Major League Baseball can drag a little bit in early summer. Clubs play more careful and scientific baseball than they did in the spring, and the pennant race won’t heat up for a while.
But baseball junkies have an alternative. It’s best known for a sound that we know you’ll recognize. Tink!
The fresh faces and trademark aluminum bats of the College World Series return to television each June as the NCAA determines its Division 1 champion with a test of consistency and endurance.
Sportsbooks have a field day during the CWS, offering dozens of markets on the collegiate diamond kings. Here’s a list of the best websites for betting on the College World Series.
Our Top Recommended Baseball Betting Sites
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Legit Gambling Sites uses a strict and thorough process to determine the legitimacy of our recommended sports betting sites.
We perform the challenging task of sleuthing out a website’s history and reputation among serious gamblers. If there is any inkling that the site is fraudulent or does not have the legal status to lawfully place wagers, it’s not going on our lists.
We also focus on finding sites that offer great customer support around the clock. Especially when you’re gambling on a sport as complex and unpredictable as college baseball, it’s important to have any pressing questions answered as quickly and honestly as a sportsbook can manage it.
If you’re a newbie to the College World Series or even baseball betting in general, never fear. College hardball is still the same basic game, with just a handful of different rules…and a lot of runs batted-in. And betting markets are simplified when the season revolves around one major event.
Let’s go over a few particulars on the tournament.
Getting to Know the College World Series
The CWS is part of a larger event known as the NCAA Division 1 Baseball Championship. The collegiate pastime’s postseason has been informally referred to as the “NCAA Tournament” of baseball. Like the March Madness basketball tourney, the Division 1 Baseball Championship begins with 64 teams. But elimination is a long process in the baseball tournament compared to the single-elimination format in which the cagers compete.
The 64-team bracket involves 4 tiers or stages of competition. Group play is double-elimination, followed by best-of-3 playoff series to determine who advances to the next phase. Beginning with the round of 64, a school can lose a grand total of 4 and still win the national title.
Regionals begin in May at 16 separate venues. Varsity ballclubs compete in 4-team pools at each location. Host teams have traditionally romped through the field or scored upset victories, making the hosting of a Regional a sought-after prize among rival universities.
Super Regionals pit the 16 surviving schools at 8 venues.
Hosting a Super Regional is not only an honor but a fast track to the College World Series.
Mississippi is the only program to host at least 3 times and never advance to the dance.
Omaha always hosts the final 8 surviving colleges in the College World Series. But there’s no classic single-elimination blow-off bracket. Instead, clubs are once again put into 2 groups of 4 for more double-elimination drama. Only when there are only 2 teams left standing does the NCAA simplify the rules and allow a straightforward best-of-3 series to decide the national championship.
How College Baseball Rules and Gameplay Differ From the MLB
Some college sports might look and feel far different from their professional counterparts. But there aren’t that many rules differences between Major League Baseball and the NCAA brand of hardball played at the College World Series.
Here are a few of the modest discrepancies.
Aluminum vs Wooden Bats
“You think you could teach me to make one of those…bats?” Bobby Savoy famously asked Roy Hobbs of the New York Knights. “Sure,” said the fictional slugger. “Go down to the lumberyard and pick yourself out a nice piece of wood.”
That conversation couldn’t happen in a college locker room because the NCAA allows aluminum bats to be used. “Pick one fresh out of the molten alloy pit, Bobby” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Needless to say, traditionalists don’t the aluminum bats at the College World Series. But there’s no question that the metallic bats carry more power, especially on less-than-solid contact. It leads to a lot of runs scored and wild finishes.
Never conclude that a college team is poor at fielding because of a few errors on the score sheet. The NCAA’s baseballs are not juiced. But balls hit by the aluminum bats fly around like bullets.
A Sprint, Not a Marathon
In most sports a difference between the length of 2 seasons is simply good news for the spouses of the players facing the shorter slate. But the national pastime as we know it is a marathon of games and practice every day from February until fall. Any lesser-scale alternative is bound to bring about differences in strategy.
As a result, there are fewer injuries, the best pitchers can play more often, and the student-athletes are never mentally checked-out on the field.
However, the fast-paced schedule of the NCAA tournament and College World Series can turn the event into an arduous physical challenge.
Miscellaneous and Interesting College World Series Rules
Student-athletes have been experimenting with different kinds of bats. Wooden bats are exceptionally rare at the CWS, but state-of-the-art “composite” bats may used if they pass the NCAA’s testing standards to confirm that there is no unfair advantage gained.
NCAA officials also dialed-back the maximum exit speed for its bats in 2011. Short line drives still fly and bounce at dangerous speeds, but less record-breaking distance shots have been recorded in batting practice and in games over the past 7 seasons. Games have become shorter and lower-scoring.
The designated hitter rule is used at the College World Series. In addition, a player can serve as the pitcher and the DH for his team.
