Week 4 of FCS football was great to me, as I was dead right on three of my four games. East Tennessee State claimed the outright win against Mercer despite being a two-touchdown underdog, while Montana nearly knocked off Eastern Washington as a double-digit dog. Weber State also rewarded my faith with a 41-3 smack down of UC Davis.
My one loss came at the hands of Elon, which showed the world it is for real with an upset win over Top 10 Richmond on the road.
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
Delaware +21 vs. James Madison – I’m playing with fire by going against James Madison, but there is a lot of reason to like the Blue Hens in this one. Danny Rocco is slowly turning around the program, and the Hens have been excellent on defense this season.
Delaware has one of the best run defenses in the country. That’s one of the keys for hanging close with James Madison, which likes to keep it on the ground as much as possible. Delaware is allowing just 2.3 yards per carry this season, and if you think those numbers are inflated, look at what Virginia Tech managed against this defense. The Hokies averaged less than three yards per carry for the game and had to rely on their own defense to smother the Blue Hens to claim victory.
There won’t be a lot of points in this one either way. Delaware might not score more than 10 points on the day, but it will be able to keep James Madison in check.
Western Illinois +6 vs. South Dakota – The Coyotes might be a tad bit overrated. South Dakota went 4-7 last season but skyrocketed up the rankings after wins against Bowling Green and North Dakota. The win over North Dakota was particularly impressive at the time, but it doesn’t look so good after the Fighting Hawks were blown out at home by Montana State last week.
Western Illinois has an FBS win of its own. The Leathernecks crushed Coastal Carolina for their third straight road win to start the season and appear to be one of the best teams in the nation. This defense has been lights out and did what Arizona couldn’t do in shutting down Case Cookus.
The Leathernecks should not be home underdogs in this game. Look for them to get an outright victory.
Grambling -34.5 vs. Clark Atlanta – These two HCBUs will be squaring off in the Chicago Football Classic this Saturday, but this is a total mismatch.
Grambling is arguably the best HBCU in the country. The Tigers have gotten back on track after a slow start to the season, and the defense is looking great. The offense continues to move the ball well, too, and the unit’s play after star quarterback DeVante Kincade was hurt against Mississippi Valley State last week was solid.
Meanwhile, Clark is a Division II HBCU and not a particularly good one. Clark played Kennesaw State last season and was hammered 56-0 in that one. The program hasn’t been particularly impressive against Division II opponents this season, so Grambling should move through this defense like a hot knife through butter—even if Kincade is limited for this game.
Over 67.5 in Montana at Portland State – These two Big Sky teams don’t play much defense. Montana’s defense was supposed to be improved this season, but the Grizzlies allowed Eastern Washington to move the ball with ease against them last week. As for Portland State, it allowed 37 points at home in its first Big Sky game.
Both offenses can move the ball, though. Montana has an offensive guru in head coach Bob Stitt that can break down any defense in a number of ways, while Portland State has a dynamic young quarterback in Jalani Eason. The Vikings had a bye last week, so you can be sure the coaching staff was finding ways for Eason to exploit this defense. I’m expecting this to be a shootout that ends with a total in the 70s.
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