Sacramento State vs. Montana State Prediction, Odds and Key Players for Big Sky Championship Semifinal

College basketball betting preview, prediction and best bet for Sacramento State-Montana State.

Mar 17, 2023; Greensboro, NC, USA; Montana State Bobcats forward Jubrile Belo (13) and guard Robert
Mar 17, 2023; Greensboro, NC, USA; Montana State Bobcats forward Jubrile Belo (13) and guard Robert / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Sacramento State is one of the first Cinderella stories in March.

The No. 10 Hornets took out No. 9 Idaho in the first round of the Big Sky Tournament, then beat top-seeded Eastern Washington on Sunday (74-69) to advance to the semifinals. Sacramento State has never been to the Division I NCAA Tournament. Can they keep the ride going as underdogs again in Tuesday’s semifinal against No. 5 Montana State? 

The Bobcats pulled away from No. 4 Weber State, 81-82, in Monday’s quarterfinal. Montana State and Sacramento State split a pair of regular-season contests, with each team winning on the road. Can the Bobcats, searching for their first third-straight conference tournament championship, advance to Wednesday’s title tilt? Here’s the betting breakdown of the semifinal clash with a best bet. 

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Sacramento State vs. Montana State Odds, Spread and Total

Sacramento State vs. Montana State Betting Trends

  • Sacramento State is 14-17 ATS this season
  • Montana State is 15-14 ATS this season
  • Sacramento State is 13-10 ATS as an underdog this season
  • Montana State is 3-7 ATS as a favorite this season
  • The OVER is 13-18 in Sacramento State games this season
  • The OVER is 15-14 in Montana State games this season

Sacramento State vs. Montana State How to Watch

  • Date: Tuesday, March 12 
  • Game time: 8:30 p.m. EST
  • Venue: CenturyLink Arena
  • How to watch (TV): ESPNU/ESPN+
  • Sacramento State record: 10-23
  • Montana State record: 15-17

Sacramento State vs. Montana State Key Players to Watch

Sacramento State

Akol Mawein: The 6-foot-9 senior forward has been huge for the Hornets in the Big Sky tournament. In two games, Mawein has combined for 42 points on 13-of-21 shooting to go with 7 rebounds. Prior to the conference tournament, Mawein had scored in double figures just once since Jan. 3. 

Montana State 

Robert Ford III: The senior guard is the Bobcats’ leading scorer and rebounder. Ford averages 15.6, 7.7 rebounds and 3 assists per game and came up big for the Bobcats in the quarterfinals, scoring 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting in the high-scoring win over Weber State. 

Sacramento State vs. Montana State Prediction and Pick 

Sacramento State has been great in this spot while Montana State has struggled when laying points. Just a few weeks ago, Sacramento State went on the road and beat Montana State, 66-63, behind a defense that forced 14 turnovers and held the Bobcats to 7-of-23 shooting from downtown. Can they duplicate that effort to keep the Cinderella story alive?

Sacramento State grabbed 11 offensive rebounds in that matchup and should have another advantage on the boards. The Hornets are the No. 31 offensive rebounding team in the country and shoot better from inside the arc than beyond it. That’s good news against a Montana State defense that struggles to defend shots from 2-point range (No. 342 in KenPom). Can Sacramento State avoid turnovers? Montana State is top-50 in steal percentage and the Hornets are one of the worst teams in terms of ball security. 

On top of its turnover advantage, Montana State’s offense should get what it wants against a Sacramento defense that is No. 334 in effective field goal percentage, doesn’t force turnovers and is No. 348 in defending 2-point attempts. Overall, you’re getting the favorite at a discount after Sacramento State notched a pair of upsets. Lay the points. 

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.