Ranked and unbeaten FCS teams square off when the ninth-ranked Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens meet the No. 21-ranked Rhode Island Rams in a key Colonial Athletic Association matchup on Saturday. The Blue Hens (2-0), who finished ninth in the league at 3-5 and were 5-7 overall in 2019, have started their spring slate strong with wins over Maine (37-0) and Stony Brook (31-3). The Rams (2-0), who placed 12th in the CAA at 0-8 and 2-10 overall last season, defeated No. 6 Villanova 40-37 before knocking off No. 18 Albany 17-10 last week, both games in overtime. Delaware is coming off an unscheduled bye after its game at New Hampshire was postponed due to COVID-19-related protocols within the New Hampshire program.
Kickoff from Meade Stadium in Kingstown, R.I., is set for noon ET. Delaware leads the all-time series 23-10, including a 9-7 edge in games played at Kingstown. The Blue Hens are 9.5-point favorites in the latest Delaware vs. Rhode Island odds from William Hill Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is set at 49.5. Before making any Rhode Island vs. Delaware picks, you'll want to see the latest college football predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's Emory Hunt.
Hunt is the founder and CEO of Football Gameplan, which has been supplying analysis of all levels of football since 2007, and a former running back at Louisiana-Lafayette. He knows the game from a player's perspective, and is a specialist when it comes to picking all levels of college football. He enjoyed a dominant 2019 season, going 116-79 against the spread while returning nearly $3,000 to $100 bettors.
- Delaware vs. Rhode Island spread: Delaware -9.5
- Delaware vs. Rhode Island over-under: 49.5 points
- Delaware vs. Rhode Island money line: Delaware -350; Rhode Island +280
- DEL: After two weeks of play, the Blue Hens rank first nationally in scoring defense at 1.5 points per game, and fifth in total defense, allowing 192 yards per game
- RI: The Rams have a chance to defeat three ranked opponents in as many games for the first time in program history
Why Delaware can cover
The Blue Hens have been able to put up points so far this season and are averaging 34 points per game. One of the reasons has been the play of redshirt junior quarterback Nolan Henderson, who has completed 34 of 51 passes for four touchdowns and one interception. He has a 148.09 passing efficiency, and has also carried the ball 12 times for 33 yards (2.8 average) and one score. Henderson, a fourth-year member of the program, appeared in nine games for the Blue Hens in 2019, completing 71 of 126 passes for nine touchdowns. He also rushed for one TD.
Henderson's favorite target is senior wide receiver Gene Coleman II. He has 11 receptions for 113 yards (10.3 average) and one touchdown. Coleman played in 12 games for the Blue Hens last year, making 24 catches for 245 yards and three TDs. His best game was an eight-catch, 104-yard and one-touchdown performance at Villanova on Nov. 23. He also had five catches for 61 yards and a touchdown at FBS Pittsburgh on Sept. 28.
Why Rhode Island can cover
Despite that, the Blue Hens are not a lock to cover the Delaware vs. Rhode Island spread. That's because the Rams are proving they too can put up some points. Rhode Island is fourth in the conference at 28.5 points per game and is led by redshirt freshman running back Kevin Brown Jr., who is averaging 94.5 rushing yards per game, which ranks fourth among CAA players. Brown is averaging 5.7 yards per carry and is tied for second in the conference with four rushing TDs. He was named the CAA Football Co-Offensive Player of the Week following his Rhode Island debut in which he ran for 141 yards and four touchdowns at Villanova on March 13.
Also powering the offense is redshirt junior quarterback Kasim Hill, who has scored game-winning touchdowns in each of his first two games for the Rams. Last Saturday, his 25-yard touchdown run on the first snap of overtime provided the winning points at Albany. The previous week, his two-yard scoring run was the difference at Villanova. Hill is fifth among league quarterbacks with 181.5 passing yards per game. He is 31 of 53 for 363 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
How to make Rhode Island vs. Delaware picks
Hunt has studied the matchup and found a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Rhode Island vs. Delaware? And what crucial X-factor causes one side of the spread to hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the proven expert who specializes in picking all levels of college football.