College Baseball Odds & Picks: 3 Bets for Tulane vs. LSU, UConn vs. USC, More (March 15)
Bob Levey/Getty Images. Pictured: LSU standout Jacob Berry.
March Madness might be tipping off Tuesday, but the craziness isn’t only limited to the hardwood.
Tuesday nights have been wild so far this season in college baseball, with multiple mid-major upsets and incredible performances. While this slate isn’t as power-packed as others, there are still plenty of games to target.
That said, let’s dive into my three best bets on the slate.
West Virginia vs. Duke (4 p.m. ET)
This matchup is a wrinkle thrown in between ACC play for the Blue Devils, but they should welcome it. Duke got off to a rough start in conference play this past weekend, dropping the first series against Virginia.
The story has been the same for Duke. The top of its rotation has been elite, but when it falters, the offense hasn’t picked the team up. In this matchup, the Blue Devils are facing a West Virginia team that has no issue scoring as it has put up 99 runs through 14 games, slashing .277/.377/.419 as a team.
Cooper Stinson, Duke’s starter in this matchup, has been effectively wild through three outings. He holds a 5.54 ERA, with an opponent batting average of .300 and has hit seven batters. However, he hasn’t suffered a defeat.
Stinson’s command issues are startling, as it seems to me when he throws strikes they are hit more often than not. His luck and run support are due to run out, which is why I’m taking the Mountaineers to pick up the road win.
Pick: West Virginia ML (+100)
Tulane vs. LSU (7:30 p.m. ET)
Two of the hotter teams in the country face off, and runs should be plentiful. Tulane might not be the most high-profile program, but it’s proving to be an AAC contender. However, the Green Wave enter this matchup after getting swept by Evansville. That was shocking considering they took a series from Mississippi State the weekend prior.
They might only be hitting .258 as a team, but when they hit, runs come in bunches. The Green Wave have tallied 114 runs through 16 games, scoring 10 or more runs in six of them.
As for LSU, it is beginning to look like the offensive powerhouse it was expected to be. The Tigers bounced back nicely after a tough Shiners Classic showing, winning all four of their games last weekend. Now, LSU gets to bring its offense back home, where it’s undefeated so far.
This lineup spent the last week getting right and is slashing .322/.449/.557 as a team. It also helps when your star gets hot, as sophomore Jacob Berry was named a Collegiate Baseball Newspaper National Player of the Week.
Berry batted .500 (9 for 18) in four games with a double, three homers, seven RBIs and seven runs. He’s hitting .382 on the year and leads the SEC with eight homers and 21 RBIs.
I expect the LSU bats to stay hot in front of the home crowd, but Tulane will certainly get its chances as the former’s midweek starters haven’t been lights out this season.
Pick: Total Over 13.5 Runs
UConn vs. USC (9 p.m. ET)
This is the sneaky best matchup of the day, with two of the fastest-rising teams set to meet in Pasadena, Calif. The Trojans are riding high as they enter off a series victory against UCLA. That win was impressive enough to earn national recognition, as the Trojans are ranked for the first time since 2016.
On the bump for USC will likely be Issac Esqueda, who has been tough to crack through his first two starts of the season. He enters with a 0.77 ERA and .146 opponent batting average. However, he’ll be tested as the Huskies’ offense is not lagging behind their stellar pitching staff.
As for that stellar staff of Huskies, you can count on another quality arm starting for them in this one as their starter ERA is a microscopic 1.23. The USC offense is the first real test any UConn starter will face, as the team is slashing .282/.352/.430 for the season.
The Huskies are in the midst of a West coast road trip, and while they looked to have adapted nicely against Pepperdine, they’re forced to trek another hour and 40 minutes for this matchup. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them be a bit sleepy here with all the travel involved.
Back the Trojans at home in this matchup.
Pick: USC ML (-145)