Wilson: Super Regional Betting Preview and My Odds for Each Possible Pitching Matchup
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Justin Foscue
- Collin Wilson breaks down all eight NCAA Baseball Tournament Super Regionals and projects the moneylines for every possible pitching matchup.
Welcome to the Sweet 16 of NCAA baseball, better known as the Super Regionals. Opening weekend started with 64 teams in four-team pods in a double-elimination format, and now we’re down to 16.
Our Regionals preview called for plenty of SEC favorites, but did not see three teams that were among the last four at-large bids in advancing. Those three teams (Florida State, Michigan, Duke) look to parlay those upsets into a trip to Omaha for the College World Series.
March Madness is beloved because of the drama, but the volatile game endings may be even more extreme in college baseball.
Wild finishes came in every region. Louisville had a freshman walk it off to clinch against Illinois State, while Creighton rang up a 7-run 9th inning against Michigan to keep its hopes alive Saturday night. And no beat may have been worse than a Texas A&M walk-off grand slam to eliminate regional host West Virginia after the Aggies trailed 9-1.
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 2, 2019
Super Regionals will begin on Friday, June 7 and Saturday, June 8. Unlike the Regionals, ‘Supers’ are best-two-out-of-three in a head-to-head format. The winners of each Super Regional will make up the eight teams in the College World Series in Omaha, which begins June 15.
Odds to Win the College World Series
Odds via Westgate as of June 4
- Vanderbilt 4-1
- UCLA 5-1
- Arkansas 6-1
- Mississippi State 8-1
- Texas Tech 12-1
- Louisville 12-1
- Oklahoma State 14-1
- East Carolina 14-1
- LSU 14-1
- Stanford 16-1
- Ole Miss 20-1
- Auburn 20-1
- North Carolina 20-1
- Florida State 25-1
- Michigan 50-1
- Duke 50-1
Projected Lines for Every Super Regional Pitching Matchup
Below are Collin’s projected odds for each possible starting pitcher matchup in the eight Super Regionals.
Below that, he previews each Super Regional matchup.
Los Angeles Super Regional
All times ET.
Regional odds provided by Caesars Entertainment.
- Teams: UCLA (1) vs. Michigan
- Game Times: 6/7, 9 p.m. (ESPN2), 6/8, 9 p.m. (ESPN2), *6/9 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
- Where: Jackie Robinson Stadium
As mentioned above, Michigan was a ‘last four in’ selection for the tournament. Heading into the regionals, the Wolverines had lost seven of their previous 12 games, including a loss to sub-.500 Kentucky.
Playing with house money, the 3-seeded Wolverines beat Cincinnati and took two of three from Creighton to advance. Michigan’s bats put up 40 runs through four games in the Corvallis regional, a combination of hot hitting and poor pitching from its opponents. Cincinnati had a bullpen FIP of 5.06 and Creighton 4.53, both teams in stark contrast to UCLA’s impressive 3.78.
The Bruins allowed just 15 runs through five games in the Los Angeles region, with an early loss to Loyola Marymount sending them to the losers bracket. The Bruins avenged those losses in two consecutive victories over the Lions by a combined score of 12-4. Bullpens were the difference in the region, with the Bruins having aces Jack Ralston and Ryan Garcia unavailable after Saturday. All Pac-12 leadoff man Garrett Mitchell missed the series with illness, but is expected to return against the Wolverines.
There is history between the two teams, a Michigan 7-5 victory at UCLA on March 8. Wolverines pitcher Tommy Henry went 6 innings with 10 punchouts, and should have plenty of confidence coming into the supers. Zach Pettway threw for the Bruins that day but has since had injury hold him out for the remainder of the season.
Regardless of the midweek victory by Michigan in March, UCLA has plenty of advantages in the statistics. College baseball is driven by ace pitchers, bullpens and fielding percentage. UCLA ranks No. 4 in fielding percentage in contrast to Michigan’s rank of 58th. Both teams are top 50 in plenty of offensive categories, but UCLA’s rank of No. 7 in strikeout to walk ratio equates to fewer runners on base for the Wolverines when those fielding mistakes come.
Michigan has not been to the College World Series since 2007. While the Wolverines may steal a game, they do not have the fielding or bullpen depth to get the Big Ten to Omaha for the first time since 2013.
