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Who Will Win 2021 College World Series?

June 23, 2021
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College baseball fans are getting exactly what they missed in 2020 – a College World Series. The coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the event last year, but the 2021 College World Series is underway at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. It’s the 71st time the city of Omaha has hosted college baseball’s ultimate event.

The favorite entering this year’s CWS is defending champion Vanderbilt, which won it all in 2019. The Commodores face elimination on Wednesday, June 23, when they take on Stanford which is back in the CWS for the first time since 2008.

The 2021 College World Series has been full of surprises and will no doubt have a few more in store by the time it finishes on June 30. Here’s a look at how it might all pan out.

Defending Champs

As mentioned, Vanderbilt is the defending CWS champion and, as such, was plugged in as the +280 favorite to win it all again. The Commodores went 45-15 during the regular season and are the fourth-ranked team in the country.

What gives Vandy a shot at a repeat is its superior pitching. Kumar Rocker was a freshman in 2019 when he won the CWS Most Outstanding Player award. He and teammate Jack Leiter will both likely be chosen in the top-5 of this summer’s MLB draft. Combined, the two went 23-6 with a 2.32 ERA and struck out 311 batters in 202 innings during the regular season.

The Surprises

After defeating Arizona in their first game, Vandy took on N.C. State, which has been the story of the CWS this year. The Wolfpack got beat 21-2 by the nation’s top-ranked team – Arkansas – in their super-regional. N.C. State then battled back to beat the Razorbacks twice and earn a trip to Omaha.

The Wolfpack beat Stanford in their CWS opener and then beat Leiter and the Commodores 1-0 in Game 2. This is the first trip to Omaha for N.C. State since 2013. The Wolfpack went 35-18 during the regular season thanks to a strong lineup that hits .289 (42nd in the nation). The school has never won a CWS, but this could be the year. It would be great for bettors too who could have taken the Wolfpack at +1200 when the CWS started.

The other surprise is Mississippi State (+1000). The Bulldogs and Wolfpack are the only two remaining unbeaten teams as of June 23. Mississippi State beat perennial power Texas 2-1 in their first game and then edged Virginia (+1000) in Game 2. Like Vanderbilt, the Bulldogs have outstanding pitching as they lead the nation in strikeouts per nine innings. They also have the best closer in the CWS in Landon Sims who has struck out 85 of the 139 hitters he has faced this season.

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The Winner

Arizona (+800) is the top hitting team in the tournament. As a team, the Wildcats hit .326 (4th) and have five players that each bat over .325. The problem is that pitching is what will win championships and the Wildcats aren’t in the same boat with the other teams in Omaha. Arizona was eliminated after losing to Stanford 14-5 in their second game. 

Texas (+300) has six CWS titles to its credit but hasn’t won one since 2005. The Longhorns have the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year in Ty Madden, but might not have a deep enough rotation to go toe-to-toe with the others in the tournament. Texas was upset by Mississippi State in Game 1 but rallied to beat Tennessee (+600) in Game 2. The Vols actually had a better record than Vandy and won the SEC East, but were eliminated from the CWS with the loss to the Longhorns. 

This year’s champion comes down to one of three teams – Vanderbilt, N.C. State, or Mississippi State. The Commodores will have to battle elimination against Stanford (+800). Should they win, Vandy will then have a rematch with the Wolfpack. N.C. State might not have the pitching to match Vandy, but they are the hottest team in baseball. 

Mississippi State has given up just six runs in the tournament so far. Only one team has given up fewer – the Wolfpack. If you can still find N.C. State to win at plus-money at an online sportsbook, you might want to jump on it. They will continue to surprise the CWS field.