NCAA Baseball Odds, Best Bets: 9 Picks, Including Louisiana vs. TCU & Florida vs. Central Michigan (Friday, June 3)
Jeff Moreland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: TCU baseball head coach Kirk Saarloos.
The postseason is officially here! Regionals are set to begin, and it’s time to find out who wants it more. Each pod has its own storyline as many of them are loaded with talent and every game is genuinely up for grabs.
Sportsbooks have made it happen, as every game being played on the first day of regionals has a line. That means my card is relatively large, but to celebrate the beginning of the postseason, I’m going to do something a little different.
Instead of narrowing it down to three best bets, I will break down my entire card for the first day of regionals. We’ve got quite a few bets to get to, so let’s get this show on the road.
UCLA -120 vs. Florida State
12 p.m. ET · ESPN2
This is a pitching matchup for the ages as Florida State’s Parker Messick (6-5, 3.36) will face off against UCLA’s Max Rajcic (8-4, 3.08). In a game where the starters are expected to duel, I’m siding with the more potent offense.
The Bruins are not a team that will outslug you, but they have plenty of young talent and are led by outfielder Michael Curialle, who hit .326 this season. On the other hand, the Seminoles have been a very inconsistent offensive club as they only hit .263 this year. Lastly, Messick was not so dominant in his final few starts in ACC play, so if his funk continues, Florida State will be in a hole it can’t climb out of.
Campbell +110 vs. Georgia Tech
12 p.m. ET · ESPN+
Pitching is the great equalizer in baseball and the Camels will have it in this opening matchup. Campell will send Big South Pitcher of the Year Thomas Harrington to the mound. He went 11-2 with a 2.21 ERA and has plenty of experience against power conference teams.
He’ll have a tall task in front of him with the Georgia Tech lineup. The Yellow Jackets hit .324 and slugged 110 homers this season. However, their pitching staff struggled mightily. They had a staff ERA of 6.55 and allowed the opposition to hit .289.
That won’t hold up against a Camels lineup that was elite this season. The Camels were the only D-I team to rank in the top 10 in home runs and stolen bases. Keep your eye on projected first-round shortstop Zach Neto — he is special and can lead the Camels to victory.
Notre Dame -150 vs. Texas Tech 2 pm ET
This will be another battle of aces as John Michael Bertrand (8-2, 2.39) is matched up against Brandon Birdsell (8-3, 3.00).
Each of these starters dominated in loaded conferences. Still, I’m backing Bertrand and the Irish as they have the depth to contain the Red Raiders’ potent lineup into the later innings. Bullpens will make the difference in this one as both of these lineups can hit.
If the Irish can get to Birdsell, they’ll be able to tack on later in the game.
Ole Miss -145 vs. Arizona
2 p.m. ET · ESPN+
The Rebels were a team that fell hard during the season as they were a preseason top-five team and were even ranked No. 1 after starting the season 9-0. Their pitching failed them for most of the season as they were unranked before making a late-season charge. The bullpen kicked it up a notch as their four primary relievers combined for a 2.15 ERA in the month of May. The Rebels lineup has been explosive and received a boost when Kevin Graham returned from injury.
As for the Wildcats, they’ve been a team that I was skeptical of all season. They have a deadly trio in the middle of their order; however, their pitching has been suspect at times this year. Therefore, I’m siding with the hotter team and the deeper lineup in a game that could be a slugfest.
Vanderbilt -155 vs. San Diego
4 p.m. ET · ESPNU
The Commodores are a team that fell short of lofty preseason expectations, but they still have a plethora of talent both at the dish and on the mound. Enrique Bradfield Jr. is the table-setter as he can manufacture runs by himself. He went a perfect 43-for-43 on stolen base attempts this season. Behind him is catcher Dominic Keegan, who hit .363 with 12 homers.
San Diego is not to be taken lightly as it has more than a few guys who can rake, but Vanderbilt’s arms are a big step up in competition. Vandy should be able to get to San Diego early and secure a spot in the winner’s bracket.
Coastal Carolina +135 vs. Virginia
6 p.m. ET · ESPN+
The Cavaliers may have the best hitter in the region in Jake Gelof, but the Chanticleers have the best pitching staff. We will likely see Coastal Carolina ace Michael Knorr, who went 5-0 with a 2.81 ERA and a .216 BAA this season. He’ll face a potent Virginia lineup, but the Cavaliers will need to outslug Coastal as its staff was not sharp at times this season.
That is easier said than done as the Chanticleers were 32nd in the country in scoring and have a lineup that features power and speed throughout. Back Coastal to pull off the upset.
Central Michigan +210 vs. Florida
6:30 p.m. ET · ESPN+
The Chips are a great team to take a shot on in their opening game.
First, their ace, Andrew Taylor, will be on the mound and he went 8-3 with a 3.19 ERA and had 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings this season. He will be facing a Florida lineup that can slug with the best of them, but the Gators are a vulnerable host due to their pitching staff.
They lost their ace, Hunter Barco, to injury and now have a very young and inexperienced staff hosting a regional. All the pressure is on them, and that leaves the door open for Central Michigan to pull off the upset.
TCU -160 vs. Louisiana
8 p.m. ET · ESPN+
The Cajuns are coming off a tremendous year in the Sun Belt as Carson Roccaforte has been a five-tool stud all season. However, while the lineup may be explosive, they are very outmatched on the mound.
Whether we see Marcelo Perez or Riley Cornelio, the Horned Frogs should be able to open up a lead and give their starter plenty of run support. TCU’s lineup is experienced, ultra-talented and has hit far better pitching than they will see in this matchup. Back the Frogs to win this opener.
Texas State -105 vs. UC Santa Barbara
9 p.m. ET · ESPN+
Texas State is being massively undervalued here and I can’t understand why they aren’t the favorite. Its lineup is as potent, as it comes with a litany of guys who can take you deep and steal bases.
Then it also has its No. 2 starter on the mound in Zeke Wood, who went 6-1 with a 3.56 ERA and held opposing batters to a .179 batting average.
UC Santa Barbara had a very impressive season as it went 24-3 in the Big West and they have some eye-popping numbers on paper. However, UC Santa Barbara is a big fish in a small pond out west — in a regional, it is bound to be eaten by the competition.
Take the Bobcats as they should be the favorite here.