Best FCS Picks for Week 9

I’m done betting on South Dakota games this season. The Coyotes have flummoxed me all year long and that continued last week. I jumped on them as a double-digit road favorite against an Illinois State team that had been exposed the last two games, but I watched in dismay as they got reverse covered. South Dakota just couldn’t stop the run and that doomed my bet.

I split the other two games and was a little bit fortunate in that regard as The Citadel barely held on to cover against Chattanooga.

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
Week 7 Picks: 3-0 ATS
Week 8 Picks: 1-2 ATS

Under 38.5 in Illinois State at Youngstown State – These are two of the best defenses in the country and points should be hard to come by in this game.

Youngstown State’s season is on the line. The Penguins have faced a very tough slate of opponents and keep finding ways to lose close ones. At 3-4, they know they need to win now or else face missing the postseason despite some great performances.

The Penguins haven’t been able to throw the ball effectively and have been reliant on Tevin McCaster and a stingy defense in order to win games. But McCaster has run into some stiff fronts in recent weeks as defenses stack the line, which has limited the Penguins offense.

Illinois State has a hard time throwing the ball, too. The Redbirds chalked up a huge win last week, but that’s because they were able to run on South Dakota’s defense. That’s something they won’t be able to do this time around.

Over 55.5 in Montana at Weber State – The Grizzlies and Wildcats are two of the top teams in the Big Sky, and this has been a game I’ve been looking forward to all season long. Both squads had disappointing finishes in 2016, but they have looked like up and comers all season.

Bob Stitt is an offensive genius. This unit has put up at least 39 points on every FCS team it has faced so far, and he will find a way to put up points on a very good Weber State defense. The Grizzlies have a varied attack and with a full two weeks to prepare, there will be some schemes that the Wildcats have not seen and have no idea how to stop.

Conversely, this defense is a wreck. The Grizzlies have already been in three shootouts in Big Sky play and Weber State can move the ball. Stefan Cantwell has been sharp all season and should be fully healthy after suffering a concussion two weeks ago against Southern Utah.

Elon +13 at Villanova – The Wildcats are still looking to find something at the quarterback position ever since starter Zach Bednarczyk went down with an injury against Towson. This week, true freshman Kyle McCloskey will get the start for Villanova as it takes on a surprisingly good Elon team.

The Phoenix just keep finding ways to win close games. Although this team isn’t great in any one facet of the game, it is decent in everything and has already won a bunch of games nobody thought it would. Elon has knocked off Furman, Charleston Southern, Richmond and Albany, and it shouldn’t be this much of an underdog against a very flawed Villanova team.

Western Carolina +4.5 vs. Furman – There’s a lot of buzz circulating around this Furman team, but it’s important to remember who its five straight wins were against. The Paladins fattened up against the dregs of the Southern Conference and shouldn’t be a road favorite against a ranked team. Western Carolina has played a lot of bad teams as well, but it was able to knock off Samford at home already this year. The Catamounts should be able to get the outright win here as they have been looking forward to this game, while the Paladins had to play a gritty Mercer team last week.

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