How to Bet College Baseball

Mississippi St. Bulldogs College World Series Championship
Members of the ground ready the field before the start of the Vanderbilt Commodores and Mississippi St. Bulldogs game three of the College World Series Championship. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFP.

Memorial Day is known as Selection Monday for college baseball, as the road to the College World Series began with the field being revealed.

Two weekends of action will determine which teams qualify for the CWS. The double-elimination regionals will take place the first weekend in June, at campus sites, followed by the Super Regionals, which are best of three series. Then the double-elimination College World Series begins.

While it’s played on a diamond, with a bat, ball, and gloves, it doesn’t take long to see that college baseball is a very different animal from MLB, and, while MLB is a staple in the sports betting landscape, the action on college baseball isn’t as common or heavy. That can open up an opportunity for someone who knows what they’re doing.

Differences Between College Baseball and MLB

  • – Like the NBA compared to college basketball, MLB is far more player-centric than its college equivalent.
  • – College baseball coaches are far more likely to impose themselves in an average game, and even more so when the stakes get raised at tournament time.
  • – Multiple pitching changes in an inning, something they’re trying to limit at the Major League level, are commonplace in college.
  • – Mid-at-bat changes, something almost never seen in the big leagues, aren’t all that rare.
  • – College games are also more likely to see bunting, steals, double-steals, intentional walks and all the things that old-timers bemoan have been taken out of the Major Leagues.

Importance of the Coach Explained

Like in the other major collegiate sports—football and basketball—the emphasis on the coach means that the teams with the best coaches are perennial contenders. It also means the teams that can spend the most on their coaching staffs—the power conferences—are usually the ones left fighting for the title at the end.

In the last 10 CWS finals, power conference teams have made up 19 of the 20 teams playing for the title. Coastal Carolina was the only one outside the Big Four to crash the party.

And really, the Big Four is a Big One. The ACC has sent two teams to the final in the last 10 tournaments, the Big Ten one team and the Pac-12 four. The SEC, meanwhile, has sent more than half the participants–12 of the 20 teams.

Analyzing the Pitcher in College Baseball

Betting college baseball is similar to most card games, you’ll want to look for the aces. While coaches love to change pitchers as the game wears on, the road to success is usually paved by the powerful arm of a dominant starting pitcher. And college teams are willing to ride a starter until the very end.

Pitch counts and concern about the number of times through the order are for the major leaguers. Last weekend, Louisiana got a spot in the Sun Belt Conference championship game on the strength of a 142-pitch complete game.

Look for teams with dominant starting pitchers, because, when push comes to shove, they’ll likely be on the mound.

Understanding the RPI

The NCAA field was selected and seeded with a heavy emphasis on the RPI, a measure of a team’s performance and schedule strength.

That means that mismatches or upset potential can be found in areas that the RPI doesn’t measure, including run differential. It’s also a long season and RPI looks at all of it.

Many teams develop as the year goes on or run into trouble down the stretch, so the recent record is a good place to look. And, obviously, RPI doesn’t measure the impact of an injury on a team.