Team to Bet: UCLA -600
Nashville Super Regional
- Teams: Vanderbilt (2) vs. Duke
- Schedule: 6/7, 6 p.m. (ESPN2), 6/8, 9 p.m. (ESPNU), *6/9, 3 p.m. (ESPN2)
- Where: Hawkins Field
Another ‘last four in’ team, Duke zipped through Morgantown without suffering a loss. In two victories over Texas A&M and one over West Virginia, the Blue Devils had a run differential of +10. The Duke starting combination of Ben Gross, Bryce Jarvis and Ben Chillari went 19.2 innings, allowing just two earned runs to advance to Nashville.
Vanderbilt had a similar experience, winning three straight with a run differential of +20. The Commodores were heavy favorites to mow down a regional against Ohio State and Indiana State who have an RPI rating of 126th and 24th respectively. Vanderbilt has now lost just one game since April 14.
The advanced splits indicate this could be a quick series in favor of the Commodores. Vanderbilt’s bullpen FIP of 3.47 trumps Duke at 4.26. Fielding percentage supports the home team, an 8th to 144th ranking over the Blue Devils. Finally, a slugging percentage in the top 5 of all Division I baseball for Vanderbilt will be on display against a Duke team that ranks outside the top 100.
Team to Bet: Vanderbilt -1,400
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 3, 2019
Chapel Hill Super Regional
- Teams: North Carolina (14) vs. Auburn
- Schedule: 6/8, 12 p.m. (ESPN), 6/9, TBA (ESPN), *6/10, 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
- Where: Boshamer Stadium
The ACC will clash with the SEC in three separate Super Regionals. North Carolina plays host after three straight victories in regionals over UNCW, Liberty, and Tennessee. A victory over the Vols should bode well for the Heels heading into this weekend, but the same Tennessee was beaten four times by Auburn.
The Tigers also played just three games in the Atlanta regional, smoking Coastal Carolina and beating host Georgia Tech twice. There were questions about Auburn heading into the tournament, as the Tigers made no noise in the SEC Tournament and lost three of their final four series in conference play. North Carolina should be favored in every pitching matchup during this Super Regional, making Auburn the underdog SEC team of the weekend.
The Tigers rank within the top 100 in just three categories including ERA (94th), K/BB ratio (63rd) and fielding percentage (78th). The bullpen FIP numbers support an ACC victory with North Carolina at 4.63 to Auburn’s 5.17.
The Tar Heels beat Georgia Tech 10-2 in the ACC Tournament and had a much better home record than the Jackets. With a top 20 offensive rating, look for the Tar Heels to prevent another SEC team from getting to Omaha.
Team to Bet: North Carolina -190
Baton Rouge Super Regional
- Teams: LSU (13) vs. Florida State
- Schedule: 6/8, 3 p.m. (ESPN), 6/9, 6 p.m. (ESPN2), *6/10, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
- Where: Alex Box Stadium
Georgia was in the conversation as one of the best teams in the nation after SEC play. But with an RPI rating of 50 and an out of conference strength of schedule of 220th, Florida State bounced the Bulldogs out of the postseason by a combined score of 22-4 in two games. With a slugging percentage and scoring rank in the top 50, the Seminoles have shown they can hit anything down the pipe.
LSU posted a +20 run differential against Stony Brook and Southern Miss. The Tigers revived their season by winning 10 of their past 13 games with an improved ERA of 3.53. LSU will need stellar freshman pitching to continue against a Seminoles team that is top 25 in home runs per game, slugging and on-base percentage.
LIFT OFF IN ATHENS! 🚀
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) May 31, 2019
These teams field similar bullpen splits, while LSU holds a fielding percentage advantage and Florida State a better strikeout to walk ratio. Mike Martin is in his last season as Florida State head coach, a position he has held since 1980.
I like Florida State to win two of three in this super, but pay attention to the Game 1 start time of 3 p.m. ET. Shadows will play a big part against the hitters, and an under play on Saturday will likely be on my betting ticket.
Team to Bet: Florida State +145
Fayetteville Super Regional
- Teams: Arkansas (5) vs. Ole Miss (12)
- Schedule: 6/8, 12 p.m. (ESPN2), 6/9, 3 p.m. (ESPNU), *6/10, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
- Where: Baum Stadium at George Cole Field
One way to generate a heated discussion on social media is to claim your home ball park is the best. Baum-Walker Stadium certainly makes that case for Arkansas, though plenty of other Super Regionals sites are in Baseball America’s top 10. The Hogs hit and pitch better at home, evident by a record of 94-18 at home since the start of the 2017 season. Four of those 18 defeats came at the hands of Ole Miss.
