College Basketball Odds, Pick & Preview for BYU vs. Santa Clara (Thursday, January 27)

College Basketball Odds, Pick & Preview for BYU vs. Santa Clara (Thursday, January 27) article feature image

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Keshawn Justice (Santa Clara)

  • BYU takes on Santa Clara on the road in a game that could change the Broncos' season.
  • The Cougars are in the NCAA Tournament mix but need to continue to pick up critical wins in WCC play.
  • D.J. James previews the WCC affair and tells you which team to back.

BYU vs. Santa Clara Odds

Thursday, Jan. 27
11 p.m. ET
BYU Odds
-110o / -110u
Santa Clara Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Two of the most captivating offenses in the West Coast Conference come together in a Thursday night matchup.

BYU will head to Santa Clara to take on the Broncos. Santa Clara has been one of the more underrated teams in the WCC this season, behind projected NCAA Tournament squads in Gonzaga, BYU, Saint Mary’s and San Francisco.

Santa Clara could get a nod to the Big Dance if it goes on a run in the next few weeks. After all, the Broncos did beat San Diego in overtime on Monday night.

BYU definitely has a better defense, but the Broncos can light it up from outside the arc. Expect them to do so in this game.

BYU Cougars

BYU’s most significant advantage will be rebounding. The Cougars have an offensive rebounding clip of 32.9% and a defensive rebounding percentage of 24.1%. This could play into their hands against a Santa Clara team that puts up respective percentages of 23.8% and 28.5%.

Still, Keshawn Justice, Josip Vrankic and Parker Braun will play massive roles in the Broncos' production on the glass. BYU has the rebounding edge because of its wings and guards, mostly

BYU will need to thrive on the defensive perimeter. It ranks 11th in the country in defensive 3-point percentage (28.1%). The Cougars will need to defend the perimeter successfully because the Broncos fire 37.6% from downtown.

If they want to keep Santa Clara out of this game, it will be with its defense on the outside.

One detriment for BYU is although it shoots 35.2% from 3-point range, it only shoots 49.5% inside the arc. Santa Clara does not have an elite defense, but it does defend the inside well, only allowing 46.8% of 2-pointers to fall for the opposition.

Since Santa Clara does not have the versatility on the defensive end to secure the arc, BYU will need to knock down 3s. Alex Barcello will loom large with his 46.4% 3-point mark on the season.

Portland and San Diego limited his abilities from 3-point range in their matchups, so look for Santa Clara to take a page out of the same book.

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Santa Clara Broncos

The Broncos tout five main sources of offense: Jalen Williams, Justice, Vrankic, PJ Pipes and Braun. These players all average at least nine points per game, whereas BYU only has Barcello and Te’Jon Lucas averaging similar scoring numbers.

This is where Santa Clara can thrive. The Broncos love to distribute the ball. Williams, Vrankic, Pipes and Justice all average at least 2.5 assists. They will not be too volatile because someone will always step up to score.

Santa Clara has another advantage, and playing at home will only enhance it. It does not foul. The Broncos have the fifth-best opponent free throw rate on the season, and BYU ranks 210th on offense.

Basically, this means Santa Clara will not foul and BYU will not draw fouls. Keep this in mind if the game comes down to crunch time. It could matter.

As stated above, even though Santa Clara shoots well from beyond the arc, BYU can defend. The diversity in scoring options will give the Broncos a leg up, though. Justice and Williams both shoot over 40% from deep, so if Santa Clara can move the ball like it usually does, it can open up outside shots.

BYU vs. Santa Clara Betting Pick

Santa Clara is much better than most college basketball viewers give it credit for. The Broncos are three-point underdogs at home against a conference rival.

They can also shoot better from deep and rebound down low. As long as the Broncos' guards can match up with the Cougars' guards, they should be in good shape for the cover.

Take Santa Clara at +3, and play it to +1.

Pick: Santa Clara +3 (Play to +1)

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