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Celebration Bowl: Jackson State vs NC Central Prediction, Preview, Stream, Odds & Picks

Tigers Look to Cap Undefeated Season

Jackson State Begins Life After Deion

It has been quite the last couple of weeks at Jackson State as head coach Deion Sanders accepted the job at Colorado and is bringing some players with him, including star quarterback Shedeur Sanders and highly touted freshman Travis Hunter.

Jackson State is 60 minutes away from a perfect season when the Tigers play the North Carolina Central Eagles in the Celebration Bowl.

Running back Isaiah Totten #25 of the North Carolina Central Eagles runs in a touchdown
Isaiah Totten - Mike Comer / Getty Images via AFP

Jackson State is making its second straight appearance in the Celebration Bowl. Jackson State is looking for its first HBCU national title since 1996.

NC Central features both the offensive player of the year (quarterback Davius Richard) and defensive player of the year (defensive back Khalil Baker) in the MEAC. The Eagles will be tested by the No. 1 defense at the Football Championship Subdivision level.

Jackson State is ranked fifth in the FCS Coaches poll with NC Central coming in at No. 21.

The NCAA football odds list Jackson State as a 16-point favorite.

Let’s check the latest college football odds, stats, injury reports, and college football lines for Jackson State vs NC Central. We’ve plenty of NCAA football odds for you to consider.

Eyeing the Upset

Trei Oliver hasn’t received anywhere near the attention as a head coach as Jackson State’s Sanders. However, he returned to his alma mater and by Year Four had North Carolina Central celebrating as MEAC champions.

Latrell Collier had yet another productive performance in the MEAC championship game with 130 rushing yards and the ability to run the ball will be key against a stingy Jackson State defense.

The Tigers had the ball for 33 of the 60 minutes in the first 11 games of the season and controlling the ball to keep Jackson State’s offense on the sidelines will be crucial for a college football team listed by the Celebration Bowl betting odds as a heavy underdog to pull off the upset.

It has been a pretty impressive one-year jump as NC Central was outscored 268-287 a season ago.

The defense is led by Jaki Bernard, who has 9½ tackles for loss and three sacks, while Khalil Baker has four interceptions.

Six of North Carolina Central’s last nine games would have finished over the college football betting lines total.

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Eyeing Perfection

Jackson State’s defense is the main reason why the Tigers are undefeated this season.

The defense has allowed one offensive touchdown or less in eight of the 12 games. In the first 11 minutes of the SWAC title game, the Tigers forced three turnovers and had a pair of sacks.

Jackson State’s first two touchdowns were scored after the defense gave the ball to the offense on the 1- and 14-yard lines. They have 48 sacks, 13 interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries.

Southern University did manage 412 yards of offense against Jackson State, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Tigers from repeating as SWAC champions in the conference title game two weeks ago.

Running back Ty’Veon Wilkerson ran for 1,115 yards after transferring from Delaware State. Will he be joining his former head coach at Colorado?

Something of interest to those who bet online: Jackson State being favored by 16 points in the largest line among this year’s bowl games.

Jackson State vs NC Central Head-to-Head

The teams are meeting for the first time since 1987.

Jackson State won each of the previous three meetings, winning 29-10 in 1980, 49-37 in 1986 and 10-9 in 1987.

The only common opponent for the teams during the 2022 season was Campbell. Jackson State posted a 22-14 win while North Carolina Central lost 48-14 to Campbell.

Jackson State vs NC Central Game Information

  • Game: Jackson State 12-0 (8-0 in the SWAC) vs North Carolina Central 9-2 (4-1 MEAC).
  • When: Saturday, Dec. 17, Noon ET
  • Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
  • Jackson State vs NC Central Live Stream: ESPN

Jackson State vs NC Central Betting Lines

Jackson State vs NC Central Picks & Prediction

Deion Sanders made it clear that he plans on bringing some of his players with him as he takes over a Colorado program that is coming off a 1-11 season. That needs to be considered when looking at this matchup.

NC Central scored more than 45 points a total of five times during the regular season and will look to test Jackson State’s dominating defense. The college football betting lines are calling for the Tigers to be the one celebrating at the end of the Celebration Bowl.

Both programs are 0-1 in the Celebration Bowl so a first-time champion will be crowned in what is considered the HBCU championship game. The MEAC has won five of the six Celebration Bowls, but SWAC champion Jackson State is a double-digit favorite in this one with the total currently at 56.

Each of the last two Celebration Bowls were decided by at least 20 points. Can North Carolina Central take advantage of the upheaval within the Jackson State program to make a game of it?

The Jackson State Tigers are listed at -750 in our Vegas NCAAF lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Tigers, you have a chance to win $13. The North Carolina Central Eagles are +520, offering a chance to win $520 on a $100 wager.

The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives Jackson State a 88.24% chance to win, with North Carolina Central at 16.13%.

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