Betting Breakdown: JMU Favored in Road Game at Georgia State

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Blake Pace

The dream season rolls on for James Madison following its 30-27 victory over Old Dominion, with the Dukes moving up to No. 23 in the AP Poll as they inch closer to a perfect season and remain one of eight undefeated FBS programs.

The Week 6 Recap: JMU -18.0 (L) & o48.5 (W)

(Overall Record: 6-7)

I was finally able to hit a total this season, but at the cost of whiffing massively on the biggest JMU spread of the season which did, as I suggested it might last week, creep its way up to -20.0 before kickoff. The Dukes were never able to separate themselves from the Monarchs but, despite only three points being scored in the final 17 minutes of action, a 30-point third quarter paved the way to an easy over hit.

Like I’ve said for weeks, we will finish this season at a 55% clip or better. I won’t do it simply out of desperation, but we may try to add in a third play to some of these final games to finish strong.

Editor’s note: Thanks to Christopher William Jewelers for their advertising support this season.

The Lines: JMU (-5.5) at GAST, o/u 54.5

Despite JMU already receiving public backing, this line has yet to adjust, so my advice would be to jump on this line now before it grows close to -7. Both programs are coming off high-scoring bouts, with the Dukes combining for 57 points with the Monarchs and the Panthers and Georgia Southern combining for 71.

James Madison and Georgia State have had eerily similar results against the spread and the total this season, each covering five of their eight games and hitting the over and under four times each. The Dukes are 3-1 against the spread in road games this season, with the Panthers going 2-2 against the spread at Center Parc Credit Union Stadium.

The Picks: JMU -5.5, 1H o27.5 and u54.5

Three picks this week!

I was a little shocked with how rusty the Dukes looked at times Saturday following their mini bye, but at the same time an extra few days off after playing your best ball of the season can hinder momentum. With the ugly finish over Old Dominion out of the way, I expect the Dukes to get back on track and look more polished in Atlanta this weekend.

Georgia State brings a trenches mentality to the field, boasting a top-35 rushing offense and defense. Senior running back Marcus Carroll is second in the nation with 1,060 rushing yards and his 12 rushing touchdowns are tied for fourth in college football.

While a strong offensive line helps pave the way for Carroll, the Panthers also do a great job keeping quarterback Darren Grainger clean — their nine sacks allowed ranks 15th in FBS. They haven’t been great once they get into the red zone, however, and are averaging just 25 points per game over their last five games.

The Panthers defense has held up well against the run and is in the top half of college football in turnovers forced and total sacks, but they’ve been ripped apart in their secondary and allow 282.2 passing yards per game — sixth worst in the nation. With JMU’s passing attack continuously improving this past month, it’s averaging 278.5 yards per game compared to 238.5 in its first four contests, I’d expect the Dukes to take advantage of this early on in order to make life easier for the rush attack as the game wears on.

Give me a high-scoring first half that settles down in the closing 30 minutes. JMU will hold a double-digit lead going into the fourth, but a late score will bring this within 10 while still holding a cover for the Dukes.

James Madison 27, Georgia State 20

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