College Baseball Best Bets, Predictions: Wednesday Picks for Florida vs Texas A&M, Florida State vs Tennessee

College Baseball Best Bets, Predictions: Wednesday Picks for Florida vs Texas A&M, Florida State vs Tennessee article feature image
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Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images. Pictured: Florida State’s James Tibbs III.

College Baseball Best Bets

GameTime (ET)Pick
11 a.m.
2 p.m.
7 p.m.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Check out more College World Series coverage on our NCAA Baseball page.

Wednesday brings us our first three-game slate of the 2024 College World Series.

With Kentucky vs. Florida being postponed from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning, we'll now have college baseball action all day.

Joining Kentucky vs. Florida at 11 a.m. ET will be Tennessee vs. Florida State at 2 p.m. ET and Texas A&M vs. the winner of Wildcats-Gators at 7 p.m. ET.

I have best bets for the first two games right now and will add another pick once we know the final matchup.

So, without further ado, let's dive into my College World Series best bets and picks for Wednesday's NCAA baseball games.


Bracket 2: Kentucky vs. Florida

Wednesday, June 19
11 a.m. ET
ESPN
Kentucky ML -140 · Over 10.5

Four Southeastern Conference teams arrived in Omaha before the weekend. While the ACC has just one team remaining, the SEC will send home its first member between Kentucky and Florida.

The stakes couldn’t be higher for the Bracket 2 elimination game, as the winner gets a heavily-injured Texas A&M squad for the chance to go to the championship series.

Florida last played a third game on the weekend during Regionals, electing to throw Pierce Coppola, who has made seven starts this season with a cumulative ERA of 9.16.

The 6-foot-8 sophomore may allow as many runs as innings pitched, but he tends to record a lot of strikeouts in his appearances.

Coppola pitched against Kentucky on May 10, going 2 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run.

The biggest question for the Gators is the status of the bullpen, as shutdown closer Brandon Neely is up to 68 total pitches after tallying 45 in Monday's victory over NC State. However, both Neely and Fisher Jameson — who threw 52 pitches in Florida's opener against Texas A&M on Saturday — will gain a bit of extra rest after the postponement.

The Wildcats, meanwhile, will lick their wounds after a Monday night loss to Texas A&M. Now, Kentucky will look to win three consecutive games in as many days.

Dominic Niman has been a part of the rotation all season. He has started 16 games but hasn't lasted past the fourth inning since May 4.

Florida torched Niman on May 11, as he gave up six earned runs over four innings of work. The bullpen should be fresh, however, with closer Cameron O’Brien throwing just 28 pitches in Monday’s loss.

Kentucky vs Florida

Betting Picks & Prediction

Kentucky projects at -140 with Niman on the mound against Coppola.

Considering both pitchers were rang up for numerous earned runs against these opposing lineups in early May, there's a chance for runs to finally show up in Omaha.

The projected total for this combination of starting pitchers, bullpen and BaseRuns comes in at 12.6.

Pick: Kentucky ML -140 · Over

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Bracket 1: Tennessee vs. Florida State

Wednesday, June 19
2 p.m. ET
ESPN
Florida State +1.5

My original College World Series preview stated that Tennessee and Florida State would be the Bracket 1 final. Both teams have lived up to that expectation.

The Seminoles lost a heartbreaker to the Volunteers in the opener, giving up a five-run lead in what was one of the most chaotic conclusions to a college baseball game all season.

Now, Florida State has fought its way back and is looking to take two straight from the Volunteers to reach the championship series.

TIE GAME! TIE GAME! TIE GAME!#MCWS x 🎥 ESPN / @Vol_Baseballpic.twitter.com/Dnrc4lk2eW

— NCAA Baseball (@NCAABaseball) June 15, 2024

Zander Sechrist is the third starter in the rotation for Tennessee but has been the most crucial player on the roster over the past month.

The southpaw was on the mound when the Volunteers clinched a spot in the SEC Championship, won the Knoxville Regional and shut down Evansville to solidify a trip to Omaha.

A day of rest also keeps the bullpen fresh, as Nate Snead and Kirby Connell have yet to eclipse 30 pitches in an outing.

Florida State head coach Link Jarrett ended Tuesday night without an answer when asked who would take the mound against Tennessee.

Jamie Arnold started in Friday's opener, throwing 98 pitches over five innings. The last player to start not named Arnold or Carson Dorsey is Conner Whittaker, but the junior allowed two earned runs and faced only five batters in Tuesday's victory over North Carolina.

Tennessee vs Florida State

Betting Picks & Prediction

There's a 65-cent difference in the projections when it comes to the two FSU pitchers who would face Sechrist. Arnold would project as a -135 favorite, while Whittaker would be an underdog at +130.

Seminoles closer Brennen Oxford was not used in the win over the Tar Heels, and he's expected to be used in the tightest spots against Tennessee.

The total also has a large swing depending on the starter, with Whittaker projecting at 13.3 and Arnold coming in at 12.2.

Wednesday's wind projections vary. At times, it could blow out to right field at 10 mph, or it could be a cross-directional wind from left to right field.

Florida State and Tennessee have the two best offenses remaining and combined for 25 runs in the opener. The Vols' opening number is steep, as Arnold may be held back with Dorsey for a potential Bracket 1 championship game on Thursday.

Pick: Florida State +1.5 or Better


Bracket 2: Texas A&M vs. Florida

Wednesday, June 19
7 p.m. ET
ESPN
Over 12.5

The Gators went to Charles Schwab Field on Wednesday and chose violence. Florida faced Kentucky in an elimination game, and instead of wilting, it rang the Wildcats up for 15 runs while advancing to the Bracket 2 finals.

Head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s team must now take two straight against Texas A&M to reach the College World Series championship round.

For the Aggies, a 5-1 victory over Kentucky on Tuesday allowed multiple bullpen options to reset, including Chris Cortez, the hottest arm in Omaha.

With the season-ending injury to Shane Sdao, the most likely starter for the Aggies is Tanner Jones. The transfer from Jacksonville State last saw action in relief during the Super Regional round while last starting against Grambling in the College Station Regional.

Injuries persist in A&M's lineup as well.

In addition to the season-ending injury to future first-round MLB Draft pick Braden Montgomery, Game 1 defensive hero Jace LaViolette is dealing with a hamstring tweak suffered in Tuesday's victory over Kentucky.

The Gators, meanwhile, are set to throw Liam Peterson on Wednesday night after the freshman threw 64 pitches in Florida's CWS opener on Saturday.

Texas A&M vs Florida

Betting Picks & Prediction

Texas A&M projects as a heavy favorite of -240 with Jones on the mound against Peterson — a result of the freshman’s poor start to the season for the Gators.

Florida's key bullpen pieces are fresh following its Wednesday morning victory, so the arms of Fisher Jameson, Cade Fisher and Brandon Neely will be the key to winning Bracket 2.

For those with "Florida to Win Bracket 2" tickets, a small hedge on Texas A&M is a wise strategy.

The weather will change slightly for the night shift after Florida posted more than two touchdowns in Wednesday's morning session. Winds will move from blowing out to right field to a cross-stadium orientation that will turn right-field fly balls into foul slicers.

Both offenses are firing on all cylinders. With a chance the best bullpen pieces are held back for Thursday, the best play here is the over.

Pick: Over 12.5 or Better

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