The Rebels have a 3-2 edge over the Razorbacks in head-to-head competition this year, including a weekend series win in Fayetteville. If that sounds familiar, Ole Miss took a series in Fayetteville last season against a Razorbacks team that finished as national runner-up. Four of the five head-to-heads this year had a winning margin of two runs or fewer and a total no greater than 8.
Pitching matchups will be important. The Razorbacks have touched up Ole Miss starters Will Ethridge and Doug Nikhazy, while the Rebels have had success against Patrick Wicklander.
Isaiah Campbell and Connor Noland have both had quality starts against Ole Miss, while the Rebels Gunnar Hoglund has dominated the Hogs in over 9 innings pitched. Ole Miss has the fielding advantage in this one, as well.
Arkansas is listed at -180 for the series at Caesars. There is simply too much value on an Ole Miss team that has beaten Arkansas in the SEC Tournament and in Fayetteville this season.
Team to Bet: Ole Miss +160
- Teams: Mississippi State (6) vs. Stanford (11)
- Schedule: 6/8, 3 p.m. (ESPN2), 6/9, 9 p.m. (ESPNU), *6/10, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
- Where: Polk-Dement Stadium
Mississippi State is another regional host that needed just three games to advance to the Supers. Neither Southern, Central Michigan and Miami came within three runs of defeating the Bulldogs.
Stanford had a much different story, being dominated by Fresno State starting pitcher Ryan Jensen in their first matchup. The Cardinal avoided Jensen the remainder of the weekend, winning three straight to advance.
If Jensen’s strikeout rate was too much for Stanford in the regionals, Mississippi State brings the third-best strikeout rate and strikeout-to-walk ration in the nation. Stanford advocates will point to a 17-4 record away from home, but a strength of schedule rank of 74th indicates the Trees may not be ready for Dudy Noble.
— Mississippi State Baseball ⚾️ (@HailStateBB) June 3, 2019
Stanford’s offense is boom or bust, ranking sixth in home runs per game but just 44th in scoring. Cardinal hitters also strikeout plenty, as the top home run threats Brandon Wulff and Andrew Daschbach whiffed 114 times in 403 at bats (28%). Look for Cowbell pitcher Ethan Small to feast and for Mississippi State to advance to Omaha.
Team to Bet: Mississippi State -330
Louisville Super Regional
- Teams: Louisville (7) vs. East Carolina (10)
- Schedule: 6/7, 12 p.m. (ESPN2), 6/8, 3 p.m. (ESPNU), *6/9 12 p.m. (ESPN2)
- Where: Jim Patterson Stadium
Both Louisville and East Carolina battled through their respective losers brackets to advance. The Pirates had to beat Campbell twice on Monday before booking a trip to Louisville.
The handicap on this series may come down to when the strikeout aces pitch. East Carolina’s Jake Agnos and Louisville’s Reid Detmers both rank in the top 10 nationally in strikeouts.
— ECU Baseball (@ECUBaseball) June 2, 2019
ECU and Louisville have similar fielding percentages, ranking 34th and 35th nationally. The bullpens FIP numbers are separated by 0.11.
The biggest difference is offensive philosophy, with Louisville ranking outside the top 100 in home runs but 16th in scoring. That is in contrast to East Carolina ranking 30th in slugging and 38th in home runs per game.
The series may be too close to call with bullpens, fielding percentage and starting aces all putting up similar numbers against a similar strength of schedule. Backing the underdog in coin flip situation is always suggested, but it may be more wise to bet each individual game.
Look to back the Pirates when Jake Agnos starts, Louisville when Reid Detmers starts or an under if these aces meet head to head.
Team to Bet: East Carolina +120
Lubbock Super Regional
- Teams: Texas Tech (8) vs. Oklahoma State (9)
- Schedule: 6/7, 4 p.m. (ESPN2), 6/8, 6 p.m. (ESPNU), *6/9, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
- Where: Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park
These teams met the weekend of April 26 in Lubbock, and Tech got the sweep. The Red Raiders also won all four matchups with the Cowboys last season.
The Red Raiders had a +19 run differential through the three games this year. Through seven games in the past 54 weeks, the Red Raiders have not lost to the Cowboys, posting a +40 run differential.
Texas Tech has a much more reliable bullpen, posting a FIP of 3.65 to Oklahoma State’s 4.69. The Cowboys have a poor fielding percentage, ranking 122nd to the Red Raiders 42nd.
On the offensive end, this should be all Texas Tech. The home team is 14th in scoring to the Pokes rank of 84th. Mathematics aside, this Texas Tech team has dominated a Pokes team that has been displaced from Stillwater for multiple weeks. Take the home team here.
Team to Bet: Texas Tech -270