Pick the Lines Around the Big Sky



Editor’s Note: This is the first installment in a weekly picks column presented by Skyline Sports. Skyline Sports does not directly endorse sports gambling.

Week 1

Lock of the Week: Texas Tech -25

Best Investment: Montana +145

Over/Under Lock of the Week: Weber State/San Diego State OVER 36.5

Thursday August 28

Missouri State at Northern Arizona (-3.5)           O/U 58                  7:00 PM

NAU quarterback Case Cookus is back. He did not participate in the 40-8 shellacking that the ‘Jacks took last year in in Springfield. MSU returns quarterback Peyton Huslig, who threw for 4 interceptions in that win. NAU’s first year head coach Chris Ball will have his hands full with Missouri State running back Donovan Daniels who has had a strong fall camp. Cookus’ return is the deciding factor. Northern Arizona (-3.5) will cover at home on Thursday.

Pick: Northern Arizona -3.5

Northern Colorado at San Jose State (-10.5)       O/U 59.5               7:00 PM

UNC quarterback Jacob Knipp has had an injury bug for the past three years, but the talented quarterback is healthy for this year’s opener in San Jose. SJSU is coming off of a 1-11 year where their offense averaged 17.5 points per game and started the season with a loss to eventual Big Sky champion UC Davis. The projected 2019 Mountain West Conference last-place team will be put to the test in the only game they are a favorite in this season. The Bears have a realistic chance to cover the 10.5-point spread.

Pick: Northern Colorado +10.5

Saturday Saturday 31

Eastern Washington at Washington (-21)            O/U 54.5               1:00 PM

Eastern Washington quarterback Eric Barriere (3) in the open field vs North Dakota State/by Brooks Nuanez

The FCS runner-up starts out with an FBS powerhouse to start the season. Eastern Washington lost 15 All Big Sky players from last year’s team, but they always seem to reload. The Jacob Eason era begins in Seattle this weekend and UW head coach always covers against FCS teams in season openers. EWU sophomore quarterback Eric Barriere will keep it close in the first half, but Washington (-21) will cover on Lake Washington.

Pick: Washington -21

Montana at South Dakota (-3.5)       O/U 69.5                 1:00 PM

Montana quarterback Dalton Sneed (11)/by Jason Bacaj

Dante Olson & Dalton Sneed. These two seniors have a pretty bad taste in their mouth from the end of last year’s season. Head coach Bobby Hauck has had enough time to get his fingerprints on this program and I think that will show this season. South Dakota returns a lot of talent on a defense that gave up 30 points per game last year. Montana has too much returning talent and should win this game outright. Take Montana (+3.5).

Pick: Montana +3.5

Idaho at Penn State (-36.5)                                    O/U 58.5                1:30 PM

Idaho head coach Paul Petrino/ by Brooks Nuanez

Seventh- year head coach Paul Petrino returns more than half of his starters from an underwhelming season in Idaho’s return to the Big Sky last year. Trace McSorley era is over at Penn State, and James Franklin is taking his time announcing a quarterback. However, Idaho walks into Beaver Stadium with a 5-foot-10 starting QB. That’s all you needed to know. Penn State (-36.5) is the pick.

Pick: Penn State -36.5

Montana State at Texas Tech (-25)                   O/U 60                  2:00 PM

Montana State fourth-year head coach Jeff Choate/by Brooks Nuanez

Montana State redshirt freshman quarterback Casey Bauman will make his first career start on the road against Texas Tech and first-year head coach Matt Wells. Wells took over a talented roster and will be out to get a hot start to the 2019 season. MSU new defensive coordinator Kane Ioane and his cornerbacks will have to try and keep up with TTU’s WR talent and depth if they want to keep it close. Bauman is talented but don’t expect much success for the freshman on the road in front of 60,000 fans.Texas Tech (-25) will cover at home.

Pick: Texas Tech -25

Portland State at Arkansas (-28.5)                   O/U 60.5             2:00 PM

Portland State head coach Bruce Barnum/ by Jason Bacaj

Portland State’s defense struggled last year, and there doesn’t seem to be much improvement coming this year. They have a strong 2019 recruiting class coming in, but youth never helps on the road. Arkansas has a new head coach in Chad Morris and will be announcing a new quarterback shortly. They return some key defensive players and look to be much better than last year. Arkansas (-28.5) will pick up a big win at home.

