Sixteen teams are two wins away from reaching the College World Series, as they are set to begin super-regionals tomorrow afternoon. One of the super-regionals set to start on Saturday will feature two big names in the college baseball world, with the Stanford Cardinals playing host to the Texas Longhorns. We’ll break down what the series could look like, and betting picks for a few markets available.
The Stanford Cardinals find themselves in a super-regional for the third straight season, and for a second consecutive year, they will be hosting. After finding themselves in their own regional losers bracket, the Cardinals rallied back to beat the Texas A&M Aggies in two straight games to win it.
Offensively, the Cardinals were highly impressive in the regional, scoring six or more runs in each game, as the trio of Tommy Troy, Braden Montgomery, and Alberto Rios led them. On the pitching side, the Cardinals are led by left-hander Quinn Matthews, as his four relief innings in the regional final game helped seal the deal for Stanford.
Speaking of the bullpen, Ryan Bruno is a name to watch for this weekend. The junior played a huge role at the back end of games this season and will be vital against a strong Texas team that swept the Coral Gables regional. The Longhorns sent the host Miami Hurricanes to the loser's bracket and then quickly eliminated them in the Regional Championship by a final score of 10-6.
Texas may have scored ten runs in the regional final game, but their pitching got them into that prime position. The duo of Lucas Gordon and Lebarron Johnson Jr. was too much for the rest of the regional to handle, as they combined for 16 strikeouts and two earned runs across 16 innings. After Gordon and Johnson Jr., however, is where the Longhorns could run into trouble.
Regarding offense, the Longhorns have a loaded lineup that is highly dangerous at the top of the order. The first five guys in their lineup hit .316 or better this season, and six of the team’s ten runs in the Regional Championship came off the bat of those guys.
Currently, the Cardinals are listed at (-120) to win the series, and I’ll be backing them to advance to the CWS. We know both sides can score runs in bunches, but I trust the Cardinals pitching depth more. In game one, we will likely see Quinn Matthews vs. Lucas Gordon, and with how he looked against Texas A&M, I give the edge to Matthews and Stanford.
The Cardinals have more options on who they give the ball to once Matthews is done with Ryan Bruno, Drew Dowd, or Brandt Pancer. The trio has a combined 16 saves this season, and I think they will challenge the Longhorns' offense more than the Texas bullpen will challenge the Cardinals' lineup. Now with that said, I think this will be a back-and-forth series, so my second pick is the series to go over 2.5 games, which is priced at (-125).
Ultimately, I think Lebarron Johnson Jr. can carry the momentum from his regional performance into this weekend and give the Longhorns enough to win game two. I like Stanford to take game three because their stacked lineup can attack the rest of the Longhorns' pitching staff. With six guys in their lineup boasting double-digit home runs and nine guys with an OPS of .846 or higher, I think we see the Cardinals book a ticket back to Omaha.
Stanford to Win the Series (-120)
Game Played Over 2.5 (-125)