FCS Playoffs Semifinal: Incarnate Word At North Dakota State Odds

Written By Brett Gibbons on December 14, 2022
north dakota state odds

The college football FCS Playoffs have reached the semifinals. The Incarnate Word Cardinals (12-1) visit the defending-champion North Dakota State Bison (11-2) on Friday, Dec. 16 at 7:00 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on ESPN and a spot in Frisco, Texas is up for grabs. The Bison are favorites and the point total is set at a lofty . Below, we’ll look at Incarnate Word at North Dakota State odds and a betting preview of the game.

Follow along with TheLines for the remainder of the FCS Playoffs, as well as college football bowl game odds.

Incarnate Word at North Dakota State Odds

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Incarnate Word: The Nation’s Best Offense

The most prolific offense in college football this season doesn’t reside in Knoxville, Tenn., or Columbus, Ohio. It comes from San Antonio, Texas, in the form of the Incarnate Word Cardinals. Head coach GJ Kinne did such a terrific job with this team– who won 12 games in his first season– that he was hired away by Texas State. However, Kinne will coach out the remainder of the playoffs.

Probable FCS Player of the Year Lindsey Scott threw 59 touchdowns and just six interceptions this season. He also added nine rushing touchdowns, including 290 yards in the last two Playoff games combined. Scott, a transfer from Nicholls State, almost single-handedly won Incarnate Word their quarterfinal over Sacramento State, 66-63.

Over their last four games, three of which in the playoffs, the Cardinals averaged 61.5 points per game. On the season, they averaged 53 points per game. Aside from having Scott on the field, Incarnate Word runs one of the highest-tempo offenses of any level in college football.

The only offense rated better by the SP+ is South Dakota State, FCS’ top overall seed.

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North Dakota State: An Infallible Dynasty

In January, the North Dakota State Bison hoisted their ninth FCS championship trophy in the last 11 seasons. The Bison are an NFL QB factory among the FCS ranks, from Easton Stick and Carson Wentz to Trey Lance. Since 2011, NDSU has an incomprehensible 149-12 record (.925).

Contrast to recent seasons, NDSU wins games by an avalanche of points to mask a subpar defense by program standards. QB Cam Miller heads a rushing attack that’s been the bread and butter for the Bison this season. Miller leads the team with 14 rushing touchdowns on just 91 carries (15.4% TD rate!), but an impressive eight different players recorded a rushing touchdown this season.

Two running backs are worth note in the offense: senior Kobe Johnson (103-766-5) and SMU transfer TaMerik Williams (92-679-8). 321 of Johnson’s yards came in the first two rounds of the playoff as he overtook the RB1 duties, but both backs average 7.4 yards per carry on the season. Johnson’s emergence into the offense followed fullback Hunter Luepke’s season-ending injury on Nov. 12.

North Dakota State should find success Incarnate Word’s rushing defense. The Cardinals allowed two 100-yard rushers and another 87 yards from QB Asher O’Hara last round.

Who Makes Frisco?

North Dakota State is a big favorite for a reason. They’re battle-tested, continuity in the coaching ranks, and championship-proven. Incarnate Word is one of the best stories and best watches in all of college football this season, but their magic is likely to run out against the Bison on Friday.

With high-total games comes high variance. Scott and Incarnate Word undoubtably have the scheme and talent to score on North Dakota State, but if again tested with needing a 29-point fourth quarter to win, that’s a tough bet to make outright.

The FCS market is a weak one and opportunities lie for bettors. Bill Connelly’s SP+ favors NDSU by 4.4 points while Sagarin’s college football rankings favor NDSU by 5.8 points. This game is played at the Fargodome, a climate-controlled environment conducive to offense. In this game, I’ll be looking over 71.5 points and for Incarnate Word to cover 9.5 points. However, there’s no harm in waiting up to kickoff to see if namesake will push the spread toward NDSU another point or two.

Ultimately, I won’t pick Incarnate Word to win because of their propensity to give up rushing yards to the QB. Miller is the most dangerous runner on the Bison.

Brett Gibbons Avatar
Written by
Brett Gibbons

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s a graduate of BGSU and works as an auditor for Google content curation products. He’s also contributed to Sports Illustrated and Fansided during his young writing career.

View all posts by Brett Gibbons