It’s the FCS matchup you’ve been waiting for - the battle of the Dakotas! Just maybe not the one you were expecting.
North Dakota State and South Dakota State have dominated the Missouri Valley Football Conference landscape for the last decade, but it’s the South Dakota Coyotes and the North Dakota Fighting Hawks who enter this matchup still undefeated. The 2-0 Fighting Hawks hit the board as 6.5-point favorites.
Check out our best college football free picks and predictions for South Dakota vs. North Dakota, with kickoff set for Thursday, March 4 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
South Dakota Coyotes vs North Dakota Fighting Hawks betting preview
This game will be played indoors at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Against the spread (ATS) pick
Is there a new King in the North (Dakota)? With the North Dakota State Bison looking shaky and losing for the first time in 39 games, it appears that the Missouri Valley Football Conference is wide open for the taking, and the other North Dakota team looks to throw their name in the hat.
The North Dakota Fighting Hawks opened their season by thumping Southern Illinois 44-21 and followed that up by upsetting the South Dakota State Jackrabbits 28-17. What’s impressive about the Fighting Hawks is the level they are playing at in all phases of the game.
In their win over Southern Illinois, the Fighting Hawks took to the ground, rumbling for 229 yards on 5.9 yards per carry, while against SDSU, quarterback Tommy Schuster got into the mix. On top of that, the defense has created eight turnovers over their first two games.
Meanwhile, the South Dakota Coyotes are coming off their first game of the season, and what a game it was. The Coyotes trailed Illinois State 17-0 before mounting an epic comeback, scoring 27 unanswered points in an eventual 27-20 victory.
Quarterback Camp Carson did his part to fuel the comeback, going 20-of-35 for 221 yards and two scores. However, a big reason for the reversal of the Coyotes' fortunes was their defense, which caused seven turnovers.
Unfortunately for South Dakota, their defense still has some holes to fix. Despite the win, the Coyotes gave up nearly 450 yards of offense to Illinois State.
If North Dakota can play mistake-free football, their defense should shut down the Coyotes running game, making the offense one-dimensional and unable to keep up with the Fighting Hawks' relentless and balanced attack. Lay the points with the favorite.
PREDICTION: North Dakota -6.5 (-110)
A total of 48.5 stands out when one of the teams involved averages 36 points per game. That’s exactly the case with North Dakota hosting South Dakota on Thursday night.
While South Dakota forced seven turnovers in their only game, they still gave up a ton of yards, and they allowed 32.4 points per game a season ago. Now, the Coyotes will have to deal with that balanced Fighting Hawk offense that has scored 72 points over its first two contests.
On the other side, North Dakota’s defense has been solid but a little susceptible in the passing game, giving up 271 yards per game. Camp should be able to make enough plays downfield to send this one above the number.
PREDICTION: Over 48.5 (-110)
South Dakota vs North Dakota betting card
- North Dakota -6.5 (-110)
- Over 48.5 (-110)
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