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North Alabama vs. Southern Utah prediction and odds for CBI First Round

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It’s a battle of directional schools to open the College Basketball Invitational today. Let’s try to figure out which way we want to go with this bet.

Southern Utah (22-12) has had a strong season, but are they going to cover their -8.5 spread?

North Alabama (18-14) isn’t a terrible team and has covered the spread in six of its past 10 games. Let’s dig a little deeper to see if the Lions can cover once again today.

North Alabama vs. Southern Utah odds, spread and total

North Alabama vs. Southern Utah prediction

The Lions have been ABYSMAL as of late, losing their past three games by an average of 15.7 points per game.

Southern Utah has been better, winning three of its last five, but is just 2-3 against the spread (ATS) over that stretch.

North Alabama is clearly the lesser team, lagging behind Southern Utah in most statistical categories. But are they nine points worse? I’m not so sure.

The Lions are 75th in the nation at 3-point shooting (36.1%), but are 139th in effective field goal percentage and 224th (!!) in free-throw percentage (70.7%).

This game could very well come down to North Alabama’s shooting from deep, and it just so happens that perimeter defense is a glaring weakness for Southern Utah, which ranks No. 320 in the nation allowing 36.6% shooting from deep.

If the Lions can exploit this weakness, I don’t think the Thunderbirds can build a big enough lead to cover.

Pick: North Alabama +8.5

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.