Best FCS Picks for Week 7

Overtime doomed me in the Western Carolina-Wofford game last week. The score was tied at 21 halfway through the fourth quarter, but two touchdowns in the next few minutes meant that my under 57 was toast.

Elsewhere, Furman hammered Chattanooga to give me my lone win on the weekend. The Paladins rode a big second quarter to an easy victory over the Mocs, who continue to struggle on offense in Tom Arth’s first season as head coach.

My worst call of the week was the over in Fordham-Lafayette. That game fell laughably short of the total with a 14-10 final score as both teams showed a defense for the first time all season.

2017 FCS ATS Record
Week 1 Picks: —
Week 2 Picks: 2-2 ATS
Week 3 Picks: 1-3 ATS
Week 4 Picks: 3-1 ATS
Week 5 Picks: 3-1 ATS
Week 6 Picks: 1-2 ATS

Florida A&M +23.5 vs. North Carolina A&T – The Rattlers have been a decent team this year in spite of their record. Three of FAMU’s four losses were to programs it should have lost to (Arkansas, Tennessee State and North Carolina Central), and last week’s loss to Norfolk State only happened because FAMU turned the ball over five times.

FAMU has a competent quarterback and a decent ground game. The Rattlers’ top three running backs are all averaging at least 4.5 yards per carry, but they are about to take on one of the best defenses in the FCS.

North Carolina A&T has run roughshod over the MEAC this year. The Aggies have defeated every opponent by at least 14 points, and non-FBS opponents are averaging just six points per game against this defense.

There’s no doubt they are very good, but the competition has been a bit lacking. North Carolina A&T’s two toughest opponents have been the worst team in the FBS (Charlotte) and a decent South Carolina State squad. Meanwhile, FAMU has one of the better home-field advantages in the conference, and the stands will be packed for homecoming.

The Aggies will be able to beat the Rattlers and keep their undefeated season alive, but the final score will be closer than 23.5 points.

James Madison -15.5 vs. Villanova – Go ahead and call me a square for backing the Dukes when College GameDay is coming to town, but this is the right side.

Villanova is a dumpster fire on offense right now and will be lucky to score double digits against James Madison. The Wildcats lost star quarterback Zach Bednarczyk in a win over Towson, and they have been as one-dimensional as you can get on offense since that point.

Freshman Jack Schetelich is the new signal caller, and he has not played well at all. In three games this season, he is just 8-of-25 passing for 120 yards with two touchdowns and five interceptions. Villanova has relied on a strong running game and a stout defense to win while Bednarczyk has been hurt.

That formula won’t work against a great James Madison defense that punishes one-dimensional teams. The Dukes might not allow ‘Nova to pick up more than 200 total yards, while their balanced offense will slowly grind down the Wildcats defense.

Montana -11.5 vs. North Dakota – The Fighting Hawks have not found much offensive success on the road this season. North Dakota was supposed to have one of the best offenses in the FBS this season, just one year after going 9-0 in Big Sky play, but that has not been the case. In three road games, it is averaging just 15.7 points per contest.

Defensively, this team is a mess. The Fighting Hawks have given up at least 38 points in four straight weeks and were hammered by South Dakota, Montana State and UC Davis before rallying to beat a bad Northern Colorado team at home.

Meanwhile, I still have a lot of faith in Bob Stitt and Montana. The Grizzlies are 4-2, and although the defense isn’t great, the offense has been fantastic. They have scored at least 39 points in every game against a non-FBS opponent and should have no problem lighting up North Dakota’s defense.

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