HELENA — Typically reserved for "friendly wagers," backrooms or websites that use cryptocurrency, legal sports betting has been thrust into the limelight in recent years. Since 2018, nearly 30 states have legalized some form of sports gambling. Sports Bet Montana opened in March 2020, making the Cat-Griz rivalry a bit more thrilling for some fans.
Ahead of last year's rivalry game, Sports Bet Montana took just over $116,000 across 2,700 bets putting it among the most bet-on singular sporting events through Sports Bet Montana.
"As we've talked to other states, it's hard for them to understand the impact of something like Cat-Griz has in Montana, where we don't have pro sports, but college football is such a, such a big deal. Especially when it comes to the rivalry game," said Dan Iverson, Montana Lottery Content Manager. "Excluding things like tournaments or something like that, but just for one game, it was definitely one of our top events last year."
Sports Bet Montana started unveiling lines for Cat-Griz on Monday afternoon with a standard money line and point spread bet. Since then, lines have shifted drastically, alternate spreads and prop bets have arrived.
While not uncommon in the sports betting realm, this year Sports Bet Montana has unveiled various player prop bets for this year's game. A prop bet typically is a betting line that is based on the performance of an individual or multiple players, including bets like:
- Tommy Mellott 1+ Interceptions: +140 ($10 to net $14)
- Defensive or Special Teams Touchdown: +200 ($10 to net $20)
- Robbie Hauck 10+ Total Tackles: -133 ($10 to net $7.52)
- Montana State Scores in All Quarters: +135 ($10 to net $13.50)
- Malik Flowers 33+ receiving yards and Nick Ostmo 77+ rushing yards: +245 ($10 to net $24.50)
Now, mind you those bets are not meant to be taken as betting advice, and your mileage may vary as lines could shift ahead of the noon kick-off in Bozeman on Saturday, but bettors are excited at the opportunity to give a different kind of betting on Cat-Griz a shot.
“Looking forward to some of those prop bets on Sports Bet Montana. I think the biggest one for me is that defensive touchdown and special teams one, that's huge at Cat-Griz, always has been,” said Jeff Unger. "Also the safety one. I mean, we've seen safeties cause a lot of, a lot of turmoil in the Big Sky Conference this year."
While the rivalry between the Cats and the Griz can be, and mostly is, bitter, betting on it can shift the perception of fans' views not just on the game, but individual players.
“It really kind of adds that extra game within a game as a spectator to you know, watch enjoy, and like root for individual players because I can root for Tommy [Mellott]. He's a Montana kid even though I want the Griz to win,” said Henry Charpentier.
While betting on sports is an added way to enhance the fan experience, it's meant to be fun. If you believe you have a gambling problem, free and confidential help is available 24/7 from the National Association on Problem Gambling via the resources below: