Tennessee Starts Quest For First College World Series Title As The Favorite

Tennessee Starts Quest For First College World Series Title As The Favorite
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

The Tennessee Volunteers start their quest for a second straight trip to the College World Series at home on Friday, as the newly crowned SEC Tournament champions have the top seed in the NCAA Baseball Tournament.

Sporting a 50-11 record, the Vols will host Southern Mississippi, Indiana, and Northern Kentucky in the Knoxville regional that begins Friday afternoon. Tennessee will face NKU at 7 p.m. ET in the opening round of the double-elimination tournament. Depending on how they fare against the Norse, the Vols will either play the winner or loser of the Southern Miss-IU game on Saturday.

If history is any indicator, it should be a short but sweet weekend at home for the Vols. Dating back to 2001, Tennessee has won 10 straight regional contests at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. This will be the third time since 2021 the Volunteers have hosted a regional. BetTennessee.com breaks from our Tennessee sports betting coverage to bring you up to speed on the Volunteers.

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Tennessee Regional History (*-Won Regional)

1997Stillwater, Okla.1-2
2004Kinston, N.C.1-2
2019Chapel Hill, N.C.2-2

Volunteers Super Regional History (*-Won Super Regional)

2001Kinston, N.C.2-0*
2023Hattiesburg, Miss.2-1*

Oddsmakers at BetMGM Tennessee sportsbook agree. They have made the Vols a -400 favorite to come out of the regional. BetMGM also has the nation’s top seed as the favorite to win it all, with odds of +500.

While the Vols’ history of hosting an NCAA regional is strong, their experience as the SEC champ is more checkered. They’ve advanced to Omaha only once in the previous four times they’ve won the conference. Two years ago, they hosted the Super Regional but fell to Notre Dame in three games. That’s the only time they’ve lost in the round of 16 since the NCAA added that round in 1999.

Tennessee Baseball SEC Championships

YearNCAA Result
1993* (SEC East Champs)Lost in Regional, 1-2
1994Lost in Regional 3-2
1995Third in College World Series, 2-2
2022Lost in Super Regional, 1-2

Tennessee Peaking At The Right Time?

After reaching the World Series last year, Tennessee started the preseason as one of the nation’s top-ranked teams. However, it wasn’t until the beginning of this month that the Volunteers took over the top spot in the polls. Now, they are the No. 1 team in the coaches and D1 Baseball polls as well as the ELO and RPI rankings.

Only once this season has Tennessee lost two straight games, doing so at Alabama on March 16-17. Even though the regular season was smooth sailing, the Vols did have to overcome some adversity in the SEC Tournament last week. They lost their opening game to Vanderbilt before reeling off four straight wins to take home their fifth conference title.

At FanDuel Tennessee sportsbook, the Vols’ odds to win the regional are -450. They’re also -135 favorites to win the super regional next weekend and the top choice at +500 to win their first national title.

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Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.