College Baseball Futures: Regional Winners and College World Series Value Bets
Via Icon Sportswire/Getty Images. Pictured: Stanford Pitcher Alex Williams.
The NCAA Baseball Tournament field has been announced, and the journey to Omaha is set to commence this weekend.
This year, regionals have a fascinating look as the committee valued other factors outside of geography and RPI to determine seeding. That has given us some tremendous groupings, and in many pods, there are top seeds that need to be wary of those around them.
I’m going to highlight my favorite futures for this weekend’s regionals and bets to win the College World Series.
I’m fired up and can’t wait until Friday, so let’s take a closer look at some of the teams with value on them heading into Regionals.
NCAA Regional Winner Values
Notre Dame to Win Statesboro Regional (+145)
The Fighting Irish are a team that has all the components to make a deep run well past their pod. They had the 12th-best team ERA in the country and have an absolute stud at the top of their rotation in John Michael Bertrand.
Their lineup is sneaky good as well. They won’t be a team that will outslug opponents, but they can put up runs in bunches. Notre Dame hit .298 as a team this season and averaged nearly eight runs per game.
Texas Tech will be the Fighting Irish’s biggest hurdle to get out of the region; however, the Irish have much more pitching depth than the Red Raiders, and we’ve seen the Red Raiders go down on multiple occasions when their lineup is held in check.
Back the Fighting Irish to set a date with Volunteers in the Super Regionals.
UConn to Win College Park Regional (+450)
This UConn team will finally get some of the national spotlight it deserves. The Huskies dominated the Big East in the midst of their 46-win season. They also posted some very impressive numbers along the way.
The UConn staff finished third in the nation in ERA and fourth in strikeout-to-walk ratio. All three of their primary starters had ERAs under 3.50 and threw at least 80 innings this season.
Their lineup wasn’t too bad either, as they hit .302 as a team and average eight runs a game.
The player to keep an eye on is Korey Morton. He missed some time this season, but in 34 games, he hit .442 and had a .726 slugging percentage.
The last testament to how well-rounded and how possibly undervalued the Huskies are is that they finished fifth in the nation in run differential, as they were +4.1 for the year. To put that in perspective, Tennessee ranked first with a +6.7 run differential.
Texas State to Win Stanford Regional (+340)
If there’s anybody that can take down Stanford in the regional, it’s the Bobcats.
One word to describe this Texas State team is tough. It went 45-12 this season and picked up some impressive wins in the process. It split a two-game series with Texas, took two out of three from Arizona, and swept both ULL and Ohio State.
The staff is led by Levi Wells and Zeke Wood, who posted ERAs of 3.01 and 3.56, but they also held opposing batters to a combined average of just .200 against them.
However, it doesn’t end there. The Bobcats have three solid arms out of the pen, including closer Tristan Stivors, who had 17 saves this year.
Their lineup cannot be overlooked as well. Texas State hit .298 as a team and slugged 80 homers this year. Leading the way was Dalton Shuffield, who hit .390 with 12 homers, five triples, and 16 stolen bags.
College World Series Winner Values
Stanford Cardinal (+1200)
If it avoids being upset by Texas State in their regional, Stanford holds a ton of value entering Omaha.
The Cardinal proved to be the No. 2 team in the country as they beat Oregon State three out of four times this season, including in the Pac-12 Tournament Championship.
They can do it all, but their success starts on the mound.
Stanford may have the best one-two punch in the country with Alex Williams and Quinn Mathews. Williams was untouchable this season as he posted a 1.98 ERA and held opposing batters to just a .204 average against him. Mathews was not far behind, as he hung a 2.67 ERA and punched out 99 batters in 84 innings.
However, it doesn’t end there as Joey Dixon, Ryan Bruno and Brandt Pancer all had ERAs of 3.60 or better.
The Cardinal lineup is dynamite as well. They hit .302 as a team and swatted 95 long balls this year, which was good for 21st in the nation.
It will be a tough road to the title, but Stanford may be the best value on the board right now. Not to mention, they’ll start regional play on a 16-game winning streak.
North Carolina Tar Heels (+3500)
This is a team that has caught fire at the right time. The Tar Heels blew through the ACC tournament and finished as the No. 3 team in the country, according to RPI.
We saw their excellent rotation of Max Carlson, Brandon Schaeffer and Will Sandy shut down not just some of the best ACC lineups, but some of the best lineups in the country overall.
Then offensively, the Heels caught fire in the ACC Tournament and took advantage of the hitter-friendly Clearwater Stadium.
However, we can’t let park factors take away from what the Tar Heels accomplished. This lineup can do it all, and their speed is an X-factor. UNC stole 59 bases this year, and superstar freshman Vance Honeycutt took 28 of them while also hitting 21 homers and becoming the first 20-20 player in UNC history.
Don’t be surprised if we see the Tar Heels continue their torrid run.