The niche sport of college baseball enjoys one brief stint in the national sports spotlight every year. It’s time for the 2021 College World Series, which kicks off June 19 in Omaha. The last Super Regionals ended Monday, and markets have opened for the 2021 tournament. Here, we’ll take a look at the 2021 College World Series odds, team by team.
2021 College World Series Format And Venue
Before diving into the teams, a word on the format for CWS neophytes.
Eight teams make up the final tournament, split into two groups of four. Each group plays its own double-elimination bracket. So, losers of the opening games face off in an elimination match while the winners play for a trip to the bracket final. After either six or seven games, every team but one on each side will have lost twice and been eliminated.
The winners of each pod then play best-of-three for the championship.
Another critical factor to consider when handicapping the field: the ballpark. Park factors always play a role in baseball, and the CWS is no different.
While designers built TD Ameritrade Park to mimic the dimensions of the old homer-happy Rosenblatt Stadium, it has played nothing like the old venue since opening in 2011.
For reasons that haven’t been completely sussed out, TD Ameritrade has played as a pitcher’s haven. Scoring has dropped precipitously since the “gorilla ball” days of the late 1990s. Back then, teams scored in double digits regularly. The average winning score in the 1998 CWS was 9.86, a far cry from the 5.13 required in 2019.
What does it all mean? Essentially, teams reliant on power hitting lose some of their value. In contrast, contact-heavy offenses should perform a bit better. Speed, particularly in the outfield defense, should play up as well since more balls than usual will end up playable. Pitchers who allow many fly balls should find the confines friendlier for the same reason.
With that in mind, let’s run through the teams and their prices. All stats come from NCAA.com.
2021 College World Series Finalists odds
All listed prices come from DraftKings Sportsbook.
- Price: +275 (26.67% implied probability)
- National rank: 3
- RPI rank: 3
- Key batting stats (BA/OBP/SLG): .297/.388/.503
- Key pitching stats (ERA/WHIP/K-to-BB): 3.37/1.07/3.19
The Commodores won the CWS last time it was held, in 2019. They boast an extremely strong pitching staff with both Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker at time considered candidates to go No. 1 overall in the MLB draft. They held fellow national seed East Carolina to one run in a two-game sweep in the Super Regional.
Player to watch: RHP Rocker. The 6-foot-5 righty starred in the 2019 title run and was once the favorite to be the top pick in the draft. His strikeout stuff has remained strong but his control has backslid a bit as he walked 4.8 per 9 last year and 3.1 this year.
- Price: +325 (23.53% implied probability)
- National rank: 2
- RPI rank: 6
- Key batting stats (BA/OBP/SLG): .281/.400/.447
- Key pitching stats (ERA/WHIP/K-to-BB): 2.89/1.13/2.68
Texas caught a bit of a break on the road to Omaha after getting through a tough region. They drew upstart South Florida, the bottom seed in its region, and won in a sweep. They led the nation in ERA by a mile, thanks in part to right-handed starter Ty Madden, a projected first-round pick.
Player to watch: CF Mike Antico. The senior brings blazing speed on the basepaths, with 39 thefts against just 4 CS. That could play a big role in the small-ball environment of TD Ameritrade.
- Price: +350 (22.22% implied probability)
- National rank: 4
- RPI rank: 5
- Key batting stats (BA/OBP/SLG): .280/.385/.477
- Key pitching stats (ERA/WHIP/K-to-BB): 3.42/1.15/3.72
Another team that rode stellar pitching to Omaha, the Vols ranked second in the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio, no easy feat playing in the SEC. They trounced perennial power LSU in the Super Regional to make the CWS for the first time since 2004. The Vols should have one of the best fan contingents and drew a favorable first game against unseeded Virginia.
Player to watch: RHP Chad Dallas. Dallas brought his best stuff against some of Tennessee’s toughest opposition. In regular season starts against LSU, Florida and Vanderbilt, he fanned 29 while walking just one. He then turned in a 12 K, 1 BB performance against LSU in the Super Regional.
- Price: +600 (14.29% implied probability)
- National rank: 6
- RPI rank: 9
- Key batting stats (BA/OBP/SLG): .329/.428/.513
- Key pitching stats (ERA/WHIP/K-to-BB): 4.43/1.42/2.40
Unlike the favored teams above, Arizona does not bring a top pitching staff to Omaha, ranking outside the top 50 in all of the key metrics. What they do bring is a top-flight offense, ranking no worse than sixth in the triple-slash categories. They averaged 9.33 runs in their 2-1 victory over Ole Miss in the Super Regional.
Player to watch: DH Jacob Berry. A freshman slugger who garnered All-America honors, Berry slugged .692. He hammered 17 homers and 18 doubles to power the Wildcats offense.
Mississippi State (40-15)
- Price: +650 (13.33% implied probability)
- National rank: 8
- RPI rank: 7
- Key batting stats (BA/OBP/SLG): .282/.378/.450
- Key pitching stats (ERA/WHIP/K-to-BB): 4.05/1.28/3.17
Like their SEC brethren, the Bulldogs relied on great run prevention to punch their ticket to Omaha. They scraped by Notre Dame in the Super Regional 2-1 despite a negative run differential. They’ll need to get more out of their starters, who only went an average of four innings per start there.
Player to watch: C Logan Tanner. The sophomore led the pitching staff while also hitting 13 homers and batting fifth. He came up big against Notre Dame with two home runs and a double.
- Price: +800 (11.11% implied probability)
- National rank: 9
- RPI rank: 13
- Key batting stats (BA/OBP/SLG): .281/.368/.463
- Key pitching stats (ERA/WHIP/K-to-BB): 4.57/1.35/2.09
Not a particularly menacing team statistically, the Cardinal finished third in the PAC-12. However, they wiped the floor with nationally seeded Texas Tech in the Super Regional on the road. Their two wins had a combined score of 24-3.
Player to watch: OF Brock Jones. The lefty-hitting outfielder mashed 16 home runs to rank among the nation’s leaders, slugging .620 in the process. He went 4-for-9 with seven RBIs in the Super Regional.
- Price: +1000 (9.09% implied probability)
- National rank: NR
- RPI rank: 39
- Key batting stats (BA/OBP/SLG): .263/.352/.392
- Key pitching stats (ERA/WHIP/K-to-BB): 3.61/1.34/2.79
The first of the unseeded Cinderellas to make this year’s CWS. Virginia sports a light-punching offense that ranked 171st or worse in the triple-slash batting stats. However, their pitching is solid, and it helped them edge Dallas Baptist in a low-scoring Super Regional.
Player to watch: OF Kyle Teel. Considered a good pro prospect at catcher, Teel currently mans right field for the Cavaliers. He’s Virginia’s best hitter and showed a flair for the dramatic with a go-ahead grand slam in the deciding Super Regional game.
NC State (30-17)
- Price: +1200 (7.69% implied probability)
- National rank: 16
- RPI rank: 35
- Key batting stats (BA/OBP/SLG): .289/.370/.501
- Key pitching stats (ERA/WHIP/K-to-BB): 5.12/1.31/2.54
The Wolfpack pulled the upset — and statistical anomaly — of the tournament. Somehow, they managed to beat top-seeded Arkansas in the Super Regional despite a -17 run differential, rebounding from a 21-2 trouncing in the opener. Their lopsided batting line indicates a heavy focus on power, and they’ll need to hope the ballpark helps mask the pitching staff’s weakness.
Player to watch: OF Jonny Butler. Butler leads the team in batting average and on-base percentage. He’s also been their most prolific and efficient base thief with 16 steals in 17 attempts.