Montana vs. Weber State College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Do Grizzlies Have Wildcats’ Number? (Thursday, February 3)
Photo by Tommy Martino/University of Montana via Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Bannan (Montana)
- Montana and Weber State square off in a critical matchup that could have major Big Sky conference title implications.
- The Grizzlies have had the Wildcats' number as of late though, as they won the first meeting between the two this season.
- Keg breaks down why this spread is way too high in favor of the Wildcats.
Montana vs. Weber State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Weber State Odds|
-110o / -110u
The Montana Grizzlies will travel to Ogden, Utah for a Big Sky matchup against the top team in the conference in Weber State.
Montana enters this game riding high, as it’s currently on a four-game winning streak.
In its last game, Montana took down Eastern Washington, 61-59. It was an amazing defensive performance from the Grizzlies, as they held Eastern Washington — which averages 74.3 points per game — to just 59 points in the contest.
This matchup will be the beginning of a busy stretch for the Grizzlies, as Weber State will be their first of three games over the next five days.
The Thursday-Saturday-Monday schedule isn’t normal in Big Sky play, but has been used in the past due to COVID-19 scheduling. Monday’s game against Southern Utah is a re-scheduling of a matchup that was previously postponed.
Weber State, meanwhile, has not lost a game since the first of the year, as it’s currently on a seven-game win streak. At 10-1 in the conference, the Wildcats have seemed nearly unstoppable in league play. The team’s only blemish came on the road against these Montana Grizzlies.
A win for the Grizzlies on Thursday will earn them a series sweep of Weber State. It could also be a key tiebreaker in the chase for the regular-season conference title that seems to be coming down to Weber State, Montana State, Montana and Southern Utah.
Historically, the series has been close, with Weber State holding a 72-62 record over Montana. But as of late, it’s been all Montana, as the Grizzlies are 8-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Wildcats.
In Ogden though, the Wildcats have had a huge margin of success, posting a 46-17 record against the Grizzlies on their home court. Can they hold them off once again at home on Thursday night?
Offensively, the Grizzlies are averaging 67.9 points per game and are shooting 43% from the field overall. Montana hasn’t been a great scoring team — there’s no doubt about that — as it ranks outside the top 200 in both 2- and 3-point shooting.
But because of their defense, the Grizzlies haven’t needed the offensive success.
Josh Bannan leads the Grizzlies on offense, putting up 13.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. But since Christmas, he’s been even more productive for the team.
In his last eight games dating back to December 30th, Bannan is averaging 17.3 points and nine rebounds per contest. He’s also scored in double figures in every game, broken 20 points twice and has recorded four double doubles.
However, it’s far from a one-man show. Bannan has become the Grizzlies’ go-to man on offense, but eight different Montana players have led the team in scoring this year.
The entire team has also been more than reliable from the charity stripe. Montana is sixth in Division I when it comes to free throws, hitting 80.1% as a team. Six rotational players are hitting at 80% or better, while two have yet to miss a free throw.
There’s only been three instances this season that a team has shot better from the line than the Grizzlies in a game.
Ball security is another key for the Grizzlies, as they rank 11th in the NCAA, turning the ball over 9.8 times per game. Montana has turned the ball over more than its opponent just three times this season.
On defense, Montana is holding its opponents to just 62.2 points per game and limiting them to only 41.7% from the floor. The Montana defense has been one of the best in the Big Sky, and the team needs that to continue against the Wildcats.
Weber State’s Koby McEwen put up 24 points on Montana in their first meeting, a number the Grizzlies would like to decrease this time around.
On the season, Montana has been awful at defending the 3. The Grizzlies rank 334th nationally, allowing teams to hit 37.9%. However, they have been lights out defending from the perimeter in their last eight games, holding opponents to just 24.8% from deep.
Head coach Randy Rahe has been dominant in his career at Weber State. He’s first in league history with nearly 200 conference wins and holds a combined 200-71 record against all league opponents except Montana.
The Grizzlies have been trouble for Rahe his whole career, as he’s posted just a 16-20 record all-time against them. That’s the only team that owns a winning record against him.
They’ve already given him another loss this year, and will they do it again on his court?
The Wildcats are the 29th-highest scoring offense in the NCAA — averaging 79.8 points per game — and are shooting an impressive 47.2% from the floor.
Their offensive success has been largely due to one player, McEwen.
McEwen leads Weber State and is third in the Big Sky with 17.6 points per contest. He has failed to score double digits in just one game this season, and is sixth in the Big Sky in field goal percentage.
Weber State might not be a top-five free throw shooting team like Montana, but it does get there a lot more often than the Grizzlies. The Wildcats rank seventh in made free throws and 13th in attempts, averaging 16.6 and 22.2 per game, respectfully.
For comparison, Montana averages just 18.2 attempts per game.
On defense, Weber State allows opponents to average 72.2 points per contest. The Wildcats have struggled specifically to defend 3s, ranking 339th nationally.
And while Montana isn’t a threatening team on offense, the defensive issues for Weber could be enough to keep this game close — just as it did in the first meeting.
Montana vs. Weber State Betting Pick
Weber State is a much better team than Montana overall, but the Grizzlies have had their number year in and year out.
For me, 7.5 points just feels like too much in a matchup that was decided by just two only a month ago.
Montana has actually gotten better since that game, and I think it will only continue to improve.
Back the Grizzlies to keep it close.
Pick: Montana +6 or better