James Madison head coach Curt Cignetti looks at the scoreboard during the second half of an NCAA college football game against West Virginia Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)
- James Madison (4-0) faces Richmond (3-0) at Robins Stadium in Virginia on Saturday
- The Dukes remain the top ranked team in the FCS Top 25 despite major questions at the quarterback position
- See the odds, spread and a look at the game within the story below
Get ready for a battle of the unbeaten at Robins Stadium this weekend. Richmond hosts James Madison in a game that can be watched on NBC Sports Washington in the DMV area. The Dukes are listed as convincing favorites and have won the last four games between the two teams.
While the phrase “rivalry game” can sometimes be tossed around too liberally in college football, this one fits the description.
It’s such a good match up it hosted ESPN College GameDay back in 2015. James Madison has a 19-18 edge all-time.
James Madison vs Richmond Odds
|Team||Spread at DraftKings||Moneyline||Total|
|James Madison||-10.5 (-105)||-385||O 52.5 (-110)|
|Richmond||+10.5 (-115)||+290||U 52.5 (-110)|
Odds as of April 1st
James Madison Searching for Answers at Quarterback
It’s not often a top ranked, undefeated team is this undecided at such an important position. James Madison head coach Curt Cignetti has not announced who will start at quarterback, and this doesn’t seem to be a ploy.
Here’s the low down for the Dukes when it comes to QB1. Cole Johnson lost the starting job to junior Gage Maloney. The program was then hit hard by COVID-19 and had two games postponed.
When they returned to face William & Mary, Maloney was not available and Johnson was exceptional. He finished 16 for 22 for 220 passing yards and a touchdown. With both quarterbacks now available, the coach can’t seem to decide who deserves the gig.
— JMU Football (@JMUFootball) March 30, 2021
Whoever gets the job at quarterback will have a full stable of running backs to lean on. JMU beat William & Mary 38-10 despite missing starting running back Perci Agyei-Obese and his two back ups Latrele Palmer and Soloman Vanhorse. All three backs are expected to play this weekend which is great news for the Dukes.
Once Cignetti decides on the personnel, he’ll be able to use the full playbook with the teams COVID-19 issues in the rear view mirror.
Expect Spiders to Lean Heavily on Run Game
Richmond loves to run the football. That’s not a discredit to quarterback Joe Mancuso who has been more than serviceable this season. He has completed 53 of 88 passes for 581 passing yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions.
The desire to run the ball comes from Mancuso’s ability with his legs. He has run for 171 yards and a touchdown in three games this season. Mancuso is also complimented by two other athletes in the back field in Aaron Dykes and Savon Smith. The trio have all run for at least 45 yards in all three games this season.
Spiders move to 3-0 with a 31-17 win over Elon!
Tristan Wheeler leads UR’s defense with a career-high 14 tackles while Kobie Turner adds 2.5 tackles for a loss.
— Richmond Spider Football (@Spiders_FB) March 27, 2021
Opposing coaches may know that the Spiders are going to run, but not knowing who will have the ball causes major issues. With Richmond listed as a sizeable underdog, it stands to reason they’ll try and control the clock as much as possible by leaning on their three headed monster.
Trust Richmond to Keep This Rivalry Game Tight
Let’s go over what we know. This is a rivalry game between two undefeated teams. James Madison has questions at quarterback, to the point that mid-week their head coach hasn’t settled on who will start.
Despite that, the oddsmakers still require them to win by double digits? It appears as though the Spiders are a great value pick playing at home. Bet them to cover and consider a smaller wager on the moneyline, they have a chance to win this one outright.
- The Pick: Richmond +10.5 (-115)
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Ryan has been working at TSN for over eleven years, and is now a lead writer and content producer at That’s Hockey. Over the years, he’s launched and hosted TSN’s first NCAAF podcast, The College Football Show, and been featured on the likes of TSN 1050, Sportscentre, and That’s Hockey 2Nite.