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Daily Sports Picks: Montana Looks to Derail Michigan in Opener

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Oskeim Sports covers the NCAA Tournament first round matchup between Montana and Michigan.  Oskeim recommends taking the points with the Grizzlies as one of his daily sports picks for Thursday, March 15.

Montana was the class of the Big Sky Conference and is more than capable of pulling off an upset against an overvalued Michigan squad.

The Grizzlies have won nineteen of their last 21 games overall and are a profitable 9-2 ATS in their last eleven games versus teams with a winning record, 8-2 ATS in their last ten games versus .601 or greater opposition and 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 contests overall.

Montana’s success is predicated on a physical and suffocating defense that is allowing 68.7 points per game to teams that would combine to average 73.8 points per game against a mediocre defense.

Montana owns a top-50 two-point field goal percentage defense and is ranked 20th in the nation in total steals (257), 22nd in steals per game (7.8) and 21st in turnovers forced (15.45).

The Grizzlies’ offense is led by dynamic point guard Ahmaad Rorie, who leads the team in scoring with 17.2 points per game finished the regular season with a solid 2:1 assist/turnover ratio (110 assists).

Montana boasts an extremely well-balanced attack that includes seven players averaging at least 7.0 points per game. Overall, the Grizzlies are averaging 78.1 points per game on 47.1 percent shooting from the field against teams that would combine to allow 75.0 points per game to a mediocre offense.

Montana enters the NCAA Tournament with a red-hot offense that is averaging 81.4 points on 50.0 percent shooting from the floor and 40.3 percent from beyond the arc in its previous five affairs.

The Grizzlies averaged an incredible 86.0 points per game in the Big Sky Conference tournament and are extremely efficient from inside the arc. The Grizzlies like to work the ball inside to forwards Jamar Akoh (13.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg) and Fabijan Krslovic (7.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg).

Indeed, Montana ranks 12th nationally in two-point scoring percentage and look for high percentage shots inside the three-point line.

Akoh, Krslovic and Michael Oguine (15.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg) combine to shoot 57 percent inside and their production is paramount if the Grizzlies want to advance to the Round of 32.

Montana possesses many characteristics that define live underdogs in the NCAA Tournament, including forcing turnovers (ranked 21st nationally in defensive steal percentage).

Meanwhile, the betting market has overreacted to Michigan’s run in the Big Ten Conference tournament. Prior to the conference tournament, the Wolverines owned the fourth-best scoring margin in the Big Ten at plus-5.5 points per game.

Let’s also note that Michigan suffered losses to LSU, Nebraska and Northwestern during the regular season by an average of 10.3 points per game.

Finally, Michigan is one of the worst free throw shooting teams in the country, checking in at 329th nationally with an alarming 65.7 percent free throw percentage.

Grab the points with Montana as one of Oskeim’s daily sports picks for Thursday, March 15.  Check back tomorrow for more free daily sports picks from the #1 Ranked Handicapping Service in the industry.

Oskeim’s Daily Sports Picks for Wednesday:

  • Montana (+10.5) over Michigan
  • Houston (-4) over San Diego State

Check back daily for more daily sports picks and betting advice from Oskeim Sports.