The James Madison Dukes are the class of the CAA college football conference and FCS elites. The Dukes have won the CAA title in three of the past four years and are the only team not named North Dakota State to win a national title in the last nine seasons.
But now it’s the Dukes who are ranked No. 1 in the FCS rankings. Can they ride that momentum and cover a 15.5-point spread against the William & Mary Tribe? Find out in our best college football free picks and predictions for James Madison vs. William & Mary, with kickoff set for Saturday, March 27 at 1:00 p.m. ET.
James Madison Dukes vs William & Mary Tribe betting preview
It should be a beautiful spring afternoon for football at Zable Stadium in Williamsburg, Virginia. The forecast is calling for mostly clear skies with temperatures in the low-70s and minimal wind around kickoff.
Against the spread (ATS) pick
James Madison is 3-0 on the season and is ranked No. 1 in the latest FCS poll, but they haven’t played for three weeks due to COVID protocols. And the last time the Dukes took the field it wasn’t the dominant showing we're used to. If you watch FCS football, that is. JMU trailed Elon 17-3 and needed 14 fourth-quarter points to avoid the upset.
The comeback was led by quarterback Gage Maloney, who has been named the starter for this one. That said, James Madison still hangs its hat on the running game and defense. The Dukes rank first in the CAA, rumbling for 265.3 yards per game led by running back Percy Agyei-Obese. Their defense also tops the conference, allowing just 163.7 total yards per contest.
On the other side, William & Mary is looking much improved following a 3-5 record in conference play in 2019. The Tribe are 1-1 and coming off a 31-10 thumping of the same Elon team that gave JMU a run for its money a few weeks ago.
William & Mary is led by dual-threat quarterback Hollis Mathis. Mathis is completing 60.8 percent of his passes for 379 yards and two touchdowns in the Tribe’s first two games this season. He has also added 92 yards and a score on the ground. Meanwhile, freshman back Malachai Imoh ran for 137 yards on just 10 carries and scored three times in last week’s game against Elon.
We are still unsure about who exactly is available for JMU in this one, regarding their COVID protocols. Plus, they may be a little rusty after not playing for three weeks. While William & Mary has been better than expected and is getting a bunch of points at home. We’ll take them.
PREDICTION: William & Mary +15.5 (-110)
The total for this matchup is on the board at 43, and that may seem a little low considering that James Madison leads the CAA in scoring at 36 points per game, and William & Mary is coming off a strong performance against Elon putting up 31 points.
But there are reasons for a number this low. Both of these teams rely heavily on the run, while at the same time having strong run defenses. That should shorten the game considerably. On top of that, there is a chance it takes the Dukes a quarter or two to shake off the rust. That said, JMU is the top-ranked team in the FCS for a reason, and these teams are dynamic enough that they should be able to sneak above the number.
PREDICTION: Over 43 (-110)
James Madison vs William & Mary betting card
- William & Mary +15.5 (-110)
- Over 43 (-110)
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