College World Series Game 2 Odds: Star Power Aplenty In No. 1 Tennessee Vs. No. 8 Florida State

Written By Brett Gibbons | Last Updated
cws odds tennessee florida state

The top team in the country, the No. 1 Tennessee Volunteers, takes on the No. 8 Florida State Seminoles on the opening day of the College World Series. Tennessee opened as a heavy -245 favorite on the moneyline odds in their opening CWS game, while Florida State opened at +186. It took the Vols three games to fend off fiery Evansville in the Super Regional while the ‘Noles broke records in a two-game decimation of UConn. Both teams are well experienced in Omaha – Florida State has the third-most appearances of any team (24).

Florida State vs. Tennessee begins Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET from Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska. Watch the game on ESPN or ESPN+.

Tennessee Vs. Florida State CWS Odds

Compare Tennessee vs. Florida State game odds from the best sports betting sites below. Click on odds to place a bet.

The Case For Tennessee

You don’t have to squint too hard to see the path to Tennessee playing in – and potentially winning – the College World Series finals. The Vols’ star power in the batting order, particularly Christian Moore (32 home runs), is enough to win the games they’re favored in more times than not. But it’s not just Moore who provides lethal power, as five Volunteers have 18 or more home runs on the season. Tennessee, as a team, has the second-most home runs in a single season ever (173 and quickly closing in on LSU’s 188 from 1997).

Tennessee leaves absolutely no room for error among opposing pitchers. And this lineup doesn’t sneak them out of the yard. The Vols have among the most power top-to-bottom of any team in the field – a necessary trait for Charles Schwab Field (the center field wall measures 408 feet, more in line with MLB parks than college). Of the eight remaining teams, Tennessee likely hurts the least from the extended dimensions.

Pitching prowess isn’t concentrated on just a couple of star arms. Four different Volunteers have three or more saves this year. Likewise, six Vols have four or more starts. Depth in the pitching corps matters, and Tennessee has plenty of it.

While Drew Beam (8-2, 4.44 ERA) came into the season as the star name, AJ Causey (12-3, 3.77) has been the ace. An efficient arm, Causey has 117 strikeouts to just 19 walks in 86 innings thus far. Closing duties typically fall on two equal right-handed options: Nate Snead (3.48) and Aaron Combs (2.41).

The Case Against

The biggest looming trend sits heavy on the Vols. A No. 1 overall seed has not won the College World Series since 1999. Only two others even made the final series (Texas in 2004 and 2009). As the No. 1 overall seed in 2022, Tennessee was knocked out in the Super Regionals by Notre Dame.

While incredibly talented, the pitching staff, frankly, hasn’t been excellent this postseason. Evansville put on a home run derby in a Game 2 upset, and teams do succeed with power hitting against this aggressive staff. If the rotation that showed up in the SEC Tournament also shows up in the College World Series, Tennessee is nearly unbeatable. But we’ve seen cracks in the armor.

But they’re College World Series odds favorites for a reason.

The Case for Florida State

Perhaps the least-talked-about team in the field, Florida State has made the NCAA Tournament look easy. After being decimated in the ACC Tournament final by Duke, FSU hopped on a lawnmower and cut down the competition ahead. Not only are the Seminoles 5-0 in this tournament, no game’s even been close. In Game 1 of the Tallahassee Super Regional, FSU set tournament records for runs scored and margin of victory with a 24-4 blowout of UConn.

Virginia gets the attention for its hitting, but Florida State is right there with them. The Noles have more pop in the lineup, with James Tibbs leading the way with 28 home runs. Four FSU batters have at least 15 home runs, and a fifth adds 13 more. This is a lethal lineup in a number of ways – both with power and efficiency.

Jamie Arnold (11-3, 2.77) is the unquestioned ace in this lineup. With 155 strikeouts (most among remaining pitchers, third-most in the country), Arnold is likely to take the mound first against Tennessee. The quality of pitching doesn’t falter after that, with six other arms posting under a 5.00 ERA in at least 30 innings. The only pitcher not to qualify there is Andrew Armstrong (6.98), who is 5-0 on the season.

A 7-1 record on neutral ground is the best mark in the College World Series. That includes three wins in the ACC Tournament and a fourth against Florida midseason.

The Case Against

On paper, the pitching has been terrific all year. But against more aggressive and better-hitting teams, the lineup falters. Five times in their last 10 games, FSU allowed eight or more runs. Look no further than Georgia Tech, Duke, and Virginia – all of whom have aggressive and powerful lineups. Tennessee tops them all.

Thus far, Florida State has lucked out. While their Regional and Super Regional matchups shouldn’t be classified as “easy,” they certainly had a favorable draw. However, that draw wasn’t as favorable as the team across the field from them.

Expected Pitching Matchup

The strategy for pitching in the College World Series is extremely difficult. Do you keep your ace arms for elimination games? Maintain your usual rotation? Or exercise the big guns early to avoid getting in elimination games at all?

We likely won’t know starters until 24 hours before (or even fewer), but here’s who may go if both teams rely on their usual rotation.

Tennessee: Opener/AJ Causey (12-3, 3.77 ERA)

  • The Vols haven’t had a consistent “Opening Tournament” starter in the SEC Tournament, Regionals, or Super Regionals. One trend they have shown is the willingness to throw out an opener, perhaps Chris Stamos (3-0, 4.02), and quickly follow up with Causey. Beam might come in for a second or elimination game.

Florida State: Jamie Arnold (11-3, 2.77 ERA)

  • When facing a team heavily favored and as talented as Tennessee, you have to start the ace. Beating Tennessee here means you might not see them again until the bracket final. By the time FSU faces elimination (should they win Game 2), Arnold might be ready to go again.

Final Thoughts on Tennessee Vs. Florida State Odds

Handicapping a Jamie Arnold game is usually pretty easy: take FSU or stay away. Against a stacked Tennessee lineup, I lean stay away.

At -245, and removing the vig, Tennessee has an implied win rate of 67%. Against a pitcher as strong as Arnold, I find that price a bit steep to pay. However, I’m not confident enough to take FSU at 33%, either. When the run line comes out, I’ll play Florida State at +2.5 or better, should that number be available.

I’d also consider taking under the run total for this game. Both teams offer power-hitting aplenty, but with two lockdown arms on the mound, you might be able to take advantage of an inflated total. I’ll play under anything above 12 runs.