College World Series final - Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State Game 3 preview, odds, and best bets

Vanderbilt Commodores starting pitcher Kumar Rocker (80) pitches in the second inning against the NC State Wolfpack at TD Ameritrade Park
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It all comes down to this. The Vanderbilt Commodores and Mississippi State Bulldogs will meet for one last time in a Game 3 that will determine this year’s National Championship. The stakes literally couldn’t be higher. Both games so far have been snoozers, so hopefully this one brings the tension. Vandy picked up a dominant 8-2 win in Game 1, and my best bet of Over 7.5 cashed in the first inning.

Mississippi State then won in a blowout of their own in Game 2, sinking my Vanderbilt money line play right off the bat. What can we expect on Wednesday? Let’s break it all down:

Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State Game 3 preview

Vandy is favored again here, but only slightly. The money line is pretty close after MSU’s 13-run outburst on Tuesday. The total is set at 7.5, with some juice to the under.

The Commodores are licking their wounds, but the good news is they’ll have Kumar Rocker on the mound here. Rocker is the team’s co-ace Jack Leiter, who led Vanderbilt to their Game 1 win by holding the Bulldogs in check. Rocker is every bit as talented as Leiter, and is expected to be an early first-round draft pick as well.

He wasn’t able to pitch in Game 2 since it would’ve been too little rest. Rocker is no stranger to these big game situations, and he’s always pitched very well. In his career in elimination games, Rocker is 3-0 with a minuscule 0.84 ERA.

You can’t really get much better than that. Mississippi State is countering with a stud of their own. Starter Will Bednard is an MLB prospect in his own right, and he has 135 strikeouts in 86 and 1/3 innings this year. It’s the toughest test for Vanderbilt in this series.

Best bet

Both of these offenses have struggled in the games where they’ve had to go against top pitchers from the other team. Don’t be swayed by the high run totals so far, this game is different.

For the first time, both teams will have high-end pitchers on the mound. With this being a winner take all Game 3, I’d expect both lineups to be a bit tight. MSU also has elite relief pitcher Landon Sims, who is untouchable at times, ready to go and well-rested as he hasn’t pitched through the first two games.

Rocker should dominate for Vanderbilt, and runs might be hard to come by for the Commodores as well. My play on this game is a strong one on the under 7.5 (-130).

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