The South Dakota State Jackrabbits and Northern Iowa Panthers kick off their NCAA Division I FCS spring football season when they meet in a key Missouri Valley Football Conference matchup on Friday. This will be the first of an eight-game conference schedule after the fall season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. South Dakota State, which finished tied for third in the MVFC with Illinois State and Southern Illinois at 5-3 and was 8-5 overall in 2019, has made eight consecutive playoff appearances. Northern Iowa, which placed second in the league at 6-2 and was 10-5 overall last season, was 7-0 on its home field a year ago.
Kickoff from the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa, is set for 8 p.m. ET. South Dakota State averaged 29.7 points per game a year ago, while Northern Iowa averaged 21 points. The Jackrabbits are 2.5-point favorites in the latest South Dakota State vs. Northern Iowa odds from William Hill Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is set at 42. Before making any Northern Iowa vs. South Dakota State picks, you’ll want to see the latest college football predictions and betting advice from SportsLine’s Emory Hunt.
Hunt is the founder and CEO of Football Gameplan, which has been supplying analysis of all levels of football since 2007, and a former running back at Louisiana-Lafayette. He knows the game from a player’s perspective, and is a specialist when it comes to picking all levels of college football. He enjoyed a dominant 2019 season, going 116-79 against the spread while returning nearly $3,000 to $100 bettors.
- South Dakota State vs. Northern Iowa spread: South Dakota State -2.5
- South Dakota State vs. Northern Iowa over-under: 42 points
- South Dakota State vs. Northern Iowa money line: South Dakota State -135, Northern Iowa +115
- SDSU: The Jackrabbits scored 75 points off of turnovers in 2019
- NIU: The Panthers held their opponents to 17.7 points per game a season ago
Northern Iowa Panthers
Why South Dakota State can cover
The Jackrabbits have a pair of solid quarterbacks who return in sophomores Keaton Heide and J’Bore Gibbs. Both proved to be reliable and both are very capable of leading the team. Heide was thrust into the starting lineup during the second half of the 2019 season due to injuries. He played in seven games, completing 85 of 127 passes (66.9 percent) for 1,072 yards and seven touchdowns. He was intercepted three times and had a passer efficiency rating of 151.3.
Gibbs was the team’s starting quarterback before being injured. In six games, Gibbs completed 73 of 124 passes (58.9 percent) for 1,058 yards and 10 TDs. He was picked off four times, but had a passer efficiency rating of 150.7. Gibbs was named to the Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Newcomer Team in 2019, and accounted for touchdowns both on the ground and through the air in his collegiate debut at Minnesota, completing 13 of 26 passes for 193 yards. He threw a season-high three touchdown passes in wins over Southern Illinois and Indiana State.
Why Northern Iowa can cover
The Panthers also have a number of returning weapons. Redshirt junior running back Tyler Hoosman was the team’s second-leading rusher a year ago. He played in nine games and carried 92 times for 388 yards (4.2 average) and four touchdowns. In 2018, he played in eight games, carrying 44 times for 205 yards (4.7 average).
Also returning is redshirt sophomore quarterback Will McElvain, who has proven to be a dual threat. In 15 games in 2019, McElvain completed 203 of 382 passes (53.1 percent) for 2,778 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was intercepted seven times. He also rushed for 372 yards on 150 carries (2.5 average) and one score. McElvain, who redshirted during the 2018 season, was a three time All-District selection at Lincoln High School in Des Moines, Iowa.
How to make Northern Iowa vs. South Dakota State picks
Hunt has studied the matchup and found a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Northern Iowa vs. South Dakota State? And what crucial X-factor causes one side to hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to jump all over, all from the proven expert who specializes in picking all levels of college football.
#South #Dakota #State #Northern #Iowa #odds #FCS #college #football #picks #predictions #proven #expert