Umpires are strict about policing take-out attempts on double-play balls and sacrifice plays. If a student-athlete is deemed as having “maliciously” rammed into another player while sliding or running to a base, he is automatically ejected.
Some History-Making College World Series Moments
Like March Madness and the Frozen Four, the CWS has had its share of Cinderella teams and shocking finishes. Here’s a few of the greatest hits.
Fresno State qualified for the 2008 NCAA tournament with a 33-27 record and tied for the longest odds-to-win on most betting boards. But the Bulldogs became one of the most incredible Cinderellas in college sports history, beating Georgia in the final series to become College World Series champions.
A 1999 semifinal contest between Stanford and Florida State is considered a classic for its comeback story and extra-innings drama. FSU took an early 7-2 lead, but Stanford exploded for 7 runs in the 7th inning. A home run in the 9th tied the contest at 9 runs apiece. The battle see-sawed until the 13th frame when FSU’s Karl Jernigan hit a 3-run winner over the fence.
The previous year marked a turning point in the CWS, as managers had begun power-training their sluggers with largely-unregulated metal bats. Nicknamed “Gorilla Ball” teams, a pair of nuclear-hitting rosters from the Pac-12 met for the national title. USC beat Arizona State 21-14 in a ballgame filled with home runs. Embarrassed NCAA officials began restricting aluminum bat composition the following year.
Baseball Betting Markets and Terminology
Need a refresher on how to bet on baseball? Here’s a quick run-down of the options and the math.
- Money Line – Baseball money lines work the same as money lines in other sports. Odds marked with a (-) mean that the figure shown is what the gambler must risk to win $100. Odds marked (+) indicate an underdog pick and the figure shown stands for the winnable amount on a $100 wager.
- 5-innings – 5-innings bets involve picking which club will be leading after only 5 innings. Starting pitchers can be expected to play at least 5 innings, so the market takes away the frustration of having to worry about the bullpen. If either scheduled starting pitcher is scratched, the bet is a push, and money is returned to the bettor. A tied score after 5 frames has the same result.
- Spread Betting/Run Line – Betting against the spread, or “ATS,” works in a similar fashion to other sports on the diamond. If an underdog pick wins the game, or loses by less than the spread, the bet wins. If a picked favorite wins by more than the spread, the bet wins. When a spread is a whole number and “covered” exactly by the final score, the wager is a push. Extra innings count, but results are official after 9 frames. The spread in baseball is often referred to as the “run line.”
- Over/Under Total Runs – Similar to O/U markets in other sports. The total runs must exceed the betting line for an over bet to win, while the final tally must be a smaller number than the line for the under to prevail. A whole number total runs figure getting matched by the total tally of runs in a game results in a push.
College World Series Betting Tips & Tricks
There are many time-honored tactics for winning baseball bets, but not all of them are designed to work at the College World Series. We’ve picked out a few pointers that the gambler can use when making single-game bets over the course of a short college tournament. Consider the following before putting cash on the Auburn Tigers or the Mississippi State Bulldogs to win the trophy.
Remember that college managers will sink or swim with their best 2 or 3 starting hurlers. Over total runs bets are generally a good idea when an MLB starting rotation is tired and needs less time spent on the mound. The professional club’s 6th or 7th option at starting pitcher can be more vulnerable to batters. But in the CWS, there is no 6th or 7th pitching option to worry about unless injuries pile up.
Handicappers say that over time, gamblers pick minus-money line teams more often because it feels good to pick a winner.
That presents an opportunity to bet on underdog ballclubs on the money line, since the action is likely to slightly skew the odds toward the favorites.
The underdog/money line tactic can be used to even greater effect in College World Series betting, since many SEC schools and other big-shot programs receive plenty of betting action from partisan fans.
Perhaps the most tried-and-true baseball gambling system is to bet against the public. Statisticians have charted the success of unpopular picks over time, and have pointed out that popular teams can be overestimated by odds-makers due to the hype.
The College World Series gets its share of hype. But remember that in the social media age, Cinderella teams can strike up a bigger bandwagon than anyone. Don’t overrate a long-odds college ballclub based on what is said on TV.
Sportsbooks Give Summer’s World Series a Spin
Not all baseball betting sites offer markets on the NCAA postseason. That’s why Legit Gambling Sites has worked hard to review and rank the best College World Series betting sites in order of their willingness to cater to ballpark bettors of all kinds.
The experience of betting on a sporting event should include the enjoyment of an exciting game. Whether the sound of a base hit is a “crack” or a “tink,” a suspenseful and heart-stopping battle on the diamond carries the same basic appeal on any level.
With its school traditions, runs scored by the bushel, and wild upsets, the College World Series is always sure to entertain its fans. But making smart and winning wagers on the gala in Omaha can take the pleasure of watching the CWS to a whole new level.