The Robert Morris Colonials kick off their FCS spring football season when they take on the second-ranked James Madison Dukes on Saturday. James Madison (1-0) opened its season last week with a 52-0 thumping of Morehead State. The Dukes won the Colonial Athletic Association championship at 8-0 and were 14-2 overall in 2019, losing to North Dakota State in the FCS championship game. Robert Morris, which will be competing in the Big South this season, finished second in the Northeast Conference at 6-1 and was 7-5 overall a year ago.
Kickoff from Bridgeforth Stadium in Harrisonburg, Va., is set for noon ET. The Dukes are 38.5-point favorites in the latest Robert Morris vs. James Madison odds from William Hill Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is 54. Before making your Robert Morris vs. James Madison 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.
- James Madison vs. Robert Morris spread: James Madison -38.5
- James Madison vs. Robert Morris over-under: 54 points
- RMU: The Colonials return 42 letter-winners and 14 starters from 2019
- JMU: Defensive lineman Mikail Kamara was named Rookie of the Week against Morehead State
Why James Madison can cover
The Dukes opened their season in a big way, piling up 556 yards of total offense in the win over Morehead State. The Dukes rushed for 369 yards, led by senior running back Percy Agyei-Obese, who ran for 116 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries (8.9 average). Last season, Agyei-Obese led the team in rushing, playing in all 16 games with two starts. He carried 259 times for 1,216 yards (4.7 average) and 19 touchdowns. He was a first-team All-CAA running back.
Also powering the Dukes is redshirt senior quarterback Cole Johnson. He completed 10-of-14 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown for a rating of 183.2 against Morehead State. Johnson played in eight games a year ago and served as the No. 2 quarterback. For the season, he completed 14 of 20 passes for 118 yards and three scores. He also rushed five times for 37 yards and a touchdown.
Why Robert Morris can cover
Despite that, the Dukes are not a lock to cover the Robert Morris vs. James Madison spread. That's because the Colonials return six starters on offense, including redshirt junior quarterback George Martin. In 11 games last season, Martin completed 102-of-196 passes (52 percent) for 1,348 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also rushed for three scores. For his career, Martin has played in 20 games for Robert Morris, passing for 1,573 yards and 13 scores.
Redshirt junior running back Alijah Jackson also returns and is a huge part of the Colonials' offense. He is coming off a season in which he ranked second in the NEC in average rushing yards per game at 88.3, and was third in all-purpose yards at 103.5. Jackson was named to the All-NEC first team after rushing for 971 yards on 185 carries and scoring four touchdowns. He also caught 13 passes for 92 yards. For his career, he has carried 290 times for 1,539 yards (5.3 average) and nine scores.
How to make James Madison vs. Robert Morris 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 James Madison vs. Robert Morris? 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.