Wilson: College World Series Betting Preview and Projected Odds for Each Game
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ethan Small
Welcome to Omaha!
Saturday, eight Power 5 schools will descend on Omaha for one of the best events in sports, the College World Series.
Michigan and Florida State were a “Last Four In” selection, making the tournament with an RPI of 39 and 50th overall before pulling off upsets in the Regionals and Super Regionals. The SEC will stand strong with Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Auburn. Louisville and Texas Tech round out the field.
The College World Series is broken into two separate brackets, each being decided in a double-elimination format. Bracket 1 features Texas Tech, Michigan, Arkansas and Florida State. Bracket 2 will have Vanderbilt, Louisville, Mississippi State and Auburn. The winners of the two brackets meet in the finals.
There is a stark contrast in the RPI rankings of each bracket. Bracket 1 has RPI ranks of 6, 11, 39 and 50. Bracket 2 is populated with teams with an RPI rank of 1, 4, 9 and 19. Of the four SEC teams, Arkansas will not play any of its conference rivalries until the championship game.
Odds to Win the College World Series
Odds via Westgate as of June 12
- Vanderbilt 3-1
- Arkansas 3-1
- Mississippi State 4-1
- Texas Tech 8-1
- Louisville 8-1
- Auburn 10-1
- Florida State 10-1
- Michigan 12-1
Projected Lines for College World Series Pitching Matchups
Below are Collin’s projected odds for projected starters in the opening round and all combinations thereafter.
Below that, he previews each bracket’s opening game and possible next matchups.
All games played at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. Odds provided by Caesars Entertainment.
Bracket 1: Michigan vs. Texas Tech
- Game Time: 6/15, 2 p.m. ET
- Odds: Texas Tech -140, Total 10.5
It is easy to brush aside Michigan, but the Wolverines deserve credit for their pitching, as they arrive at Omaha with the lowest team ERA. Pneumonia-ridden Tommy Henry and Karl Kauffmann have been excellent in the post season.
Texas Tech makes a return to TD Ameritrade for the third time in the past four years after surviving a three-game set with Oklahoma State in Lubbock. The Pokes scored exactly 6 runs in every game, requiring Texas Tech to rely on an offense that is top 20 in scoring, slugging and on base percentage. Keep an eye on Gabe Holt’s status, as a thumb injury may limit the Red Raiders best offensive weapon (57 steals past two seasons).
Despite a Texas Tech sweep of Michigan in March, the Wolverines are the value play. Micah Dallas will go for the Red Raiders, but has topped 100 pitches just once this season and never reached 7 innings, guaranteeing the Red Raiders bullpen will be involved.
On the flip side, Karl Kauffmann has been the definition of a workhorse for Michigan, going 31.1 innings and 418 pitches in his last four starts. Texas Tech feasted on the Pokes bullpen, but will not get the same chance here.
Team to Bet: Michigan +120
Florida State vs. Arkansas
- Game Time: 6/15, 7 p.m.
- Odds: Arkansas -185, Total 11
This is the first time in Arkansas history the Razorbacks have made consecutive College World Series trips. In case you missed 2018, the Razorbacks came within one out of beating Oregon State for the national title. There is a bit of redemption seeking in Arkansas, starting with Casey Martin.
If there is a way to stop the Razorback hitters, it’s left-handed pitching. The Hogs have lefties hitting 3-7 in the lineup, struggling at times against lefties like TCU’s Nick Lodolo. The Seminoles will throw out their top pitcher in left hander Drew Parrish.
The X-factor in this game is Arkansas pitcher Isaiah Campbell. The Hogs ace is considered one of the best in the entire tournament, not allowing more than three earned runs in any start this season.
The seasoned Razorbacks have better starting pitching, defense and sticks in comparison to the Seminoles.
Team to Bet: Arkansas -175
Bracket 1 Team To Advance
The predictions above slot Texas Tech and Florida State in the losers bracket, where the nod would go the Seminoles with CJ Van Eyk. Neither of these teams can contend with the Michigan pitching or the Arkansas hitting. In a rematch of the 1999 Capital One Citrus Bowl, Michigan and Arkansas may face each other several times this weekend.
The biggest gap in the Arkansas roster is its No. 2 pitcher, much less a third arm.
Michigan has a deep staff and the kryptonite needed to shut down the Arkansas bats in lefty Tommy Henry. Look to play on Isaiah Campbell when he pitches, but for Tommy Henry to lead Michigan through Bracket 1.
Bracket 2: Louisville vs. Vanderbilt
- Game Time: 6/16, 2 p.m. ET
- Odds: Vanderbilt -180, Total 11.5
Both teams field great starting pitching and a deep bullpen. Louisville will throw Reid Detmers in the opener, who may be a better starter than anything Vanderbilt has to offer. The Cardinals boat-raced East Carolina and were the first to cement their spot in Omaha.
Vanderbilt did beat Louisville in early May, though the Commodores did avoid Detmers. The key to this game is Vanderbilt starter Drake Fellows. His most recent start against Duke resulted in a Commodores loss after 4 innings pitched and 5 earned runs.
There have been signs in recent starts against Kentucky and South Carolina that Fellows does not always have his best stuff. Similar to Duke, Louisville will hand Vanderbilt an opening loss. Detmers should keep a potent Commodores lineup in check.
Team to Bet: Louisville +170
Auburn vs. Mississippi State
- Game Time: 6/16, 7:30 p.m. ET
- Odds: Mississippi State -230, Total 9.5
Jack Owen will more than likely get the nod in the opener for Auburn. Owen did not start any of the games in an earlier weekend conference play against Mississippi State. Auburn will have the largest task of any team in the opening games, taking on Bulldogs starter Ethan Small.
In addition to ranking third in strikeout-to-walk ratio, Mississippi State is 10th in scoring and top 20 in slugging and on base percentage. The dominating offense is complimented by an experienced bullpen.
At the end of the day, when Small is pitching, we back up the truck to bet on Mississippi State.
Team to Bet: Mississippi State -210
Bracket 2 Team To Advance
Although Vanderbilt is picked to lose to Reid Detmers with Louisville in the first game, the Commodores should fight their way to the bracket final. Vanderbilt is so loaded in their pitching staff that number two starter Kumar Rocker threw a no hitter against Duke, striking out 19 of 27 possible batters.
Bracket 2 is essentially a coin flip between Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, who met only once this year. In that only game, Small gave up the earned run for Vanderbilt to claim a 1-0 victory during the SEC Tournament.
Considering the Commodores have the deeper staff and bullpen, Vanderbilt should make its way to the College World Series final round.