College World Series Preview: Stanford Emerges as Best Bet, Ole Miss Live Dog
We made it, folks, as the College World Series is finally upon us. The final eight teams in the country are set to battle it out for a National Championship.
The road to Omaha was filled with twists and turns, with only two of the top 16 seeds making it to this point. Tennesse and Oregon State are the two most significant omissions, as they were both upset after being the top two ranked teams in the nation for most of the season. However, the lack of top programs does not mean there is a lack of talent. Each of these teams has many stars, along with the grit and determination to fight for one more week.
College World Series Odds @DraftKings:
It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same.
That is the case with the Texas Longhorns, who find themselves the favorites to win the College World Series right where they were in the preseason. While the Tennessee Volunteers may have supplanted them in the regular season, the Longhorns were still dominant in their own right.
The boys from Austin hit .318 as a team and clobbered 128 homers. Thirty-two of those homers came from Ivan “The Hispanic Titanic” Melendez, who is the clear favorite to win the Golden Spikes Award. They are not all offense as they have a bonafide ace in Pete Hansen. Hansen has been one of the most dominant starters in the country as he enters Omaha with an 11-2 record, a 3.40 ERA, and 115 strikeouts in 103 innings.
However, Texas is a team that could struggle in the format of the College World Series as they lack pitching depth. Sophomore Lucas Gordon backs up Hansen in the rotation, but after that, it is a crap shoot. The Longhorns also have had issues finding consistency with their bullpen. Their bats have gotten them to this point, but they’ll need some unsung heroes on the mound if they want to win it all.
The Ole Miss Rebels are a team that has gotten hot at the right time. They have won every postseason game on their way to Omaha and showed the talent that earned them their high preseason ranking. The Rebels were a consensus top ten team entering the season, but they struggled mightily in conference play and would ultimately finish the season with a losing record against the rest of the SEC.
That’s ancient history as they rolled through regionals and followed it up with a two-game sweep of Southern Miss. What’s made the difference is their pitching. Hunter Elliot and Dylan DeLucia have been tremendous over their last few starts and have allowed the potent Ole Miss bats to build big leads. When the Rebels are right, they can put up crooked numbers, but their revitalized starting rotation gives them the chance to win it all.
At +650 to win it all in Omaha, the Rebels provide excellent value as the fifth choice on the betting odds at DraftKings, behind Texas, Stanford, Notre Dame, and fellow SEC representative Arkansas.
The Best Bet
Entering the postseason, Stanford had cemented their place as the second-best team in the country, but with Tennessee going down, the Cardinal are the best team heading to Omaha. They have the second-best odds to win the College World Series and a red-hot offense, as they have outscored their opposition 74 to 39 since the start of postseason play.
On top of their explosive lineup, they have a solid pitching staff with an incredible one-two punch in Alex Williams and Quinn Mathews leading the way. Stanford is a team built to go all the way; they are the best bet to do that.
The Best of the Rest
Notre Dame: The Irish brought the fight to Tennessee and upset the No. 1 team in the country to punch their ticket to Omaha. Notre Dame has the pitching to make a run, but if it falters, their lack of power could leave them in a hole against teams that are much more potent offensively.
Auburn: The Tigers showed they could mash with the best as they slugged their way through regionals but then surprised everyone by containing Oregon State. Sonny DiChiara leads them, arguably the best pure hitter in the country. However, like others, their main concern is pitching depth. Yes, the bullpen is solid, but they only have one reliable starter in Joseph Gonzalez.
Arkansas: Much like Ole Miss, the Razorbacks were a preseason favorite that struggled in the mighty SEC. The bats were much quieter than last year, and the rotation also had its share of ups and downs. Although, they flipped the switch in the postseason. The bats erupted in Stillwater, and Connor Noland took over in Chapel Hill to get them here. The only thing to be seen is if they can put it all together for the next week.
Oklahoma: The Sooners may be the hottest team in the country. They began to put it all together in the Big 12 tournament and have not taken their foot off the gas. The Sooners lineup is fierce with the power and speed, capable of generating runs in a hurry. However, pitching depth and the bullpen could be their downfall. Oklahoma’s ace Jake Bennett is tremendous, and Cade Horton has emerged as a dominant back-end option, but every other arm is a real question mark.
Texas A&M: The Aggies have been scorching hot since the beginning of May, and even though they made it here, the market expects their run to end. The bats are dangerous, but unfortunately, their pitching staff can be just as explosive. Their top two starters have ERAs above 4.50, and they only have three reliable options behind them. That is not a good formula for week-long success.
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