Pick: Arkansas -28.5

San Diego at Cal Poly (-7.5)                             O/U 67.5                   3:00 PM

Cal Poly is coming off of a 1-10 season and faces a Pioneer League powerhouse in San Diego. San Diego hasn’t lost a conference game since 2015, but has to replace their starting quarterback. They have a defense that returns a majority of starters. Cal Poly is replacing a lot in their backfield and offensive line, but has a veteran defense. Quarterback is a big question for San Diego, but they are consistent. I like San Diego (+7.5) to cover on the road.

Pick: San Diego +7.5

UC Davis at Cal (-13)             O/U 50.5                   4:30 PM

Sep 2, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; UC Davis Aggies quarterback Jake Maier (15) throws a pass over San Diego State Aztecs cornerback Parie Dedeaux Jr. (14) during the first quarter at San Diego Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Cal head coach Justin Wilcox has a challenge with UC Davis. UCD beat San Jose State last year and was competitive with Stanford. Cal has a lot of question marks at quarterback and has a weak offensive line. Dan Hawkins is a veteran coach and will have his team ready to play. They should be better than they were last year. We like UC Davis (+13) to cover and potentially win this game outright.

Pick: UC Davis +13

Weber State at San Diego State (-7.5)   O/U 36.5                   7:00 PM

Weber State redshirt freshman running back Josh Davis/ WSU athletics

Weber State begins the road to three straight Big Sky conference titles on the road against an offensively talented San Diego State team. Weber State is forced to reload on defense this year, but returns quite a bit of talent on offense. San Diego State returns Senior QB Ryan Agnew and the advantage seems more than 7 points. I like San Diego State -7.5 to cover at home. And I’m betting the ranch on the Over 36.5.

Pick: San Diego State -7.5. Over 36.5.

Southern Oregon at Sacramento State (-19.5)    O/U 58.5    7:00 PM

Former Eastern Washington offensive coordinator Troy Taylor, now the head coach at Sacramento State/by Brooks Nuanez

Troy Taylor starts his campaign at Sacramento State with an NAIA opponent. Sac St didn’t win a conference game last year and looks to rebound with an experienced offense. There are questions on defense but I think Sacramento State has the talent to cover this one. I like Sacramento State (-19.5).

Pick: Sacramento State -19.5

Southern Utah at UNLV (-24)                   O/U 70.5          8:00 PM

Southern Utah head coach DeMario Warren

Southern Utah looks to get back on track after a 1-10 season last year. Seven starters return to a defense that really struggled last year (117th in FCS). There are a lot of questions at QB for the T-Birds but there are none for UNLV. Starting QB Armani Rogers returns behind a stable offensive line this year. UNLV boasts a very talented defensive front. I don’t see this game being close. UNLV -24 at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Pick: UNLV -24

Sam Lewis is a native of Moscow, Idaho who moved to Bozeman, Montana in 2011 to attend Montana State. He graduated from MSU with a master’s in accounting in 2016. Sam works in the accounting profession in Bozeman. He grew up attending games at Washington State and Idaho, developing his life-long love of sports. He is very interested in sports gambling and the impact it will have on the state of Montana.




Missouri State at Northern Arizona
(-3.5)            58 7:00 PM
Pick: Northern Arizona -3.5

Northern Colorado at San Jose State
(-10.5)        59.5                7:00 PM
Pick: Northern Colorado +10.5  

Eastern Washington at Washington (-21)             (-21)             54.5                1:00 PM
Pick: Washington -21

Montana at South Dakota (-3.5)                           69.5                 1:00 PM
Pick: Montana +3.5  

Idaho at Penn State (-36.5)                           58.5                 1:30 PM
Pick: Penn State -36.5  

Montana State at Texas Tech (-25)                           60                   2:00 PM
Pick: Texas Tech -25  

Portland State at Arkansas (-28.5)                           60.5 2:00 PM
Pick: Arkansas -28.5  

San Diego at Cal Poly (-28.5)                           67.5 3:00 PM
Pick: San Diego +7.5  

UC Davis at Cal (-13)                           50.5 4:30 PM
Pick: UC Davis +13  

Weber State at San Diego State (-7.5)                           36.5 7:00 PM
Pick: San Diego State -7.5. Over 36.5  

Southern Oregon at Sacramento State (-19.5)                           58.5 7:00 PM
Pick: Sacramento State -19.5

Southern Utah at UNLV   (-24)          70.5     8:00 PM
Pick: UNLV -24      

Photos by Brooks Nuanez or noted. All Rights Reserved.

About Sam Lewis

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