FRISCO, Texas — A popular online betting site has re-installed James Madison as a 1.5-point favorite over North Dakota State in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision title game Saturday.
5Dimes Sportsbook, an offshore site based in Costa Rica and one that many Bison fans use to see how their team stacks up with weekly opponents, has set the over-under bet on total points in the game at 43.5. Cold, snowy conditions in Frisco appear to have affected the betting line.
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James Madison getting tagged with the role as slight favorite Saturday morning continues a yo-yo few weeks for the betting line.
After beating Montana State in the semifinals Dec. 22, 5dimes pegged the Bison as 1.5-point favorite. The game was changed to a pick-em a few days later before James Madison became a 1-point favorite on Dec. 30.
JMU increased to a 2-point favorite on Jan. 1, slid back to a 1.5-point favorite a couple of days later and became a pick-em again Thursday. NDSU was a 1.5-favorite as recently as Friday afternoon.
The narrow odds mean, essentially, that the game is too close to call. The lines move when betting leans toward one team and more money comes in on that team.
A spokesman for 5Dimes, answering questions via email, said the company was established in 1996 and is one of the longest standing offshore sportsbooks that accepts U.S. customers.
"5Dimes posts more proposition wagers than any other book and you will find over 1,000 wagering options every day," the spokesman said.
5Dimes makes its own betting lines for FCS games. The spokesman said a typical FCS game generates about 25% of the betting action of a typical Power Five FBS game involving teams from the major conferences.
He said NDSU games generate the most betting activity, although the action on the championship game is "way lower" than typical FCS games.
The FCS title game does not fall among the most popular U.S. sporting events in terms of wagering. The 5Dimes spokesman said they are, in order of most popular to less popular, the Super Bowl, the Final Four, the World Cup and the Olympics (fast events such as 100 meters in swimming and track and field).