When Tennessee lost in the NCAA baseball super regional, it changed the outlook of the entire College World Series.
The Volunteers were a clear favorite to win it all, near the top of just about any major Division I team stat this season. They were 57-9 this season but didn't make it to Omaha after being upset by Notre Dame.
Suddenly, all other teams felt more optimism. The College World Series has a wide-open eight-team field in which no team has shorter than +400 odds to win it all at BetMGM and no team is longer than +800.
One of the teams that is feeling a lot better is Texas. The Longhorns are the co-favorite, along with Stanford, to win the championship. Texas' march to a title starts Friday night when it faces Notre Dame. Texas is -125 favorites in its opening game. The other game on Friday is Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M. Oklahoma is a -135 favorite.
Texas hits it well. The Longhorns have a .318 batting average, tied for fifth-best in Division I. They're tied for third in Division I with 128 home runs. They're led by first baseman Ivan Melendez, who had an unbelievable season. He hit .396 with 32 homers and 94 RBI, leading college baseball in the latter two categories. He's a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award given to college baseball's player of the year.
Texas gets Notre Dame, which has a good pitching staff and just knocked off Tennessee. The Irish are hot going into Omaha. But Texas has to feel pretty good about its chances, especially with the Volunteers out of the field.
Here's the first look at the sports betting slate for Friday:
U.S. Open continues
Rory McIlroy woke up Friday as a big favorite to win the U.S. Open. He was +450 odds, and no other golfer was shorter than 11-to-1. McIlroy was 3-under-par in the opening round on Thursday, good for a second-place tie. McIlroy tees off at 1:25 p.m. Eastern time on Friday.
There's professional baseball, too
MLB has a 16-game slate on Friday. There are a couple afternoon games including Game 1 of a doubleheader between the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals.
Two long winning streaks are on the line. The Atlanta Braves have won 14 in a row and they're -185 favorites against the Chicago Cubs in the other afternoon game on Friday. The New York Yankees have won seven in a row to continue their torrid start to the season, and they're -110 against the Toronto Blue Jays. Taking the Yankees at -110 or better odds seems like it should be an automatic play this season.
What's the best bet?
The Milwaukee Brewers have been bad lately, but they're just -115 favorites against the Cincinnati Reds. The Brewers will have to beat rookie Reds pitcher Hunter Greene, who has been excellent lately, but Milwaukee has been the better team and needs to start winning again to keep up with the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.