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HERE. WE. GO. The right for the only SEC team to play in the College World Series Finals this season kicks off at 4:00 PM ET (was 7:00 PM ET, but thank the weather). It's Arkansas against Ole Miss, two big-time conference rivals will go toe-to-toe for the sixth time this season with everything on the line. Between two programs with strange slogans like “Hotty Toddy” and “Woo Pig Sooie,” who’s it going to be, Arkansas or Ole Miss?
Quick piece of advice for any type of bets for college baseball, SHOP AROUND. A lot of different books are hanging mispriced numbers, so you can take advantage of them.
*Each play will be labeled (1 through number “X”) to determine how I rank my plays on a daily basis.
Ole Miss Rebels (+100) @ Arkansas Razorbacks (-120) | Over/Under 10.5 (1)
Let’s settle this once and for all. This could be the last chance I get to say this: one team will be chasing destiny against the already-booked Oklahoma Sooners, and the other will be aggressively hunting for the best groupon discounts to Turks and Caicos, even though I’m not sure if Groupon goes that extravagant. Anyway, there is no guessing about the pitching matchup today as it will be streaking ace against streaking ace. Connor Noland vs. Dylan DeLucia, who ya got?
If Arkansas manages to win today and advance, they need to build a statue in gratitude of their savior, Zack Morris (no, not that one) who came into last night’s game with the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the 9th, clinging to a 3-1 lead. Morris proceeds to lock it down to ensure the Razorbacks win 3-2. Today, we see a surging Noland taking the bumpski, who has only allowed three earned runs in his last three starts across 21.1 IP. What’s made him dangerous lately is his ground ball-inducing arsenal (23 during last three starts), which has also allowed him to eat up a ton of innings. Back in late April, Noland dished out four runs and 11 hits over eight innings against this Ole Miss squad en route to a 4-2 loss. If he wants payback, the key today is to pull one of his signature starts because runs are likely to be at a premium. Their big boys in the lineup like Cayden Wallace, Brady Slavens, Chris Lanzilli and Peyton Stovall need to do a better job of executing with runners in scoring position than they did yesterday. Despite this potent offense, they battle nearly an exact replica on the other side today in these Rebels.
What a time for your first loss of the tournament, eh? Now sitting at 7-1 in the postseason, the Rebs have a chance to shake off that drama-dripped finish last night. Of course, they are throwing their season savior, Dylan DeLucia. And yes, I think he literally saved their season when he grabbed a stranglehold of the Friday night spot in the rotation back in early-to-mid April. After pumping out four quality starts (out of five tries) from mid-April to mid-May against some quality SEC opponents, DeLucia went on a little cold streak at the wrong time, but quickly regained it in time for the Regionals. Over his last three starts (19.1 IP), he has only surrendered five runs while recording 31 punchies. Additionally, one of those April starts was against this Arkansas team, where he went seven innings giving up only two runs and striking out nine. Point blank, the kid has been locked in. With the offense cleared for takeoff behind the captain Tim Elko, Jacob Gonzalez, Justin Bench and Kemp Alderman, the Rebs need to do a much better job of capitalizing on their chances than they did yesterday. The team that seizes an opportunity first could be the difference.
In case you missed yesterday’s article, I briefly said I thought Arkansas would win last night to force a winner-take-all, but Ole Miss would deploy DeLucia to shut the door for the Rebs to move on. I have not wavered on that thought. One of the biggest advantages in my opinion is that Ole Miss has their two best back-end bullpen options fresh tonight, while Ark used some key ones. Although it’s basically a pick’em, the Razorbacks have garnered a little more favorite status, and I’m not sure why. This is truly one of the biggest coin flips I have seen all year, but I think the Rebels get it done today. You don’t want to miss this one.
FYI: The Total was about 10.5 this morning and is seeing some crazy movement early. I’m actually shocked the books opened this low, not because it's correct, but because they got something right when they typically have no idea what’s going on. This looks like it could be well Under 10 runs today, something like what we saw yesterday. I’m predicting two shutdown performances from Noland and DeLucia this afternoon.
PREDICTION: Ole Miss ML (+100)
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Enjoy the taste, kid.
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