games.
South Dakota State vs Delaware Odds
|Delaware||+8 (-110)||+300||O 37.5 (-110)|
|South Dakota State||-8 (-110)||-435||U 37.5 (-110)|
All odds as of May 4th at DraftKings
Blue Hens Defense Shines Against Jackrabbits
Delaware (7-0) will look to upset another top FCS program when they travel to South Dakota State (7-1) to face the Jackrabbits on Saturday. The Blue Hens are the lone unseeded team left in the FCS semifinals after winning 20-14 over Jacksonville State in the quarterfinals last weekend. The Delaware defense had another excellent showing, limiting JSU to only 200 yards of offense.
The Jackrabbits deserve to be favored in this game, but their 21-16 victory over Southern Illinois in the quarterfinals wasn’t all that impressive. John Stiegelmeier’s team was down 20-10 at halftime and required an interception on SIU’s final drive to clinch the victory. SDSU had come into the game as heavy 16.5-point favorites.
Nail in the ⚰️…
— SDSU Football (@GoJacksFB) May 3, 2021
Delaware’s defense has been rock-solid this season, which give them good value to keep this game within a touchdown. The Blue Hens have allowed only 24 points through two playoff games and haven’t given up more than 21 points to any opponent all season. One of the reasons they’ve been so effective is because they rank second in the country with a plus-11 turnover margin.
SDSU’s run game led by RB Pierre Strong and QB Mark Gronowski has been the team’s calling card all season, but it’s going to be challenged by a Delaware rush defense allowing only 114 yards per game. On the other side, talented Blue Hens’ QB Nolan Henderson is completing 69% of his passes this season and should make some big plays against a SDSU defense that surrendered over 300 yards through the air to the Salukis.
2021 PGA Championship Odds Tracker
James Madison vs Sam Houston State Odds
|James Madison||-1.5 (-110)||-122||O 47.5 (-107)|
|Sam Houston State||+1.5 (-110)||+100||U 47.5 (-114)|
Dukes Keep Rolling at Sam Houston
Is 2021 the year James Madison (7-0) returns to the top of the FCS hierarchy? The chances are looking good after the Dukes cruised past North Dakota by a 34-21 score in the quarterfinals. QB Cole Johnson threw for 251 yards and two touchdowns, while RB Percy Agyei-Obese rushed for 128 yards and a pair of scores.
Sam Houston State (8-0) will also look to punch it’s ticket to Frisco, Texas on Saturday after taking down North Dakota State by a 24-10 score last weekend. The Bearkats didn’t allow a passing TD and took advantage of NDSU freshman Cam Miller making his second career start, but they’ll have their hands full with JMU’s QB/WR duo of Cole Johnson and Antwane Wells Jr.
— JMU Football (@JMUFootball) May 3, 2021
The Dukes are catching fire at the right time and the offense has racked up 30-plus points in two consecutive playoff games. The Bearkats have been excellent at stopping the run this season, but they’ve shown in numerous games against strong passing offenses that they are susceptible through the air. Johnson found Wells Jr. seven times for 143 yards and two TDs last weekend and should have another big day Saturday.
The Bearkats have been dominating teams offensively all year, but NDSU was able to hold them to 86 rushing yards. JMU ranks fourth in the country in total defense and third in rushing defense. SHSU QB Eric Schmid is having a great season, but he’s turnover prone with seven picks to 16 TDs. Bet on JMU’s elite defense coming through with a few big plays and Johnson making some clutch throws against a vulnerable secondary.
- Pick: James Madison -1.5 (-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.