The Utah Runnin’ Utes (22-11) will be in the NIT at Madison Square Garden when they square off against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (27-10). The games Over/Under (O/U) has been set at 140 points and it will air on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 27, 2018.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. Utah Runnin’ Utes ATS Odds
Both teams were victorious over their last opponent. The Runnin’ Utes defeated the 25th-ranked Saint Mary’s Gaels 67-58, while the Hilltoppers beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys 92-84.
The Hilltoppers made 23 of their 30 free throws (76.7 percent) and had an effective field goal percentage of 0.566 (above their season average of 0.543). Meanwhile, Utah’s 12.4 turnover percentage was their largest strength over Saint Mary’s, who had a rate of 19.2. The Runnin’ Utes mark was better than their season average of 16.0, while the Gaels was above their season average of 13.6. Tyler Rawson led the way for Utah, putting up 17 points and seven rebounds. Western Kentucky, meanwhile, received a boost from Taveion Hollingsworth, who had 30 points and eight rebounds.
Looking at effective field goal percentage, this appears to be a balanced game. The elite Western Kentucky offense ranks 51st in the nation in that metric at 0.544, while the top-notch Utah defense is ranked 56th in effective field goal percentage allowed (0.482).
Vegas has typically been fairly accurate when setting the total of Hilltoppers games, with 18 overs compared to 17 unders. Western Kentucky holds records of 27-10 straight up (SU) and 23-12 against the spread (ATS).
Games involving the Runnin’ Utes have typically gone under the total (61.3 percent). Moreover, Utah owns records of 22-11 SU and 17-11-3 ATS.
Justin Johnson has been on fire as of late for Western Kentucky, averaging 20.2 points and 10.6 rebounds over the last five games.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers vs. Utah Runnin’ Utes Free Pick
Prediction: SU Winner – Western Kentucky, ATS Winner – Western Kentucky, O/U – Over
- Utah ranks 51st in three pointers attempted per game (25.2) while Western Kentucky ranks 313th (15.2).
- The Hilltoppers average 7.2 steals per game, which ranks 55th in the nation. The Runnin’ Utes rank 139th in steals allowed per game (6.2).
- Utah averages 3.5 blocks per game, which ranks 127th in the nation. Western Kentucky ranks 140th in blocks allowed per game (3.4).
- The Runnin’ Utes rank 33rd in assists allowed per game (11.2) while the Hilltoppers rank 193rd (13.9).
- Western Kentucky ranks 137th in rebounds per game (35.8) while Utah ranks 248th (33.6).
- The Runnin’ Utes average margin of victory in their last five games has been 10.2, up from 5.6 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Hilltoppers have scored an average of 74.6 points per game (4.2 below their season average) and allowed an average of 67.4 points per game (3.0 below their season average).