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Ride James Madison to Score Early vs Marshall

James Madison, in just its second season playing at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, is one of 11 remaining undefeated teams. That perfect record will be at risk when the Dukes head to face a Marshall team that is undefeated at home. The college football predictions have visiting James Madison favored in the Thursday night matchup.

When the teams met last season, visiting Marshall won 26-12 when listed as the 9½-point underdog. With James Madison recently making the jump to the FBS level, there isn’t much history between the teams. Both squads also own wins over ACC teams in 2023.

Ride James Madison to Score Early vs Marshall
Ride James Madison to Score Early vs Marshall

This could be a pretty good matchup to showcase the Sun Belt Conference with the air airing on ESPN on Thursday night.

James Madison’s calling card is its defense as the Dukes are one of three Sun Belt teams to allow less than five yards per offensive play. Marshall has dropped its last two games after a 4-0 start.

The college football betting lines have the Dukes as 3½-point favorites.

Marshall is 5-9 outright as the home underdog dating back to a 2011 loss to Virginia Tech. The last time that the Thundering Herd was the underdog at home, they came away with a 28-21 win over Appalachian State on Nov. 21, 2022.

James Madison is 4-1 as a road favorite since making the jump to the FBS level.

James Madison is without defensive lineman Abi Nwabuoku-Okonji and running back Solomon Vanhorse.

For Marshall, Ayden Conley and tight end Cade Conley, who is tied for second on the team with 18 catches, are both questionable.

James Madison is in its final season a two-year transition to the FBS level and is ineligible for the Sun Belt title. Marshall (+850) is fifth in the odds to win the Sun Belt championship.

Dukes Starting On Time

It might be best to try to get to James Madison early. The Dukes have outscored their first six opponents 68-7 in the first quarter. Virginia was the only team to score against JMU and the Dukes already led by 14 points at the time.

James Madison ranks eighth nationally with 11.3 points per game in the first quarter. The Dukes allow just 1.2 points per game in the opening quarter of games.

They have not trailed in each of the last three games. Don’t be surprised to see the Dukes take control of things in the first quarter once again on Thursday. That will be among the best college football bets on Thursday.

Expect Back-And-Forth Battle

This has the potential to be a pretty tight affair. Marshall is tied for fourth in the Sun Belt when it comes to allowing touchdowns during drives into the red zone.

Just nine of the opponent’s 18 drives that reached the red zone ended with touchdowns being scored.

It is understandable why James Madison is favored in this game, but don’t expect the Dukes to come into town and run away with this game.

Marshall has played two ACC opponents, topping Virginia Tech and losing to North Carolina State. Keep that in mind when looking at this matchup.

James Madison and Marshall rank first and second in the Sun Belt in both interceptions and sacks so while both defenses can give up yards, they also put pressure on the offensive teams.

Three of the 12 Sun Belt players with at least two interceptions this season are set to take part in this matchup. Led by James Madison’s Jalen Green, who has eight sacks, three of the top four sack leaders in the Sun Belt come from these two squads.

It is not all about the defense as Marshall’s Rasheen Ali leads the Sun Belt with 11 touchdown runs.

Madison vs Thundering Herd

  • Game: Madison (6-0, 3-0 Sun Belt) vs Thundering Herd (4-2, 1-1)
  • Location: Joan C Edwards Stadium, Huntington, WV
  • Date/Time: Thursday, Oct. 19, 7 p.m. ET
  • James Madison vs Marshall Thundering Herd Live Stream: ESPN


Which team will have the most passing yards in the game?

Marshall averages 20 more passing yards per game than the Dukes and has attempted 44 more passes, so go with the Thundering Herd to have more passing yards.

Which player will have the most touchdowns in the game?

Marshall’s Rasheen Ali has 35 career touchdowns and he is always a threat to have a game with multiple TDs.

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