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USATSI

The Grambling State Tigers will open their FCS spring season when they take on the Jackson State Tigers in a Southwestern Athletic Conference matchup on Saturday. Jackson State (1-0), coached by Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, opened its season on Feb. 21 and posted a 53-0 win over NAIA-level Edward Waters in Sanders' head coaching debut. Jackson State finished fourth in the SWAC East Division at 3-4 and was 4-8 overall in 2019. Grambling State, which had last week's opener against Prairie View A&M postponed due to COVID-19 protocols, tied for second with Prairie View at 4-3 in the SWAC West and was 6-5 overall a year ago.

Kickoff from Eddie Robinson Stadium in Grambling, La., is set for 1 p.m. ET. Grambling State leads the all-time series 46-23-1. Grambling State is a 10.5-point favorite in the latest Jackson State vs. Grambling State odds from William Hill Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is set at 49.5. Before making any Grambling State vs. Jackson State 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.

Now, Hunt has set his sights on Jackson State vs. Grambling State. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several college football odds and trends for Grambling State vs. Jackson State:

  • Jackson State vs. Grambling State spread: Grambling State -10.5
  • Jackson State vs. Grambling State over-under: 49.5 points
  • JSU: Allowed just 104 yards against Edward Waters, the Tigers' best performance in more than 10 years
  • GS: Had two players named to the All-SWAC spring second team - senior offensive lineman Kyree Wade-McLeod and redshirt junior defensive back Kenan Fontenot

Why Grambling State can cover 

Grambling State returns its starting quarterback in redshirt senior Geremy Hickbottom, who appeared in all 11 games and is the team's main offensive weapon. He completed 171 of 285 passes (60 percent) for 1,804 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was intercepted seven times, but had a rating of 122.15. He also led the team in rushing, carrying 124 times for 668 yards (5.4 average) and six touchdowns. Against Jackson State last season, he completed 14 of 22 passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He also rushed 11 times for 55 yards.

The Tigers also return their top receiving target in redshirt sophomore Lyndon Rash, who led the team with 33 receptions for 419 yards (12.7 average) and six touchdowns in 2019. His best game was a seven-reception, 57-yard performance at Louisiana Tech on Sept. 7. At Jackson State on Oct. 5, he caught four passes for 39 yards and a season-high two touchdowns. In that game, he also rushed twice for 39 yards, including a 35-yarder.

Why Jackson State can cover

Despite that, Grambling State is not a lock to cover the Jackson State vs. Grambling State spread. That's because Jackson State has a powerful defense, which dominated Edward Waters in the season opener. It held EWC to 21 rushing yards and to just over two yards per play. Junior linebacker Keonte Hampton led Jackson State with eight tackles, including five solo. Last season, Hampton played in 12 games and registered 106 tackles, including 69 solo, with 13 tackles for loss for 50 yards and 4 ½ sacks for 32 yards. He forced one fumble and had one pass breakup.

Offensively, sophomore quarterback Jalon Jones was nearly perfect against Edwards Waters. He completed 17 of 19 passes (89.5 percent) for 163 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed seven times for 39 yards (5.6 average) and one TD. Last season, Jones played in 11 games, completing 54 of 111 passes for 882 yards and nine touchdowns. He also rushed 93 times for 395 yards.  

How to make Grambling State vs. Jackson State 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 Grambling State vs. Jackson State? 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.