Utah vs. Western Kentucky odds: 2018 NIT semifinals picks from advanced computer model

Utah and Western Kentucky clash in the first 2018 NIT semifinal from Madison Square Garden on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET. Western Kentucky is a 1.5-point favorite, up a half-point from the open. The Over-Under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 139.5, down from an open of 142. 

Before you lock in your picks, you need to see what SportsLine's advanced computer model has to say.

This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, enters this week on a blistering 8-1 run with its college basketball postseason selections. It's now broken down every conceivable matchup for Tuesday's showdown and one team is covering the spread in almost 70 percent of simulations.

We can tell you the model likes the Under on the posted total of 139.5. But its point-spread selection is the big one. It's a coveted A-rated pick that you need to see.

The model knows Utah (22-11) is making its first NIT Final Four appearance since 1992 -- that was also the last time the Utes won a game in the NIT. They finished third that year.

Western Kentucky (27-10) is back to the Final Four for the first time since 1948. Back then, the NIT was just eight teams.

The Utes reached the NIT semifinals on the wings of flying 3-pointers. They nailed 14 of them in a 95-71 rout of LSU before edging top-seeded St. Mary's, 67-58 in overtime, draining four 3's in the extra time for the difference.

Utah scores 27.9 points per game on 3's. Western Kentucky allows opponents to shoot 36 percent beyond the arc, ranking a sub-par 236th in the country.

The Hilltoppers won't be intimidated by their major-conference opponent. They already beat Boston College of the ACC, top-seeded USC from the Pac-12 and Oklahoma State of the Big 12 to advance this far.

Western Kentucky is an ATS dynamo, going 23-12 this season. Meanwhile, Utah was a stellar 17-11 against the spread. Each is also on a strong run against the spread; the Hilltoppers have covered in nine of 12, the Utes 10 of 14.

So which side should you take on Utah-Western Kentucky? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread hits almost 70 percent of the time, all from the model that entered the week on a strong 8-1 run.

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