Two SEC college baseballl giants collide in the best-of-3 College World Series Finals series starting Monday night, with LSU having eliminated No. 1 overall seed Oregon State and setting up a showdown with Florida, which beat the Tigers in two of three regular-season meetings in Gainesville.
#3 Florida vs. #4 LSU (ESPN, 7 pm ET): The 2017 NCAA Division I College World Series best-of-3 Finals is set and the SEC’s Florida (50-19) and LSU (52-18) both won over the weekend to advance to Game 1 from TD Ameritrade Park Omaha on Monday night. Offshore sportsbooks have made LSU -135 favorites (5Dimes, Florida +115) here in the opener with the Total at 8u -120 (5Dimes). The First 5 Inning marketplace odds see the Tigers priced at -130 with the underdog Gators at +100 on the takeback (5Dimes) while in the Run Line market, LSU -1½ is +145 with Florida +1½ -165 (5Dimes). LSU will be the Home team for Game 1 with Florida the Home side in Tuesday’s Game 2 (ESPN, 7 pm ET). If needed, the Tigers will be the Home club for a potential CWS national championship-deciding Game 3 on Wednesday evening (ESPN, 7 pm ET).
Florida (+120 to win 2017 CWS, 5Dimes) and 10th-year Head Coach Kevin Sullivan come into this huge game winners of 6 of 8 and the Gators defeated LSU in 2 of the 3 Regular Season SEC meetings in March in Gainesville in the Regular Season. In its 3-0 win on Saturday in Game 14 of the CWS, Florida (RPI 3, SOS #7) eliminated TCU as Detroit Tigers 1st Round MLB Draft choice Alex Faedo (9-2, 2.26 ERA) was absolutely fabulous for the No. 3-ranked Gators, while DH Christian Hicks had a Double, Triple and RBI for the Gators who punched their ticket to this Finals with the shutout over the Horned Frogs. In the victory, Florida had a Starting Lineup of: 2B Liput, SS Guthrie, 1B Schwarz, RF Maldonado, LF Langworthy, 3B India, C Rivera, DH Hicks, CF Larson with ace Faedo getting the start. Gators SS Dalton Guthrie -- son of former MLB hurler Mark Guthrie -- left the game with back pain after striking out in the top of the 3rd inning.
LSU (-140 to win 2017 CWS, 5 Dimes) and Head Coach Paul Mainieri looked doomed after losing totop-ranked Oregon State, 13-1 in Game 6 of this CWS last week. But experienced Omaha team (7th CWS appearance) from probably the best Conference in College Baseball -- witness who’s still alive -- as the No. 4-ranked Tigers (RPI, 4, SOS #10) rallied from the Loser’s Bracket to defeat the Beavers (56-6) -- who had the best Winning Percentage in College Baseball since 1982 -- twice in a row (LSU 3 OSU 1, LSU 6 OSU 1) in OSU’s first back-to-back Losses since May 2016 to get to this CWS Finals best-of-3 series, making it 21 Wins in 22 games for the Tigers, with that only Loss the aforementioned one to Oregon State a week ago Monday (June 19).
In Saturday’s clincher, LSU saw RHP Caleb Gilbert (7-1, 2.16 ERA) go 7.1 IP, allow one ER, 2 Hits, just one BB while registering a career-high 7 Ks as he threw a gem at the perfect time with third-generation baseball player Michael Papierski went 2-for-4 with 2 HRs and 4 RBI to bolster the LSU Offense in the victory. In that game, skipper Mainieri put out a Starting Lineup of: SS Robertson, 2B Freeman, LF Duplantis, RF Deichmann, CF Watson, 3B Smith, DH Jordan, C Papierski, 1B Slaughter with Gilbert getting the pill and Zack Hess pitching 1.2 IP and allowing a Hit and a Walk in closing out the game for the Tigers. DH Beau Jordan had 2 Hits, while leadoff batter Kramer Robertson (.310) went 3-for-3.
Omaha Weather Monday, Game Analysis & Picks
The Weather Channel forecast for Omaha on Monday night is presently calling for Clear Skies with a Low around 53° with E Winds from 5 to 10 mph, so, maybe a little chilly for Summer but perfect for Baseball. The expected probable Starting Pitchers for this Game 1 look to be sophomore RHP Brady Singer (8-5, 3.18 ERA) for Florida and possibly freshman RHP Todd Peterson (3-1, 4.19 ERA), who was removed after facing four batters and allowing 2 Runs and 2 Walks in two-thirds of an inning in that 13-1 loss to Oregon State. The Gators' best two Starters -- Alex Lange (10-5, 2.97 ERA) and Jared Poche -- are expected to be used Tuesday and Wednesday (if necessary), respectively, with Faedo ready to go for Florida in Game 2 or 3. LSU’s Lange -- who combined with Hess to fire the first 2-hitter in CWS history -- was drafted by the MLB champion Chicago Cubs earlier this month.
With so much on the line -- momentum and a 1-0 series lead to be exact -- here, expect this game to be a low-scoring Pitcher’s Duel where the Under looks to be the best pick, with LSU -- which should have the big crowd edge here with their “Baton Rouge North mentality” -- and Zach Watson a slightly better Side pick here as the Gators probably wait to use ace Faedo in Game 2. Geaux low, bro? In the slight chill, with the pressure on and in this crucial spot, the answer is yes.
Predicted Final Score: LSU 4, Florida 3Free NCAA Pick: LSU -135 &Under 8 -120Best Lines Offered: 5Dimes