Betting Preview: JMU Football is a Huge Favorite Against UConn

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Blake Pace

I’m sad.

Despite James Madison’s continued success in a lopsided 42-14 victory over the Georgia State Panthers, we received awful news that the Dukes’ best player this season, defensive end Jalen Green, will miss the remainder of the season due to an injury. 

To make matters worse, I went 1-2 on betting the Georgia State game last week and now sit at 7-9 on the year.

My goal of getting to 52-55% on the season remains a possibility, however we’ll need to rack up a couple undefeated slates in order to inch our way toward a winning season. Hopefully a bout with one of the worst FBS programs will get us on track.

The Week 6 Recap: JMU -5.5 (W), 1H o27.5 (L) & u54.5 (L)

(Overall Record: 7-9)

The Dukes completely reversed their traditional gameplan of lighting up the first half and tightening up in the second, which is why we’re sitting at 7-9 today instead of 9-7.

I’ll say this every week, just fade me on the totals and you’d be having an electric season. Thank god for the spreads consistently hitting, as we’re 1-8 betting JMU totals this year. Yikes.

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

The Lines: UConn at JMU (-24.5), o/u 48.5

This game opened up at JMU -27 a few days ago, but sharp action coming in on the Huskies and the continued injury issues for the Dukes and their best players in the trenches have brought this down to -24.5 at some sportsbooks.

A few nuggets: The Huskies have been underdogs of 20 points or more on two previous occasions this season and failed to cover both of those spreads, losing by a combined score of 100-10 to both Duke and Tennessee. In their contests where the totals have sat at 48.5 points or higher the over is just 2-3, however. Huskies road games are averaging almost 54 points per game while the Dukes are averaging 51.5 points at home.

We already know the amazing against the spread run JMU has been on, covering in six of their last seven games, but the Dukes have also hit the over of 48.5 points in five of their last six games.

The Picks: JMU 1H -13.5, JMU -24.5, o48.5 & JMU TTo37.5 

Let’s. Get. Nuts.

The sign of an elite program is one that competes with the best of its schedule and leaves the weaker parts of its schedule in the dust. No offense to Connecticut (or my cousin who is a science professor there), but this is one of the worst programs in all of college football and one that should struggle to find any success in Bridgeforth this Saturday.

It’s tough to find an area of play that the Huskies’ offense or defense excels in, but one thing they have done a good job at is keeping their quarterback upright and avoiding sacks — their 10 allowed are tied for 13th best in the country. While that’s all fine and dandy and may allow some success against the Dukes defense, they’re among the worst teams in the country in terms of passing yards, rushing yards, first downs, red-zone efficiency and turnovers. 

Flipping things around to the defense, UConn has done a good job tightening up in the red zone, but is abysmal at sacking the quarterback, third-down defense, stopping the run, stopping the pass, and forcing turnovers. So, yes, basically everything.

The UConn defense has only allowed 32 points per game, but James Madison is probably the second or third best program it’ll face this season, with the two others averaging 50 points per game. Not to mention that UConn is also wrapping up a three-game road trip in Bridgeforth, coming off of a brutal 59-3 loss to Tennessee a week prior. 

I do have some concern with sharps taking UConn and questions about JMU’s ability to look unstoppable with every significant injury it faces week after week, but UConn would be maybe the second- or third-worst Sun Belt program this year and has nothing to fight for this season. 

The perfect season continues this week, in dominant fashion. Give me the JMU first half and full game spreads, over 48.5 points and JMU to score over 37.5 themselves.

James Madison 45, UConn 10

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