Expert College Baseball World Series best bets, picks and predictions today, 6/25: A new National Champion?

LSU Tigers left fielder Josh Pearson (11), infielder Ben Nippolt (5), third baseman Tommy White (47), shortstop Jordan Thompson (4), outfielder Paxton Kling (28) and center fielder Dylan Crews (3) celebrate after defeating the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Charles Schwab Field Omaha.

Could we have asked for a better start to the College Baseball World Series championship series? For the second game in a row in Omaha, the game needed extra innings to decide the winner. And once again, the LSU Tigers used the long ball to secure the victory.

Game 2 of the championship series begins at 3:00 pm ET, and if LSU wins, they will be the national champions. If Florida wins, the Gators will force a winner-takes-all Game 3 tomorrow. I’m 5-2-1 in the tournament so far, including a 3-0 run, so let’s dive into my College Baseball World Series best bet for today’s action.

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Florida vs LSU Under 9.5 (-125)

Available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing

Coming into Omaha, I thought we were going to see elite pitching mixed with excellent defense and some powerful offenses. I was right about the first two, but the offense hasn’t been as advertised. Only 3 games in the College World Series have ended with 10 or more runs, and 2 of those 3 games came on Day 1! Since Day 1, 11 of the 12 games have ended with 9 or fewer runs. Elite pitching paired with a pitcher-friendly Charles Schwab Field has led to a substantial decrease in runs compared to a normal college baseball game. And on Sunday, I expect more of the same. Hurston Waldrep will get the ball for the Florida Gators while the LSU Tigers will have to piece together a bullpen game as their main starters, Paul Skenes and Ty Floyd, are unavailable for the remainder of the tournament.

Brandon Sproat and Waldrep have formed a lethal 1-2 punch in the Gators’ starting rotation. Sproat was decent last night, but 5 walks came back to bite him and forced his pitch count above 100 in just 4 innings. That leaves Florida’s season in Waldrep’s hands, but the junior has been fantastic when the Gators have needed it most. He lowered his season ERA below 4 with his solid performance last time out and seems to be surging at the right time. In his one start in Omaha against Oral Roberts, Waldrep went 6 innings and gave up just 1 run and 7 hits while striking out 12 batters — just 2 away from a season-high. He has the best splitter in college baseball and has the confidence to throw it at any time during the count which makes him even more dangerous.

Holding down an LSU offense won’t be easy, but the Tigers haven’t scored more than 5 runs since their first game in Omaha. As for LSU’s pitching, I expect it to be a full-team effort that should include Nate Ackenhausen, Javan Coleman, Griffin Herring and Gavin Guidry. My expectation is for Ackenhausen to take the brunt of the load and for the rest of the bullpen to get involved when he runs into the slightest bit of problems. I’m not sure if we’re going to get a third game, but I think today’s game will have limited scoring once again.

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