Northern Iowa head coach Mark Farley jogs off the field before the first half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Ames. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)
- Week 9 of the FCS spring football season kicks off on Saturday, April 10th
- North Dakota State faces Northern Iowa at the UNI-Dome
- Read below for the best ATS picks for Week 9 of the FCS spring season
Week 9 of the FCS spring football season has arrived, and there’s some games with major playoff implications on tap for the weekend.
Northern Iowa aims to play spoiler to North Dakota State in Mountain Valley Conference action on Saturday, April 10th, while Nicholls and Southeastern Louisiana clash in the Southland. On Sunday, Jacksonville State goes for a ninth Ohio Valley Conference title against Murray State.
Here are three ATS picks to consider for Week 9.
North Dakota State vs Northern Iowa Odds
|No. 2 North Dakota State||-8.5 (-110)||-430||O 34.5 (-115)|
|No. 24 Northern Iowa||+8.5 (-110)||+320||U 34.5 (-105)|
All odds as of April 7th at FanDuel
Panthers’ Defense Stifles Bison Run Game
North Dakota State heads to Northern Iowa to face the Panthers at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls on Saturday. NDSU is 5-1 on the season and last played March 20th against North Dakota, while Northern Iowa is sporting a 3-3 record and coming off a 34-20 win over Western Illinois on March 27th.
These are two very good defensive teams who should play a tight game. The Panthers lead the Mountain Valley Conference in scoring defense with 14 points allowed per game, while the Bison are right behind them with only 14.2 points allowed per game. One big disparity is red zone defense, as UNI rank 21st in the nation, while the Bison are dead-last.
— UNI Football (@UNIFootball) March 27, 2021
Northern Iowa has the weapons to keep this North Dakota offense in check. The Panthers are allowing just 102.2 rushing yards per game and lead the MVFC with 16 sacks. In their biggest test of the season against South Dakota State, UNI limited Pierre Strong to under 100 yards and held the Jackrabbits to 20 points. Expect them to have an answer for NDSU’s star running back Jalen Bussey on Saturday.
Bison QB Zeb Noland is only completing 51.8% of his passes and will be challenged by a Panthers’ defense that has been getting to the QB all season. Northern Iowa is coming off its best offensive showing of the season and should take advantage of an NDSU team that hasn’t played in a few weeks. Bet on the Panthers’ defense and sophomore QB Will McElvain to get the job done in the regular-season finale at the Dome.
- Pick: Northern Iowa +8.5 (-110)
Jacksonville State vs Murray State Odds
|No. 10 Jacksonville State||-9.5 (-110)||-385||O 52.5 (-105)|
|No. 17 Murray State||+9.5 (-110)||+290||U 52.5 (-115)|
Webb Leads Gamecocks to OVC Title
Jacksonville State will try to win a ninth Ohio Valley Conference championship when they travel to Murray State to face the Racers in Week 9. This will be the Gamecocks last chance at winning the OVC title, as they are set to move to the ASUN football conference in the fall.
The Gamecocks are coming off an impressive 44-13 victory over Eastern Illinois last weekend, while the Racers suffered a 34-21 loss at the hands of Austin Peay. The best news for Jacksonville State is that QB Zion Webb looked great against the Panthers after throwing four picks the week prior. The junior completed 16-of-24 passes for 249 yards without an interception to lead his team to a bounce-back win.
OVC Football 🏈 Offensive Player of the Week: @JSUGamecocksFB QB Zion Webb
• Accounted for 312 yards of total offense and 3 TDs in win at Eastern Illinois; passed for 249 yards and 2 scores (26, 11) and ran for 63 yards and another score#FearTheBeak pic.twitter.com/804GmtPNxu
— OhioValleyConference (@OVCSports) April 6, 2021
Webb should keep the momentum rolling against a Murray State defense that has struggled to contain strong passing attacks. The Racers gave up 212 and two touchdowns to Austin Peay QB Draylen Ellis and are allowing 171 yards through the air per game. When these two teams last met in 2019, Webb accounted for 153 yards of offense and two TDs in a 14-12 win.
While JSU’s offense is explosive and coming off its first 500-yard game of the season, it’s their defense that is reason to bet them to cover the spread Sunday. It’s no secret Murray’s State’s offense goes through its ground game, and the Gamecocks have held three of their past four opponents to under 30 yards rushing. Expect more of the same Sunday as JSU adds another OVC championship to the resume.
- Pick: Jacksonville State -9.5 (-110)
Southeastern Louisiana vs Nicholls Odds
|No. 23 Southeastern Louisiana||+4.5 (-112)||+154||O 69.5 (-110)|
|No. 18 Nicholls||-4.5 (-108)||-192||U 69.5 (-110)|
Nicholls Extends Streak Against the Lions
Nicholls will be looking to beat Southeastern Louisiana for the third time in a row when the two teams do battle in the annual River Bell Classic on Saturday. The Colonels will be looking for a bounce-back win after falling 43-31 to McNeese State last weekend, while the Lions beat up on Lamar by a 42-12 score.
The high total indicates a potential shootout Sunday, which goes in favor of the home team. Colonels QB Lindsey Scott Jr. has thrown for 1,423 yards and 17 touchdowns with only three interceptions this season and has developed great chemistry with WR Dontaze Costly. The two should have a field day against a weak SLU secondary allowing over 250 yards per game.
Mr. Touchdown Dontaze Costly hauls in his sixth TD of the season on only his ninth grab. pic.twitter.com/7DAe7h2FdQ
— No. 18 Nicholls Football 🏈 (@Nicholls_FB) April 3, 2021
Nicholls’ defense has done a better job at defending the pass, allowing 222 yards per game and ranking 10th in the country with 10 turnovers gained. The Colonels should be able to come up with a few big plays against talented senior QB Cole Kelley, who will be targeting redshirt junior receiver CJ Turner often.
With both teams boasting strong passing attacks, look for the Colonels’ balanced run game to be the reason they win by at least a touchdown. Nicholls ranks third in the nation with 271 rushing yards per game and features 10 different players who have accounted for at least one score on the ground. The Lions have struggled to defend the run, and that’ll be the difference in a back-and forth high-scoring affair.
- Pick: Nicholls -4.5 (-108)
Brady is a passionate hockey fan and sports writer with over five years of experience specializing in digital media, plus a degree in Broadcast Journalism. His work has been published by outlets such as ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo! Sports and Fox Sports.