Idaho vs. Montana Odds, Picks: How to Bet This FCS Game on Saturday
Photo by Tommy Martino/University of Montana/Getty Images. Pictured: Montana Grizzlies
- Idaho takes on Montana in an FCS game starting at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
- The Vandals are nearly 15-point underdogs on the road and they have lost seven straight games to the Grizzlies.
- Can they bounce back here? Keg breaks it down.
Idaho vs. Montana Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
On Saturday afternoon, Montana head coach Bobby Hauck will look to tie the program record for wins over Idaho.
In a series that dates back to 1903, Idaho and Montana face off for the Little Brown Stein, a trophy that hasn't left Missoula since 1999.
Montana comes into Saturday's matchup against the Vandals on a seven-game winning streak in the series. The Grizzlies are looking to tie the series' longest win streak, set by Idaho with eight wins from 1951-1959.
The Grizzlies are also 5-0 to start this season and are ranked third among FCS teams.
Will Idaho break the streak, or will the Stein remain in Missoula for another year?
Despite not winning in this matchup in over 20 years, the Vandals actually lead the all-time series over the Grizzlies, 55-30-2.
Through 1942, they were 20-8-1 vs. Montana, but Idaho has changed quite a bit since that last win in '99. The Vandals have gone from FCS to FBS and now back to the FCS in the Big Sky Conference with Montana.
The Vandals are 3-2 on the season, and even though they've played two FBS teams, I believe Montana will be their biggest challenge yet.
The Vandals are led on offense by redshirt freshman quarterback Gevani McCoy, who leads the Big Sky in completion percentage and is ranked third in all of FCS.
However, he has just 125 passing attempts on the season.
Idaho ranks 29th in rushing attempts among FCS teams this season and is 40th in plays per game.
The Vandals have potential, despite being doubted by most in the preseason (picked to finish eighth in the Big Sky). They currently rank fifth after a 2-0 start in conference play.
Idaho's biggest problem is its inexperience, and with inexperience comes mistakes. The Vandals have 37 penalties on the season, totaling 303 penalty yards (third-worst in the Big Sky).
Montana was picked to win the Big Sky in the preseason, and it seems to be meeting all expectations through five games.
The Grizzlies lead the Big Sky in scoring defense, holding opponents to just 11.4 points per contest.
Montana is also first in the conference in both pass and rush defense, holding opponents to 81 yards on the ground and 166 yards through the air.
The Grizzlies rank third in scoring offense, averaging 40.2 points per contest. They also lead the league in passing touchdowns.
Montana is led by quarterback Lucas Johnson, one of FCS's best dual-threat QBs. He is the only quarterback in the Big Sky with over 100 yards rushing and over 1,000 yards passing on the season (244 total yards per game).
Idaho won't be a walk in the park for the Grizzlies — the Vandals own a balanced offense, a top-five defense against both the run and pass and they lead the conference in time of possession.
However, Montana matches up well against the Vandals in the areas they struggle with the most, and I think that will be the deciding factor in keeping the Little Brown Stein in Missoula.
Idaho vs. Montana Betting Pick
Montana is one of the best teams in the country when it comes to getting stops on third down. The Grizzlies give up a first down on only 25% of third-down attempts.
They also lead the Big Sky when it comes to drawing penalties — opponents have racked up 44 penalties totaling 400 penalty yards against the Grizzlies.
Idaho is 10th out of 12 teams in the Big Sky when it comes to converting third downs, getting the conversion only 35.8% of the time. It also ranks third when it comes to penalty yards, racking up 37 penalties so far this season for a total of 303 yards.
I believe Montana's ability to get stops on third down — as well as force the Vandals to draw penalties — will negate Idaho's advantage when it comes to its ability to control the clock and time of possession.
That is why I'm backing the Grizzlies as high as a 13.5-point favorite here.