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Monday's CBI lean didn't get it done, as San Francisco used a huge first half advantage to coast to a 10-point win over North Texas in the opening game of the Best-of-3 championship series.
We're returning to the NIT today, in a matchup featuring two teams the Free Pick has successfully backed this month. Which team will continue to curry our favor?
Utah vs Western Kentucky (-1.5), 7:00 p.m. EST
Both of these teams have given out tremendous value in the NIT, upsetting teams as significant underdogs. Last week, we backed Utah as a seven-point underdog when they upset St. Mary's; we also had Western Kentucky when they beat USC in double overtime as a five-point dog.
So what do you do when two of your former underdog picks play each other? The KenPom metrics I use for leans don't offer much help here, so I'll stick to a betting principle of mine — when the lower-seeded team is the Vegas favorite, bet with Vegas. WKU is probably playing just a smidge better than the Utes right now; with road wins at Oklahoma State and USC, they certainly have the best tournament resume.
All that is nice, but the deciding factor for me here is that No. 4 Western Kentucky is a short neutral-site favorite over No. 2 Utah. Give me the Hilltoppers to win and cover in NYC.
Pick: Western Kentucky -1.5