Northern Arizona vs. Montana State prediction and odds for Big Sky Championship final

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northern-arizona-vs.-montana-state-prediction-and-odds-for-big-sky-championship-final
northern-arizona-vs.-montana-state-prediction-and-odds-for-big-sky-championship-final

Dec 20, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA;Montana State Bobcats guard Patrick McMahon (1) makes a basket against Arizona Wildcats guard Cedric Henderson Jr. (45) in the second half at McKale Center. Mandatory Credit: Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 20, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA;Montana State Bobcats guard Patrick McMahon (1) makes a basket against Arizona Wildcats guard Cedric Henderson Jr. (45) in the second half at McKale Center. Mandatory Credit: Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

This isn’t the conference championship matchup that anyone had circled in the Big Sky, but that’s why it’s called March MADNESS.

Second-seeded Montana State takes on ninth-seeded Northern Arizona tonight in the Big Sky title game after the Lumberjacks upset top-seeded Eastern Washington, 81-80, in the tournament quarterfinals.

It doesn’t take a Big Sky expert to realize that the Bobcats are big favorites over the Lumberjacks, but does that mean you should bet on them to cover a -7.5 spread?

Keep reading to find out!

Northern Arizona vs. Montana State odds, spread and total

Northern Arizona vs. Montana State prediction

Northern Arizona is just 12-22 this season, but has saved its best stretch of basketball for last. The Lumberjacks have won five of their past six games with an electric offense that has put up over 80 points in five of those six games.

Montana State, on the other hand, has held steady with a 24-9 record this season. The Bobcats opened the season by losing five of their first eight games, but have gone a ridiculous 21-4 since, including a double-overtime two-point win over Weber State in the conference tournament semifinals on Tuesday.

These records don’t necessarily mean that Montana State is much superior. The Bobcats have won both matchups between the two squads this year, with a 69-54 win the first time, but just a 69-68 win in the most recent meeting Feb. 2.

This game essentially comes down to who’s strength is stronger: Montana State’s defense or Northern Arizona’s offense?

I’m taking Montana State to cover the -7.5 because their defense is INSANELY better than Northern Arizona’s. The Bobcats allow nearly 10 fewer points per game than the Lumberjacks but score just two points fewer on offense – that’s your eight point margin right there.

It’s going to get ugly fast if Northern Arizona doesn’t hit from deep, where it ranks inside the top 100 in the nation in both 3-point percentage and 3-point makes. Montana State is 31st (!!) in the nation in rebounding and should have no trouble controlling the glass against a team that allows opponents to corral over 76% of missed shots.

Take the Bobcats -7.5, and if you’re looking for another play here, consider over 135 total points. The over has hit in three of the last five for Montana State and all five of Northern Arizona’s past five games. Expect the Lumberjacks to keep shooting threes until the buzzer.

Pick: Montana State -7.5

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.