South Dakota St. Vs. UNI: FCS Brings Football Back To Sportsbooks

Written By Russ Mitchell on February 19, 2021
uni south dakota state preview

With a forecast low of 2 degrees, it may not feel like it, but “spring” football begins Friday when South Dakota State travels to Northern Iowa.

Yes, it’s a real game to start a real season — both teams begin the trek for real playoff spots and a real FCS championship.

Also, yes, Iowa’s sportsbooks have odds for bettors who want to wager real money. UNI (-112 on the moneyline) is a 3-point underdog to the visiting Jackrabbits (-109) at DraftKings.

The Panthers are +125 at William Hill Sportsbook, while SDSU is -145. The two most popular sportsbooks in Iowa agree on the over/under at 42.

Friday’s 7 p.m. kickoff  takes place inside the cozy confines of the UNI-Dome. ESPN+ will stream the game from Cedar Falls. Iowa sports betting fans can stay on top of the live odds at

South Dakota State vs. UNI football odds

South Dakota St. at UNIDraftKingsWilliam HillBetfredBetRivers
Point SpreadSouth Dakota St -1.5 -109
UNI +1.5 -112
South Dakota St -2 -110
UNI +2 -110
South Dakota St -2 -110
UNI +2 -110
South Dakota St -1.5 -109
UNI +1.5 -112
MoneylineSouth Dakota St -122
UNI +100
South Dakota St -125
UNI +105
South Dakota St -135
UNI +105
South Dakota St -122
UNI +100
Total PointsO 42.5 -110
U 42.5 -110
O 42.5 -110
U 42.5 -110
O 42.5 -110
U 42.5 -110
O 42.5 -110
U 42.5 -110


What bettors can expect from spring FCS football

The Missouri Valley Football Conference is the SEC of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) — known a generation or two ago as “Division I-AA.” This spring, the MVFC members are playing a conference-only, eight-game schedule.

Preseason top 25 rankings are hard to come by, but Athlon’s Craig Haley took a shot. He puts North Dakota State at the top — no surprise, the Bison are Bama of the FCS. Other rated MVFC members are No. 3 UNI, No. 5 South Dakota State, No. 9 Illinois State and No. 13 Southern Illinois.

So, Friday’s contest between the top-five Cats and Rabbits could have conference and playoff implications.

A national FCS betting menu

FCS already had a low-key but interesting start to the spring football season on Feb. 13, when McNeese beat Tarleton State 40-37 in 2OT.

The SDSU-UNI game opens the first true weekend of NCAA spring football.

Credit Anthony Chiusano at, who chased down frequently asked questions surrounding this unprecedented season of spring football.

Among the highlights:

  • The FCS playoffs begin when a 16-team bracket is revealed on Sunday, April 18, instead of the usual 24-team playoff field. Ten of the 16 playoff spots will go to conference champions, leaving just six at-large spots up for grabs.
  • Conferences with automatic bids are: Big Sky, Big South, Colonial Athletic Association, MVFC, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Pioneer Football League, Southern and Southland.
  • The championship game will take place May 15 in Frisco, Texas.

Chad Tolliver, the associate director of NCAA Championships, told

“I’m happy to report that the folks in Frisco are on board and planning to serve as our host again this year in May. We’re all looking forward to being in Frisco in mid-May.”

UNI 2021 spring football schedule

UNI will limit admission to players’ families, the Panther marching band season ticket holders and about 350 student ticket holders. The capacity for the SDSU-UNI game will be 2,715 or around 15%, according to the university.

  • Feb. 19 (Friday) — South Dakota State
  • Feb. 27 — at Youngstown State
  • March 6 — Illinois State
  • March 13 — at Southern Illinois
  • March 20 — Missouri State
  • March 27 — at Western Illinois
  • April 2 (Friday) — at South Dakota
  • April 10 — North Dakota State

Drake 2021 spring football schedule

Drake is a member of the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League, and its conference champion will receive an automatic bid to the FCS playoffs. Dayton and Marist opted out of spring football, so Pioneer League members will play a six-game conference schedule.

  • March 13 — San Diego
  • March 20 — at Valparaiso
  • March 27 — at Stetson
  • April 3 — Valparaiso
  • April 10 — at Butler
  • April 17 — Presbyterian
Photo by Matthew Hinton / AP
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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

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