Montana vs. South Dakota State odds & prediction: Grizzlies have never lost to Jackrabbits but face uphill battle in FCS championship game

The CFP national championship game is the last game of the season to bet on, but it is not the next one. The next one is the FCS national championship game scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 7 at 2 p.m. ET.

That is when the South Dakota State Jackrabbits and Montana Grizzlies will face off in Frisco, Texas, at Toyota Stadium.

The defending champs, SDSU, are massive favorites in the game. But Montana will not lie down and let the Jackrabbits claim their second national championship in a row.

Montana vs. South Dakota State: spread, moneyline and total

Montana outlasted North Dakota State in overtime in their semifinal game, 31-29, to earn their spot. South Dakota State had a less challenging day, as they dominated Albany 59-0.

Here are live Montana vs. South Dakota State odds from top sports betting apps:

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Montana vs. South Dakota State trends and history

  • Montana and South Dakota State have played eight times (from 1969 to 2016), with the Grizzlies winning all eight.
  • They last met in 2015 during the first round of the playoffs; Montana won 24-17; the Grizzlies lost to North Dakota State in the second round.
  • Montana averaged 38 PPG while allowing 17 PPG in those eight meetings.
  • South Dakota State is 14-0 this season and working on a 28-game winning streak. Their last loss to an FCS opponent was vs. Montana State in the 2021 FCS playoff semifinals.
  • Montana has won nine in a row, with their last loss coming in Week 4 vs. Northern Arizona 28-14.
  • South Dakota State has qualified for postseason play in 12 consecutive seasons, 14 overall.
  • Montana has qualified for postseason play in three of the last four seasons; they last played in the FCS title game in 2009 (lost to Villanova, 23-21).
  • This game will be South Dakota State’s third trip to the FCS title game in four years. They lost to Sam Houston State in 2020 and beat North Dakota State for the school’s first national title last season.

FCS National Championship game: Montana vs. South Dakota State analysis

If bettors had any questions or concerns about the Jackrabbits after their 23-12 win over Villanova in the quarterfinals, SDSU’s performance against Albany took care of them. South Dakota State wasted no time, jumping out to a 21-point lead with touchdowns on their first three drives.

A punt return for a score and a late second-quarter touchdown made it 35-0 at the half.

They took their foot off the gas a little bit in the second half but recovered a fumble for a touchdown on the second play of the half. South Dakota State punted once and scored or missed a field goal on every other offensive possession.

As for the defense, it recorded four turnovers on the day, scoring on one, and held Albany to 66 yards rushing on the day.

Montana had a much tougher time in their semifinal, but they also played a more formidable North Dakota State team with a top-10 offense and defense (total yards). It certainly will not get any easier this week against a South Dakota State team with a top-10 offense and the No. 1 defense in the country.

SDSU has allowed less than 10 points per game this season, has shut out three opponents and defeated 10 by double-digits.

Montana must get the most out of its defense (No. 17 in total defense and No. 5 in scoring) against a Jackrabbits offense that has been on a roll all season. Their offense has been good but not great this season (No. 39 in total yards and No. 16 in scoring). 

But the Grizzlies’ offense must be phenomenal against an SDSU team ready to claim its second national championship.

Bet(s) to consider

  • South Dakota State
  • OVER

Montana is a solid team but it just isn’t good enough to compete with a dominant South Dakota State squad that is playing extremely well at the right time. The Grizzlies may be able to hang with the Jackrabbits for a quarter.

But SDSU’s superior talent should begin to pull ahead in the second quarter and run away with the game in the second half.

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