The Big Sky Conference is part of the FCS (the Football Championship Series) division in the NCAA, which means that you don’t see them in bowl games. Teams that qualify take part in playoffs that end in a national championship game in January. This year, ESPN2 will televise a couple of the biggest Big Sky showdowns in prime time, and we will look at these from a sports betting perspective. One advantage of betting on FCS games is that the books might offer some action without knowing as much about the teams, which means that people who have done the research can take advantage of imbalances in the point spread. Check out our thoughts on these two games to consider in your NCAA Football betting odds.
NCAA Football News: Top Big Sky Football Betting Games for 2023
Montana Grizzlies at Idaho Vandals
When: Saturday, October 14 at 7:30 pm ET
Where: Kibbie Dome, Moscow, ID
TV / Streaming: ESPN2
One of Montana’s top playmakers is receiver / return man Junior Bergen, an in-state product from Billings, who Athlon Sports named to their Preseason FCS All-America team for his punt returns. He finished 2022 on three different All-America rosters and is one of only five Big Sky Conference players who appear on Athlon Sports’ FCS preseason squad. Last year, as a sophomore, he returned 22 punts for 327 yards and a pair of scores. The top highlight was a 72-yard return against Portland State. He also had a punt return for a touchdown in the FCS playoffs, as he returned a punt 58 yards to the house to cap off a rally from a 21-point deficit to draw the game even. He garnered second-team All-America honors after the season from Phil Steele Magazine and Stats Perform, and he was also named third-team All-Big Sky. He returns to torment teams like the Vandals this time around.
Idaho is ranked #5 among FCS teams according to HERO Sports in the preseason because of what they have coming back on offense. Eight starters come back on offense – and from a team that improved from four victories in 2021 to seven a year ago and a berth in the playoffs. Gevani McCoy won the Jerry Rice Award for the top freshman in FCS, completing 68.5% of his passes, throwing 27 otuchdown passes against just seven interceptions. McCoy had the fourth-best passing efficiency in FCS (170.6). The Vandals also have two 1,000-yard receivers returning, more than any other FCS team. Hayden Hatten led FCS with 83 catches for 1,209 yards and 16 touchdowns. Jermaine Jackson caught 54 balls for 1,049 yards and five scores. Terez Traynor returns after playing in just four games because of injury, but he was All-Big Wky in 2021, catching 50 balls for 737 yards and three touchdowns. Tailback Anthony Woods is back after leading the team with 872 yards on 149 carries. The O-line brought in transfer Terrian Rainey to join Elijah Sanchez and Ayden Knapik. Idaho to win.
Bet on Montana at Idaho!
Montana State Bobcats at Sacramento State Hornets
When: Saturday, October 21 at 7:30 pm ET
Where: Kibbie Dome, Moscow, ID
TV / Streaming: ESPN2
Montana State is the third-ranked team in HERO Sports’ preseason FCS rankings; in 2022, they finished 12-2 (12-1 against FCS teams), advancing to the FCS semifinals, where they lost, 39-18, to South Dakota State. They have 10 All-Big Sky players returning, including fullback Serryk Snell (1st team) and quarterback Tommy Mellott (2nd team). The team was able to dominate in 2022 despite losing tailback Isaiah Ifanse for the entire season. They ranked second in FCS with 311.9 rushing yards per game and third in scoring offense (42.9 points per game). Three sophomores started on the O-line, and they all return with playoff experience. At quarterback, Tommy Mellott and Sean Chambers both missed time – and they both contributed on the field, at times both taking the field at the same time. The two leading rushers on the team were Chambers and Mellott. With all of this returning talent, the Bobcats are ready to dominate again.
Sacramento State comes in ranked #10 in HERO Sports’ FCS Preseason rankings. They entered the FCS playoffs last year as the second seed but fell, 66-63, to 7th-seed Incarnate Word in the FCS quarterfinals, finishing with a 12-1 overall record. Andy Thompson takes the reins of the program in his first year as head coach, and the team returns nine FCS All-Conference players, including first-teamers Marshel Martin (TE), Armon Bailey (LB) and Jackson Slater (OL). Fifteen starters return in 2023, and quarterback Carson Camp came from South Dakota through the transfer portal, throwing for 2,252 yards and 17 scores in 2021. He struggled in 2022, throwing for just 904 yards and posting a 4:5 TD:INT ratio. The offensive line is solid, and Marshel Martin returns after being the top receiver with 65 catches for 879 yards and a dozen scores last year. Obviously, questions remain on defense, but this was a dominant offense in 2022 and returns a lot of its talent. Take the over.
Bet on Montana State at Sacramento State!
2023 Big Sky Conference Teams
TeamLocationStadiumIdaho VandalsMoscow, IdahoKibbie DomeEastern Washington EaglesCheney, WashingtonRoos FieldIdaho State BengalsPocatello, IdahoHolt ArenaMontana GrizzliesMissoula, MontanaWashington-Grizzly StadiumMontana State BobcatsBozeman, MontanaBobcat StadiumNorthern Arizona LumberjacksFlagstaff, ArizonaJ. Lawrence Walkup SkydomePortland State VikingsPortland, OregonHillsboro StadiumSacramento State HornetsSacramento, CaliforniaHornet StadiumWeber State WildcatsOgden, UtahStewart StadiumCal Poly MustangsSan Luis Obispo, CaliforniaAlex G. Spanos StadiumUC Davis Aggies footballUC Davis Health StadiumDavis, CaliforniaNorthern Colorado BearsGreeley, ColoradoNottingham Field
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