The 2023 National Invitation Tournament continues on Wednesday, March 15, with this clash in Santa Clara, and here you can read the best Bearkats vs. Broncos betting pick and odds.

Santa Clara is hosting Sam Houston at Leavey Center in the first round of the NIT. The Broncos are -4.5 favorites on BookMaker Sportsbook, while the total is set at 142.5 points. These non-conference rivals will face for the first time since 2017. The winner of this game will meet North Texas or Alcorn in the next round.

Bearkats fell short of Grand Canyon in the WAC semis

The Sam Houston Bearkats (25-7, 17-10-1 ATS) concluded the regular season with seven consecutive wins and nearly won the WAC regular-season title. The Bearkats then opened the WAC tournament with a victory over the California Baptist Lancers but were stopped in the semi-final by the Grand Canyon Lopes. Sam Houston played well in the first half and had an 8-point lead in the second half, but scored just two points in the final two minutes and suffered a tight 78-75 defeat. The biggest difference was from the perimeter; the Bearkats made only five three-pointers opposite Grand Canyon’s 16.

Senior guard Qua Grant led the Bearkats with a game-high 24 points, game-high eight assists, and four rebounds. Kaosi Ezeagu added 11 points and team-high five boards, while Donte Powers scored 11 points.

Broncos lost to San Francisco in double overtime

The Santa Clara Broncos (23-9, 16-15-0 ATS) recorded seven straight wins to close the regular season and climb up to 3rd place in the WCC, but that wasn’t enough to avoid a defeat in the quarter-final of the WCC tournament. The Broncos fought bravely but lost in double overtime to the San Francisco Dons, and they can only blame themselves for that. Santa Clara blew a double-digit lead in the second half and had an opportunity to win in both regulation and the first overtime, but missed it, and the Dons celebrated a 93-87 victory in the end. The Broncos made 13 free throws opposite San Francisco’s 27, while the Dons dominated the boards (50-33).

Sophomore guard Brandin Podziemski led the Broncos with a near triple-double display of 22 points, a game-high 11 rebounds, career-high nine assists, and game-high four steals. Carlos Steward also added 22 points with four boards and three thefts, while Keshawn Justice had 16 points.


Sam Houston:


Santa Clara:

  • 6-1 ATS in the last seven games overall
  • 17-4 ATS in the last 21 games following a straight-up loss
  • 13-4 ATS in the last 17 games following an ATS loss

Sam Houston Bearkats vs. Santa Clara Broncos Pick

Sam Houston has one of the best defenses in college basketball that allows 58.9 points per game. Only three teams have a stronger D than the Bearkats, but they are coming from a weak conference, unlike the Broncos, who are playing in a more prestigious WCC and facing rivals such as Gonzaga and St. Mary’s, among others. That’s why I am not very convinced by Sam Houston’s D; they will have to prove their worth on the road against the Broncos, who score 77.6 points per game this year. Brandin Podziemski has been in phenomenal form; he scored 20+ in seven of the previous eight games, and Sam Houston’s rock-solid defense will be tested on Wednesday. I am backing a better offense and I am giving an edge to a home-court advantage.

Pick: Take the Broncos at -3.5 (-125)

The Total

While I don’t think the Bearkats will play their best defense on Wednesday, I do expect them to have a solid offensive display against the defense that surrenders 73.6 points per contest. Sam Houston averages 73.2 ppg, so around 70 points from the visitors is something realistic to expect here. Over is 4-1 in the Broncos’ last five overall; Over is 4-1 in Santa Clara’s previous five games following a straight-up loss, while Over is 6-2 in the Broncos’ last eight Wednesday games.

Pick: Go Over 141.5 points (-130)