Michigan (3) vs. Montana (14) Odds: March Madness Prediction

Jeremy Perry | Updated Mar 13, 2018

Moritz Wagner

Will the Michigan Wolverines need time to shake off the cobwebs created by the long layoff?

Montana
23-7
AT
March 15, 2018, 9:50 PM ET
Intrust Bank Arena
Michigan
24-7
Pointspread +10.5 -110
Moneyline +485
Over / Under o +134

25%

Betting Action

75%

Pointspread -10.5 -110
Moneyline -685
Over / Under u +134

25%

Betting Action

75%

The Michigan Wolverines will enter this West Region game in Wichita, Kansas, with confidence but also rust. The Wolverines won the Big Ten Tournament, which was moved up a week and thereby created a 10-day layoff for the two teams in the Big Ten Tournament championship game.

Montana will try to make trouble in the same way past No. 14 seeds from the Big Sky Conference have done. Prior examples exist of Big Sky 14 seeds knocking off No. 3 seeds in the first round, so could this be one of the early surprises?

NCAA Tournament Odds and Betting Analysis

Against the spread this season, Michigan is 22-11-1. The Wolverines have an RPI of 12. Michigan’s strength of schedule was severely limited by the decline of the Big Ten this season as the conference was able to put just four teams into the tournament this year.

Montana is 19-11-1 against the spread this season, which means NCAAB bettors got a healthy profit off of them. The Grizzlies carry an RPI of 76 into the tournament. They didn’t play particularly tough teams in the Big Sky Conference – they won the regular season title in the league and then won the conference tournament. This is clearly a big step up in competition for them.

Montana Grizzlies

The Grizzlies have lost just twice since December 22, so they enter with momentum too. They hit their stride and basically stayed there after taking on tougher opposition at the very start of the season. Montana has three players who average at least 13 points scored per game, so they have balance. Michigan has only one. Ahmaad Rorie averages 17 points per game. Michael Oguine averages just under 16 points per game. Jamar Akoh averages 13 points per game. That’s a lot of weapons to contend with.

Montana is also good at gang rebounding. Whereas Michigan has only two players who average at least five rebounds per game, the Grizzlies, on the other hand, have at least four players who average at least five rebounds per game. The Wolverines finished the year 285th in rebounding, which could open the door for Montana here. Extra possessions could keep Michigan’s out of rhythm. That is very likely to be the biggest key to the game.

Michigan Wolverines

Michigan has become a better team over the past seven weeks because its defense has become so much stronger. They’ve won nine straight and are one of the hotter teams entering March Madness. Their defense was shaky for much of the season but it has come together in the past seven weeks. They’ve lost only once since January 25, and it has not allowed at least 70 points in regulation (a non-overtime number) since February 11. This team is locked in on defense, allowing just 63.5 points per game this season. That’s tops in the Big Ten. Montana has some nice stats but rarely did they face defenses like this.

On offense, the Wolverines are dangerous from beyond the arc, which will be Montana’s main challenge in the Round of 64. Three of the Wolverines’ five starters – Moritz Wagner, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rakhman, and Duncan Robinson – hit at least 39 percent of their three-point shots. Michigan has always liked to spread the floor and shoot the three and the Grizz will have a tough time coming up with effective counters and adjustments to the Wolverines’ offensive movements.

Grizzlies vs. Wolverines March Madness Predictions

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