Big Sky Bets



If the inaugural season of Big Sky Bets has taught us anything, it’s that the Big Sky Conference is as volatile when it comes to betting lines as it is when it comes to the action on the field.

Last week, not a single favorite covered and, giving us five of our six losses. And after playing toe-to-toe with Weber State in the first half, Northern Arizona gave up 37 second-half points to miss our best investment; we picked NAU to cover as 15.5-point dogs against the Wildcats.

The 0-6 mark leaves a taste worse than Montana’s 49-22 loss at Sac State leaves for the Grizzlies, another beat that many did not expect. Or as sour a taste as Cal Poly has after blowing a 23-14 lead with six minutes left in the third quarter in a 30-26 home loss to North Dakota.

Idaho State seemed like an easy bet to easily cover -6.5 on the road in Moscow. But Idaho proved that the Vandals should are fierce at home. UI moved to 3-1 in the Kibbie Dome thanks in part to three defensive touchdowns that spearheaded a 45-21.

Northern Colorado had lost by at least 17 points five times in seven games entering last week, including losses of 42, 50, and 33 over the last six. So picking Portland State to cover -10.5 on the road didn’t seem outlandish, particularly because the Vikings shut out Idaho the week before, scored 52 against Southern Utah and entered the game having won three of its last four. But UNC won the second half 16-14 to cover by a field goal in one of our worst beats of last weekend.

UC Davis lost three straight earlier this year, falling 27-16 to No. 1 North Dakota State, 45-20 to No. 18 Montana and 38-36 at North Dakota. But the Aggies rallied for a convincing 48-24 win over Cal Poly entering last week’s game against a Southern Utah team that 18 of its last 20 games. UCD as a two-touchdown favorite did not cover in a 33-26 win that kept playoff hopes alive.

Alas, this week the games pack more magnitude and are much more difficult to pick. Therefore, we are certain our results will be much better.

Week 8 Record: 0-6

Overall Record: 29-37-2

Week 9

(All lines provided by 5dimes)

Lock of the Week: Sacramento State -14.5 (Season: 5-3)

Best Investment: Eastern Washington +230 

Over Under Lock: NAU/Portland State Under 75 (Season 4-4)

Saturday October 26

Montana State at North Dakota (pk)                                    O/U 59.5                   11:00 AM

Montana State senior Brayden Konkol makes a tackle against Sac State

Montana State is coming off a desperately needed bye week. The Bobcats are far from healthy and are looking to recover from a beginning to end whooping at the hands of Sacramento State.

North Dakota earned its first road win on the season and returns home where they are undefeated with wins over ranked versions of Sam Houston State and UC Davis. The Bobcat rushing attack will have its hands full with a Fighting Hawk defense that has given up 105 rushing yards per game at home. Montana State’s biggest weakness is at quarterback, and hopefully the off week helped. Jeff Choate is 2-1 off bye weeks since taking over in 2016. I think he will have the Cats prepared.

Pick: Montana State (pk)

Eastern Washington at Montana (-7.5)                    O/U 76                      12:00 PM

Eastern Washington senior Antoine Custer/ by Jason Bacaj

Eastern Washington has won seven of the last 9 meetings against Montana. Montana’s quarterback, Dalton Sneed is doubtful for Saturday’s contest and the Griz will rely on former Boise State transfer Cam Humphrey if their captain quarterback can’t go.

The Eagles are fresh off of a bye week, and are looking to salvage their playoff hopes.The Eagles’ last road trip resulted in the partial benching of Eric Barriere. Eastern turned it around a week later with a win against Northern Colorado, but that’s nothing to write home about.

The Griz opened as a 10 point favorite, but the line has moved to 7.5. Eastern has struggled on the road this year, the Eagles are banged up in the defensive secondary and I think the Griz defense and Washington-Grizzly Stadium will pick up the slack. Montana -7.5. 

Pick: Montana -7.5

Idaho State at Southern Utah (+7.5)                         O/U 61.5                   2:05 PM

Idaho State wide Receiver Mikey Dean breaks loose vs. Montana in 2019/by Brooks Nuanez

The mystery of Idaho State football continued last weekend. The Bengals were out-played by Idaho’s backup quarterback and didn’t seem to enjoy the trip to the panhandle. Playoffs are all but out of reach, but the Bengals cannot lose to Southern Utah if they want to stay in contention. Southern Utah covered last week against UC Davis, and looked the best it had all season. This game screams let down for the Thunderbirds. I think Idaho State rolls.

Pick: Idaho State -7.5

Portland State at Northern Arizona (+2.5)               O/U 75                      4:00 PM

Portland State defenders, featuring linebacker Kasun Jaclett (46)/by Jason Bacaj

Portland State makes the journey to Flagstaff this weekend to take on Case Cookus and the nation’s leading pass attack. Portland State boasts the Big Sky’s best overall defense. Northern Arizona’s defense has been abysmal, especially in the second half of games. The Lumberjacks have been outscored 82-41 after halftime during Big Sky play. This includes a 37-7 second half meltdown against Weber State last weekend. Portland hasn’t played well on the road during Big Sky play. This game is a must-win for both teams if they want to keep the playoff dream alive. I love a home dog and a high powered offense. I’ll take Northern Arizona +2.5.

Pick: Northern Arizona +2.5

Weber State at UC Davis (-2.5)                                     O/U 54.5                   5:00 PM

Ulonzo Gilliam scored three touchdowns on Saturday/ by EWU athletics

UC Davis hung on in Cedar City last week, keeping right on track with its roller coaster season so far. Weber Stats begins its daunting two-game road trip that concludes against Sacramento State next week. The have to win one of the two. The Aggie defense has struggled this year, and the offense has been hit or miss.

Davis senior quarterback Jake Maier, who was also recruited hard by Weber State, has been playing well, but the offensive output has been average. Weber State as a great defense, but didn’t play great in their last road trip. I think the Wildcats play a close game against the Aggies.

Pick: Weber State +2.5

Sacramento State at Cal Poly (+14.5)                                     O/U 63                      6:00 PM

Sacramento State is undefeated against the spread this season, and I think that will continue this week. Cal Poly is a tough out at home, but the defense of Sacramento State is unlike any team they have seen this season. The Mustangs dropped a close one at home last week, but haven’t looked sharp since their 21-0 run in an overtime home loss to Montana State. The Hornets force turnovers, and I think the Mustangs will have plenty of them this weekend. I like Kevin Thomson to light up the Cal Poly defense and cover. Sacramento State -14.5. This is my lock of the week.

Pick: Sac State +14.5

Montana State @ North Dakota(pick em)O/U 59.511:00 AM
Pick: Montana State (pk)
Eastern Washington @ Montana(-7.5)O/U 7612:00 PM
Pick: Montana (-7.5)
Idaho State @ Southern Utah(+7.5)O/U 61.52:05 PM
Pick: Idaho State +7.5
Portland State @ Northern Arizona(+2.5)O/U 754:00 PM
Pick: Northern Arizona +2.5
Weber State @ UC Davis(-2.5)O/U 54.55:00 PM
Pick: Weber State +2.5
Sacramento State @ Cal Poly(+14.5)O/U 636:00 PM
Pick: Sac State -14.5

About Sam Lewis

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