FCS Semifinal: North Dakota State vs Richmond NCAAF Betting Preview
Richmond heads to North Dakota State to take on the Bison on Friday, December 18, at 8:00 pm Eastern time on ESPN2 in the FCS semifinals. The winner of this game will advance to the FCS title on January 9, at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The Bison are NCAAF betting heavy favorites (-14), with an over/under total of 54.5 points.
— CAA Football (@CAAFootball) December 16, 2015
The Bison have an 18-game playoff game winning streak, and the Fargodome, their home stadium, is one of the toughest environments in the entire FCS. Its noise level has gotten as high as 115 decibels, according to Dave Johnson of the Fargo Daily Press, making it as loud as the Superdome in New Orleans. This level causes pain in many listeners’ ears, so the players on the field will have that to deal with. Richmond went through three practice days this week in environments simulating that level of noise. The Bison have played well this year while missing starting quarterback Carson Wentz, widely considered a first-round pick in next year’s NFL draft, who broke his wrist in October. Backup Easton Stick, a freshman, has played with poise this season but does not have the same ability to pile up stats. Wentz came back to practice last week but was unable to play in the quarterfinal round against Northern Iowa. He remains a game-time decision this week. The Spiders feature quarterback Kyle Lauletta, who is #2 in the FCS with 3,427 passing yards.
Why you should bet on the Bison (-14)
No matter which quarterback starts the game, the Bison’s success begins and ends with their defense, which permitted only 16.4 points per game this season as well as 281.5 yards. Despite the fact that Lauletta brings a high-powered passing attack to the game, expect the deafening noise inside the Fargodome to hinder their schemes from working well. The Bison are a team that keeps applying defensive pressure until the other team makes mistakes, and if Lauletta throws a couple of picks early, that could really make things go south fast.
Why you should bet on the Spiders (+14)
This is a huge line, particularly for the semifinals of the FCS playoffs. Unless the Spiders just fall apart, this should be a game that builds relatively slowly. The Spiders would not have made it to the semifinals without having some poise of their own. They may not have what it takes to outscore the Bison, given NDSU’s stacked defense, but (particularly if Stick is the quarterback for the Bison) this could be a close game.
Expert’s prediction and final score
I’d like the Bison to roll over the Spiders at home. I see the noise as intimidating Richmond and the Bison feasting on the chance to head back to the finals. My final score prediction is 24-7, NDSU.