EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
Get ESPN+

Best bets for FCS national championship

North Dakota State won the championship last season in Chris Klieman's last season with the Bison. Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports

We don't have to wait until Monday for a national champion to be crowned in football. The FCS championship game is this weekend in Frisco, Texas. For the ninth consecutive year, North Dakota State or James Madison will take home the FCS crown. ESPN betting analysts Phil Steele and Bill Connelly break down the matchup and give their picks on the heavyweight battle.

Note: Picks from Caesars Sportsbook lines as of Wednesday night.


Saturday's FCS championship game

James Madison Dukes (-1.5, 50) vs. North Dakota State Bison

Steele: These teams have been No. 1 and No. 2 in my power ratings all season. This is the third playoff matchup between the schools in the past four seasons. James Madison knocked the Bison out of the playoffs in the semifinals in 2016, and in 2017 North Dakota State won the national title game over JMU. Both teams have first-year head coaches, with Curt Cignetti having the edge with this being his ninth year overall as a head coach, but Matt Entz has the advantage of being at North Dakota State since 2014.