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2019 Big Sky Conference Tournament Odds: Montana Listed as Favorite

Montana Grizzlies' Jamar Akoh
The status of injured Montana star Jamar Akoh is unclear heading into the Big Sky Conference Tournament. Photo by Twitter user @missoulian.
  • Montana is the favorite to win the Big Sky Conference Tournament
  • Only the winner of the tournament will earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament
  • Who is the best bet?

The stakes are sky high for this weekend’s Big Sky Conference tournament (Mar. 13-16, Boise, Idaho) as only the winner will earn a trip to the NCAA tournament.

Defending champion Montana (23-8, 16-4 Big Sky) is once again the favorite, looking to win its fifth conference title this decade, followed closely by Northern Colorado (21-10, 15-5 Big Sky).

Odds to Win 2019 Big Sky Conference Tournament

Team 2019 Big Sky Tournament Odds (as of Mar. 11)
Montana +130
Northern Colorado +210
Weber State +500
Eastern Washington +900
Montana State +1100
Portland State +1800
Southern Utah +3700
Sacramento State +3700
Northern Arizona +5100
Idaho State +6500
Idaho +9800

The two programs split the regular season series, with Montana narrowly beating out Northern Colorado for the regular-season crown by just a single game.

Montana’s missing link

Montana is the more complete team, ranking near the top of the conference in nearly every key offensive and defensive category, but they’re missing their leading scorer and rebounder.

Forward Jamar Akoh has been sidelined for over a month with a wrist injury, and his absence has forced Montana to roll with a smaller, more guard-heavy lineup.

The results have been mixed. Montana racked up a solid seven wins in its last nine contests, but both losses came against two of the more potent Big Sky offences.

If Akoh is unavailable for this weekend’s tournament, the added offensive burden placed upon his teammates could be enough to derail Montana’s title hopes.

Northern Colorado’s keys to success

One team that shouldn’t have any trouble scoring is Northern Colorado.  The Bears are led by the conference’s leading scorer, Jordan Davis, whom you might remember from around this time last year.

The senior guard averages 24 points a game, while shooting a respectable 37% from three.  No team in the Big Sky takes or makes more outside shots than Northern Colorado, and no team in the conference plays stingier defense.

The Bears allow the fewest points per game and only Weber State forces a lower opponent field-goal percentage.

Best Bets

Montana and Northern Colorado are the clear favorites, but the uncertainty of Akoh’s availability swings the pendulum towards the Bears.  At +210, they represent the best bet on the board, but if you’re looking for a long shot, pay attention to Portland State.

They won seven of their final eight games and swept the season series against Montana.  At +1800 they could make some serious noise this weekend.

SBD’s NCAA conference tournament coverage:

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