College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for UC Irvine vs. Santa Clara

College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for UC Irvine vs. Santa Clara article feature image

David Becker/Getty Images. Pictured: UC Irvine head coach Russell Turner.

  • The UC Irvine Anteaters take on the Santa Clara Broncos in late-night college basketball action on Thursday.
  • The Broncos enter this matchup as slight favorites, but we see betting value on the Anteaters.
  • Read on for DJ James' full betting preview and pick for UC Irvine vs. Santa Clara.

UC Irvine vs. Santa Clara Odds

Thursday, Dec. 15
10 p.m. ET
WCC Network
UC Irvine Odds
-110o / -110u
Santa Clara Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Santa Clara Broncos host the UC Irvine Anteaters on Thursday evening for a West Coast clash of potential tournament mid-majors.

The Broncos are 4-7 against the spread, so the market is starting to look like it hasn't quite caught up to them just yet. They do hold top-100 KenPom victories over DePaul and Iona but have one bad loss to San Jose State.

At the same time, the Anteaters are 6-2 ATS. They have an early-season win over Oregon but losses to Pepperdine, Fresno State and San Diego State.

UC Irvine may be on the road here, but it loves shooting the 3 and crashing the glass compared to the Broncos. This should lead to a close victory on the road and one the selection committee might remember in March.

UC Irvine Anteaters

Irvine has had a consistent program this season. It almost stole a game from San Diego State in late November, which would have helped in the long run.

That said, this team ranks 19th in limiting offensive rebounding, while Santa Clara ranks 13th. Offensively, the Anteaters sit 94th in rebounding, while the Broncos are 103rd. This is typically an edge for the Broncos, but UC Irvine essentially eliminates it.

Irvine does have the edge in taking care of the ball. D.J. Davis and Dawson Baker both have a sub-11% turnover rate from the guard position. This is pivotal for long-term success because consistent guard play can take a team deep in the conference tournament and possibly the NCAA Tournament.

Meanwhile, Santa Clara owns an 18.8% turnover clip, which isn't too sharp. Even if UCI doesn't pressure the ball all that much, it has four players averaging at least one steal per game.

Offensively, UCI lives and dies by the 3. It manufactures 33.1% of points from beyond the arc. It doesn't shoot many 3-balls, but it hits 40.4%, ranking 10th nationally from outside.

The Anteaters are extremely efficient and can exploit a main defensive concern for the Broncos, who permit opponents to hit nearly 35% of 3s this season. Davis, Baker and Justin Hohn all shoot over 37% from outside, so they will have open looks.


— UCI Men's Basketball (@UCImbb) November 30, 2022

Santa Clara Broncos

Now, Santa Clara’s offense goes as Brandin Podziemski goes. The former Illinois guard is averaging 19.2 points per game, 3.2 assists, 9.0 rebounds and 2.4 steals.

This team shoots more 3s than the Anteaters do. That said, UCI defends the arc much better than the Broncos, limiting opponents to 29.1% from 3-point land.

Look for Santa Clara to continue to launch triples in this game, as the Broncos don't shoot very efficiently inside the arc (47.1% on 2-pointers).

Defensively, UC Irvine is holding opponents to 46.7% from 2-point land, so the Broncos may not have many open opportunities inside either.

Photo by CBB Analytics

On the other end, Santa Clara is allowing opponents to shoot around 49% from 2-point range, while the Anteaters are a bit worse at 45% on the interior.

Bent Leuchten, the Anteaters' 7-footer, is the most efficient option internally, but Jaden Bediako and Parker Braun can match up with him on defense. UCI will mostly score from deep.

One area the Broncos can exploit is UCI's issues with fouling, where the Anteaters rank 303rd in the country. The Broncos are also shooting 72.8% from the line, so if the Anteaters do get into foul trouble, Santa Clara will clearly have more open looks.

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UC Irvine vs. Santa Clara Betting Pick

Santa Clara doesn't have the rebounding edge it usually does in this game. The Anteater backcourt will also prevent Podziemski’s usual takeover — at least from deep.

UCI will find 3-point opportunities at will, which will change the game with multiple consistent options outside. Take UC Irvine on the moneyline at -105, and play it to -1.5.

Pick: UC Irvine ML -105 (Play to -1.5)

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