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Picks, predictions for UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Irvine on Monday, January 16

UC Santa Barbara faces UC Irvine in a Big West showdown on Monday night.

UC Santa Barbara head coach Joe Pasternack yells to his players during the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament on Saturday, March 20, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. Mandatory Credit: Denny Simmons/IndyStar via USA TODAY Sports IndyStar-USA TODAY Sports

UC Santa Barbar and UC Irvine meet in a showdown between Big West heavyweights Monday night. Tip-off is set for 9:00 p.m. ET from the Bren Events Center in Irvine, and the game will be available to stream on ESPN+.

Let’s take a look at the odds and lines on DraftKings Sportsbook and make some picks.

UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Irvine odds

Spread: UC Irvine -2.5
Over/Under: 135
Moneyline: UCI -145, UCSB +125

UC Santa Barbara (13-3, 4-1 Big West) is hoping to bounce back from their first loss of conference play, a surprising 65-64 defeat to UC Riverside at home. The Gauchos have a chance to knock off the top-seeded Anteaters in the conference Monday night, but it will take a stellar offensive performance on the road to notch the upset. They are a slightly better 6-1 when at home versus 5-2 on the road, but the Gauchos did win on the road versus the Anteaters last season. UC Santa Barbara will need a significant scoring punch in order to outlast UC Irvine, which likely means a big night from their leading scorer Ajay Mitchell (15.9 PPG, 4.5 APG).

UC Irvine (12-5, 5-0 Big West) will look to hold onto its undefeated record in conference play as they sit first in the Big West standings. The Anteaters have won five straight off the back of solid play on both ends of the court, averaging 78.1 PPG and holding their opponents to 66.6 PPG respectively. UC Irvine’s scoring punch has been led by the pair of Dawson Baker (14.1 PPG) and DJ Davis (13.9 PPG) in the backcourt, averaging double-digit scoring this season. In what could be a game decided by the more significant scoring punch, Bent Leuchten’s presence in the front court could be an x-factor, as the sophomore is averaging 10.4 PPG this season.

The Pick: UC Irvine -2.5

In a battle between two of the Big West’s top dogs, the Anteater’s balance on both ends of the floor should give them the advantage Monday night. UC Irvine is 9-6 against the spread this season, and while the Gaucho’s defense is solid, fending off the Anteater’s 78.1 PPG is a daunting task. The home team is 7-1 against the spread in the last eight meetings between these two teams, so roll with UC Irvine to cover and get the win at home.