NCAA Baseball Odds & Picks: Best Bets for Auburn vs. Vanderbilt, Washington vs. UCLA & More (May 24)
Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: An Auburn baseball helmet.
Our first day of conference tournament play was full of excitement. For Day 2, I’ve got five teams I’m eyeing to begin their runs deep into their respective tournaments.
So, let’s dive right into our college baseball best bets for the conference tournament slate on Wednesday, May 24.
Virginia -165 vs. Georgia Tech
3 p.m. ET · ACC Network
If you read yesterday’s piece, you’ll know I was on an underrated Georgia Tech team against North Carolina because its lineup has the prowess to compete with the best of the conference.
However, it got no help on the mound and will now have to face the No. 2 seed in Virginia without a day off.
While I praised the Yellow Jackets’ lineup, they almost don’t compare to the Cavaliers. Virginia led the nation in batting average, hitting .334 as a team. The Hoos aren’t a high-slugging team, but the amount of traffic they create on the basepaths has led to many crooked numbers on the scoreboard, evidenced by their rank of seventh in wRC+ nationally.
Virginia is as well-rounded as they come. The Cavaliers finished with the fifth-best team ERA in the country and are not due for sizable regression, ranking 17th in FIP and fourth in SIERA.
The Yellow Jackets are just overmatched here, and this game could get ugly in a hurry. The Cavaliers’ run line is also worth a look if you can find one.
Big 12 Tournament
Oklahoma State -155 vs. Oklahoma
5 p.m. ET · ESPN+
It’s bedlam on the diamond as these in-state rivals square off this afternoon.
This will be the fourth meeting between these two teams this year. The Cowboys took 2-of-3 in their season series, and they did so in a convincing fashion.
Oklahoma State is the far superior offensive club. It outranks the Sooners in every category, but the most significant discrepancy comes in the power department, as the Cowboys doubled the number of OU homers hit this season.
No starters have been announced as of writing, but looking at these pitching staffs as a whole paints a clear picture.
The Cowboys are due for positive regression on the mound. Their xFIP sits at 4.81, while their SIERA comes in at 3.36, which shows their quality of arms is better than their team ERA of 5.27.
As for the Sooners, they’re due to regress on the bump. Their team ERA is 5.90, but their xFIP stands at 6.11. That’s not a trend you want when facing this Cowboys lineup.
Back the Pokes to roll once again.
Washington -110 vs. UCLA
5:30 p.m. ET · Pac-12 Network
If you followed my full card on the Action App, you saw that I was on the under in the Bruins’ matchup yesterday. The reason I played the under yesterday is the exact reason why I’m fading UCLA this afternoon.
The Bruins’ lineup just can’t keep up with the top of the Pac-12. They hit just .265 as a team and lack the pop to create runs. They hold a wRC+ of 97 and a wRAA of -11.
While they’re going to face a Washington staff that’s due for regression, they don’t have the firepower to match the Huskies offensively.
Speaking of the Huskies’ lineup, they’re the main reason Washington ascended to the No. 3 seed in the conference. Washington hit .293 as a team and finished fifth in the conference in wRC+.
UCLA’s arms may keep it in this one early, but look for the Huskies to break through and build a lead the Bruins won’t come back from.
Big 12 Tournament
Texas Tech -120 vs. West Virginia
8:30 p.m. ET · ESPN+
The Red Raiders come into this opening-round matchup with a big edge on the mound. They’ll hand the ball to their ace, Mason Molina. The sophomore left-hander was fabulous this season, pitching to a 3.91 ERA over 14 starts and striking out 91 batters.
While having Texas Tech use its best pitcher is already enough of an edge, the Mountaineers are hurting themselves by making this a bullpen game. Freshman David Hagaman will make the first start of his career tonight against a very formidable lineup.
Now, Hagaman was dominant in 20 relief appearances, but he’s not built to make a spot start, and the Mountaineers’ staff is due to regress behind him.
West Virginia’s staff ERA is very respectable at 4.37, but it owns a FIP of 5.21. Put that against a Red Raiders lineup that hit .311 and boasts a wRC+ of 126 with an ISO of .215, and you have a recipe for trouble.
Auburn +115 vs. Vanderbilt
9 p.m. ET · SEC Network
Auburn rolled in its opening-round matchup against Missouri last night, winning 10-4. Its victory has earned it a date with the No. 8 team in the country: Vanderbilt.
Despite being one of the nation’s top teams, Vandy is a bit vulnerable entering this tournament. The Commodores’ vaunted pitching staff is weakened by injuries, and they’ll be missing two top starters in Carter Holton and Hunter Owen.
We likely won’t see Devin Futrell tonight, with their starting pitching depth limited. This will give the Tigers an opportunity to outslug Vandy.
The Commodores don’t have the pop in their order that Auburn does. They enter hitting just .273 with an ISO of .173. Compare that to the Tigers, who hit .292 with an ISO of .196 and a wRC+ of 114.
This is the spot for Auburn to pull off an upset.
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