South Dakota State wide receiver Jaxon Janke during an NCAA football game against MinnesotaSouth Dakota State Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton- King)
- South Dakota State (1-0) faces North Dakota (1-0) this Saturday, February 27th
- The Jackrabbits won their opener allowing only 28 rushing yards on 25 rushing attempts
- See the game odds and a look at both programs heading into the match up below
A football game doesn’t need to be a sexy match up to make you money.
With that in mind, the South Dakota State Jackrabbits take on the North Dakota Fighting Hawks on Saturday. Let’s take a look at the odds and dive in on both programs to find the betting edge.
South Dakota State vs North Dakota Odds
|South Dakota State||-7.5 (-103)||-278||O 47.5 (-109)|
|North Dakota||+7.5 (-120)||+220||U 47.5 (-112)|
Odds taken Feb. 25th from DraftKings
South Dakota State Coming Off Impressive Win
South Dakota State quarterback Mark Gronowski led a late touchdown drive to beat Northern Iowa in FCS Week 2 play. He finished the game 19-for-29 with 194 yards passing and two touchdowns.
Gronowski added another touchdown on the ground, and was the Jackrabbits best offensive player. He was steady throughout the game, leaning on wide receivers Zach Heins and Jaxon Janke. The pair of wideouts combined for nine catches and 119 yards.
— SDSU Football (@GoJacksFB) February 22, 2021
While North Dakota certainly needs to scheme to try and stop the efficient South Dakota State offense, there’s a bigger issue at play. The Jackrabbits run defense was absolutely sensational in the opener – they allowed 28 rushing yards on 25 attempts.
If they can replicate that kind of production against the Fighting Hawks, it will force their opponent to rely too heavily on freshman quarterback Tommy Schuster.
Can Tommy Schuster Produce With Expanded Role?
Schuster wasn’t asked to do too much in the Fighting Hawks win over Southern Illinois. He racked up three touchdown passes and 168 yards passing on only 15 completions. The limited throws were partially because his team had a big lead, but that likely won’t be the case this weekend.
North Dakota are listed as 7.5-point underdogs in large part because of a lack of trust in their quarterback. Filling the box score in a lopsided victory is one thing, but can he do it when forced to pass because of an elite run defense?
— North Dakota Football (@UNDfootball) February 24, 2021
While Gronowski seems to have zeroed in on a couple of key targets early in the season, there weren’t really any game breakers to emerge on North Dakota. In fact, they didn’t have any wideouts with more than 40 receiving yards.
It’s tough envisioning how the Fighting Hawks will put up points when you eliminate their options on the ground. They are relying on a break through performance from their young starting quarterback and at least one of their receivers. It seems like a tall task this early in the year.
Jackrabbits Are the Best Bet
Is -7.5 an ideal line? Of course not. However, you have two options.
You could pay to buy a half point and get the line down to seven and hope for a two possession win, or enjoy the fact your wager is currently listed at -103.
Whichever option you settle on, side with the elite run defense and more established offensive unit to get the victory in this one.
The Pick: South Dakota State -7.5 (-103)
Ryan has been working at TSN for over eleven years, and is now a lead writer and content producer at That’s Hockey. Over the years, he’s launched and hosted TSN’s first NCAAF podcast, The College Football Show, and been featured on the likes of TSN 1050, Sportscentre, and That’s Hockey 2Nite.