The Elon Phoenix look to continue their recent success over the Davidson Wildcats when they meet in a non-conference matchup as the teams kick off their FCS spring season on Saturday. Elon, which tied for fifth in the Colonial Athletic Association with Maine, Richmond and Towson at 4-4 and was 5-6 overall in 2019, has won the last two meetings with Davidson, including a 56-0 win the last time they played in 2009. The Wildcats, who placed fourth in the Pioneer Football League at 5-3 and were 8-4 overall last year, have won their last three season openers. Davidson was 4-1 on the road last year, while the Phoenix were 2-3 at home in 2019.
Kickoff from Rhodes Stadium in Elon, N.C., is set for 1:30 p.m. ET. Davidson leads the all-time series 16-2. The Phoenix are 19-point favorites in the latest Davidson vs. Elon odds from William Hill Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is set at 54.5. Before making any Elon vs. Davidson 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.
- Davidson vs. Elon spread: Elon -19
- Davidson vs. Elon over-under: 54.5 points
- Davidson vs. Elon money line: Davidson +700, Elon -1100
- DAV: Returns 10 starters from 2019, five on offense and five on defense
- ELON: Forced 21 turnovers in 2019, finishing with a plus-nine turnover margin
Why Elon can cover
Despite the loss of senior quarterback Davis Cheek, who is out with a foot injury, the Elon offense is still formidable. Elon put together 42 offensive scoring drives last season. Twenty-two of those went for at least 69 yards with 18 going 75 or more. Redshirt sophomore Joey Baughman will get the nod at quarterback on Saturday. He appeared in nine of 11 games, primarily as a rushing threat. He closed the season with 177 rushing yards on 32 carries to average 5.5 yards per rush. He broke a 67-yard touchdown run in the road win at Rhode Island on Oct. 26.
Also returning is junior running back Jaylan Thomas, who played in 11 games, carrying 113 times for 415 yards (3.7 average) and three touchdowns, while catching five passes for 39 yards. He carried 20 times for a season-best 135 yards in the home opener against The Citadel, rushing for two touchdowns. His 135 yards marked the 10th-best rushing total by a CAA ball carrier during the season. He had 14 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown at New Hampshire.
Why Davidson can cover
The Wildcats return senior quarterback Tyler Phelps, who has started in 30 of 33 games played, including every game of his sophomore and junior seasons. He earned All-Pioneer Football League honorable mention, starting in 12 games and completing 63 of 127 pass attempts for 1,139 yards and nine touchdowns. He also rushed for 316 yards on 79 carries and a TD. He connected on four passes for 190 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 25 yards and a score in a road victory at Morehead State. He also completed 13 of 19 passes for 170 yards against San Diego.
Junior wide receiver Jalen Staples is one of Davidson's top returning weapons. He appeared in all 12 games in 2019, catching 22 passes for 489 yards and three touchdowns to earn All-Pioneer Football League honorable mention. He caught three passes for 114 yards at Morehead State on Oct. 5, and made three catches, including a touchdown at Campbell on Sept. 21. He posted 62 yards receiving and a touchdown in a win over Virginia Lynchburg on Sept. 7.
How to make Davidson vs. Elon picks
Hunt has studied the matchup and found a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Davidson vs. Elon? And what crucial X-factor causes one side to hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to jump all over, all from the proven expert who specializes in picking all levels of college football.