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Montana State vs. Eastern Washington College Basketball Odds & Pick: How to Bet Big Sky Tournament Championship (March 13) & Pick: How to Bet the Big Sky Tournament Championship (Saturday, March 13)

Montana State vs. Eastern Washington College Basketball Odds & Pick: How to Bet Big Sky Tournament Championship (March 13) & Pick: How to Bet the Big Sky Tournament Championship (Saturday, March 13) article feature image

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Nick Gazelas #2 and Borja Fernandez #23 of the Montana State Bobcats

  • Eastern Washington handled Montana State in the two meetings between the teams earlier this season.
  • The third meeting will come with a trip to the Big Dance on the line.
  • Do the Bobcats stand a chance this time around? Read below to find out.

Big Sky Championship

 Montana State vs. Eastern Washington Odds

Montana State Odds+7.5
Eastern Washington Odds-7.5
Moneyline+260 / -330
Over/Under148.5 (-105 / -115)
Time | TV8 p.m. ET | ESPNU
Odds as of Saturday morning and via William Hill.

Eastern Washington has been the best team in the Big Sky all season, running through opponents like the Kool-Aid man runs through walls. Excluding a strange loss to Idaho State on March 3rd, EWU has beaten opponents by an average of 15 points per game since January 21st. In that time span the Eagles played Montana State twice, crushing the Bobkittens by 16 both times.

Neither of the previous matchups were competitive. MSU took an early lead in both contests, but the Eagles’ offense was too much to overcome as the games progressed. EWU scored 1.27 and 1.23 points per possession against the porous Bobcats’ defense, extremely efficient marks.

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EWU is a tough matchup for MSU because of its ability and will to shoot the three. The Eagles prioritize ball movement, getting out in transition, and bombing away from deep. MSU ranks just ninth in the Big Sky in 3PA rate allowed and ninth in 3P% allowed. Eastern Washington is a scorching 23-of-48 (48%) from 3 against Montana State this season.

Big Sky player of the year Tanner Groves is also a tough matchup for Montana State. Eastern Washington plays through its 6-foot-9 forward in the half-court, feeding him constantly on the block. Groves is averaging 21 PPG and 7.5 RPG against Montana State this year.

On the other end of the floor, EWU has enough size and strength to keep Jubrile Belo off the glass and off the free-throw line. Belo, who ranks second in the country in FT rate, has attempted just six free throws in two games against the Eagles this season.

Eastern Washington’s numbers against ball screens this year have been poor, but the Eagles did a great job limiting MSU point guard Xavier Bishop in the two matchups earlier this season. Bishop is averaging just 9.5 PPG against EWU, down from a season scoring mark of 14.3 PPG. If EWU can at least somewhat contain MSU’s pick-and-roll attack, plus keep Belo away from the glass/rim, winning this Big Sky championship by double-digits shouldn’t be an issue.

Admittedly, the seven-point spread feels a little high for a championship game, but we’ve seen EWU eviscerate MSU twice already this season — the matchup angles just aren’t there for the Cats. Also, if you subscribe to the “tired leg” theory, Montana State is now playing its third game in three days, and Friday it went to overtime with 1-seed Southern Utah.

Pick: Eastern Washington -7

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