Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 3:00 PM EST.
Jacksonville State +10 over FIU
Riccardo Silva Stadium – Miami, FL.
Please note: This game will be found in NCAAF Extra Games or added games.
7:00 PM EST. If there is one thing that is perennial as fall foliage, it is the incidence of the FCS/FBS upset. With 2020 being a year of uncertainty, we would have expected to perhaps see an influx of said upsets, albeit the environment one would hypothesize breeds a higher possibility for these things to happen. In spite of this, the FBS has won every game it has against its FCS brethren, which is actually considered an even bigger anomaly. It also influences the market.
In 2019, there were three FCS/FBS upsets, in 2018 there were seven, in 2017 there were nine. All of these occurrences transpired in the month of September, but then again that is when most FBS/FCS match-ups take place since conference play for both participants typically rolls on from October. However, this year has not been normal and thus FBS/FCS match-ups have been scheduled deeper into the season. Nevertheless, if one was to get behind an FBS team playing its FCS little brother at this stage in the season, one would be paying a premium to do so. Moreover, given the fact we are into the month of October, the market may be quicker to dismiss the possibility of an upset since we are now outside of its “peak season”. Our job is to find value in the numbers and in the regard, the FCS Gamecocks tick all the boxes.
If there was such a thing, Jacksonville State began the 2020 season literally ranked 26th in the country in FCS polls, as they had the most points outside of the ranked table of FCS teams. The Gamecocks started the 2019 season as the consensus choice to win the Ohio Valley Conference, preceded by obtaining an OVC championship in 2018 where it went to the FCS Playoffs and also was inside the top-10 at its apex in the aforementioned campaign. J-State has a culture of expecting to compete at the highest level. We saw this on display when the Gamecocks opened their season at Florida State, in what was supposed to be a tune-up match for the Seminoles; it was anything but that. As a 27½-point underdog, the Gamecocks led in the third quarter until FSU finally got some separation and won 41-24, pulling away in the end. JSU since then has played two more games against Mercer and North Alabama and tallied up victories.
For now, Jacksonville State’s season will come to an end after this contest at FIU. The Ohio Valley Conference, where the ‘Cocks reside, is tabled for a spring 2021 schedule but that is a long way away and it’s anyone’s guess as to how the future will play out. This game will serve as Jacksonville State’s playoff or bowl game for 2020 and it couldn’t be a better venue for the Gamecocks, as it is in a prime-time game (ESPN3) under the lights before a national audience. This is a great opportunity for J-State to close out the year by making a statement against an FBS foe.
On the flip-side, FIU is in a terrible spot, as it has a showdown with an undefeated Marshall squad looming next Saturday. The Panthers may be guilty of expecting the Gamecocks to be an easy win, which sets up FIU for a letdown and this couldn’t come at a worse time for the Florida International University. You see, FIU’s game was cancelled last week. Earlier in the year, they had two others cancelled. FIU has played just two games all season without continuity. They lost to Middle Tennessee State 31-28 in Miami two weeks ago as a 6½-point favorite. One can soundly argue that Jacksonville State compared to MTSU is actually a step-up in competition. However, the FBS/FCS bias is influencing the market to believe otherwise and we are the benefactors. We are calling the outright upset here so take the points but throw Jacksonville State in a money line parlay or two.
For our streaming subscribers, Friday night games:
Illinois at Wisconsin in on the Big 10 (BTN) in the Sports Group or the Big-10 Group
Louisiana (ULL) at UAB is on CBS Sports Network in the Sports Group or in the Sports & Outdoors Group
Tulsa at Florida is on ESPN in the Sports Group or the ESPN/ESPN+ group.
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Jacksonville St +10 -110 (Risking 2.2 units - To Win: 2.00)