2021 College World Series Bracket Picks: Why Texas & Arizona Hold Betting Value To Make the College Baseball National Championship
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Cam Williams (55) and Texas Longhorns teammates.
The eight-team College World Series field is organized into two separate brackets, with four teams in each pod competing in a double-elimination format. The winning team from each of the two brackets will advance to the championship round for a best-two-out-of-three series to claim the NCAA National Championship
With one bracket having plenty of offense and the other boasting a ton of pitching depth, there are two teams that hold value to advance to the championship round.
Bracket No. 1 Prediction
Vanderbilt’s Jack Leiter may be the best pitcher in this bracket, but he may not get to throw the ball until the first losers’ bracket game.
The starting staff drops off in experience and quality after Leiter and Kumar Rocker, so Vanderbilt fighting its way out of the losers’ bracket isn’t out of the question and may cause it to be taxed by the end of the first week. Expect the Commodores to make it to the bracket finale against Arizona or NC State.
A Sam Highfill-Garrett Irvin winners’ bracket face-off would make the Wildcats approximately -120 to advance.
Unlike Arkansas, there is no gap in Arizona’s offensive production, and this ballpark all but guarantees the hitting will continue. The Wildcats are capable of beating Rocker and Vanderbilt, but the projected number for Leiter-Irvin would be Vanderbilt -145.
What does Jack Leiter up/in 98mph Fastball look like? 👀 pic.twitter.com/6EZ83BJ9Ja
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 12, 2021
Arizona leads the nation in most hitting categories, but the public will only remember a 2019 Vanderbilt team that won the National Championship.
Led by two National Freshmen of the Year, look for the Wildcats to use patience and timely hitting at the plate to win this bracket.
In a potential finale against Vanderbilt, look for less than +150 against Rocker and greater than +150 against Leiter.
Pick: Arizona Wildcats
Bracket No. 2 Prediction
Mississippi State’s Christian MacLeod is not a guarantee to get the start in a potential Game 2 against Tennessee.
The Volunteers knocked MacLeod for four innings in the SEC Tournament, as the Bulldog starter has had troubles throughout the postseason. Whether it’s MacLeod or Houston Harding taking the mound, the number against Tennessee starter Blade Tidwell is projected at -115 with a total nearing 10.
While Bracket 1 is full of offensive explosiveness, it’s this side of the bracket where pitching staffs run deep.
Texas is more than just Ty Madden, as the Longhorns are anchored by Pete Hansen and Tristan Stevens. Virginia also supports the second-best bullpen numbers behind Mississippi State.
This is the side of the bracket where a team can get hot in the losers’ bracket and still win the championship.
If we base our prediction on the pitching staff that walks the least number of hitters, that’s Tennessee and Mississippi State by far. If we base our prediction on the offense that boasts the highest on-base percentage, then Texas laps the field.
One of the biggest elements of college baseball is fielding percentage, and none of the teams in this pod come close to the Longhorns.
Although there’s plenty of value in the underdog number for Mississippi State in the opener, I expect Texas to be in the College World Series championship round.
Pick: Texas Longhorns