We had to wait an extra week, but we finally get our second helping of Prime Time in FCS college football action. Deion Sanders led the Jackson State Tigers to a 53-0 win in his head coaching debut, but they were sidelined last week by heathy and safety protocols.
The competition kicks up a notch this weekend, as the Tigers get their first taste of conference action as 9.5-point underdogs when they visit SWAC rivals the Grambling State Tigers.
Check out our best college football free picks and predictions for Jackson State vs. Grambling State, with kickoff set for Saturday, March 6 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Jackson State Tigers vs Grambling State Tigers betting preview
It should be a beautiful spring day for football at Eddie Robinson Stadium, Grambling, Louisiana. The forecast is calling for clear skies and temperatures hovering around the low 60s for kickoff. There is also expected to be an eight to 10 mile per hour cross-field wind coming from the northeast.
Against the spread (ATS) pick
Sanders had Jackson State looking mighty impressive in their big season-opening win over Edward Waters. Jackson State was mainly a rushing team in 2019, but the early returns on quarterback Jalon Jones were very good, as he went 17 of 19 for 163 yards and two touchdowns in the season-opening win.
This is a big development for Jackson State considering this has been a run-first team for the last several seasons. JSU was fourth in the SWAC in rushing in 2019, and running backs Kymani Clarke and Greg Williams combined for 149 yards rushing and averaged over five yards per carry against Edward Waters.
Jackson State will need that balance against Grambling State. The other Tigers in this matchup are coming off a year where they went 4-3 in the conference and have one of the best defenses in the SWAC.
Grambling State allowed a conference-best 22.4 points per game and was particularly strong against the pass. GSU ranked second in the SWAC in defensive passing efficiency and allowed opponents to complete just 56.8 percent of their passes.
The Grambling State offense isn’t too shabby either. Dual-threat quarterback Geremy Hickbottom could have a big season with plenty of weapons at his disposal, including running backs Kevin Dominque and Keilon Elder and No. 1 wideout Lyndon Rash.
However, Jackson State’s defense should be up to the task. It returns SWAC defensive player of the year in Keonte Hampton, while Sanders also signed numerous transfers, including his son Shilo, a safety who arrived from South Carolina.
Sanders came to Jackson State to play in games like this. The improvements he has made have been evident in just one game, and while Grambling State probably has the stronger overall roster at the moment, Sanders and JSU will announce their presence and keep this one close. It’s not time to fade Prime Time just yet.
PREDICTION: Jackson State +9.5 (-110)
As noted, Grambling State had the SWAC’s best scoring defense, but the Jackson State version of the Tigers should give them a test in this one. While GSU’s defense was very strong against the pass, it was certainly susceptible against the run, giving up 179.3 yards per game on the ground at a clip of 4.5 yards per carry.
On the other side, Jackson State was able to shutout Edward Waters in its opener, but that likely won’t happen again versus a balanced Grambling State offense that averaged nearly 30 points per game in 2019 and should be improved this season.
With this expected to be a back-and-forth affair, we like this one to go above the number.
PREDICTION: Over 50.5 (-110)
Jackson State vs Grambling State betting card
- Jackson State +9.5 (-110)
- Over 50.5 (-110)
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