Getty Images

It would have been easy for Mississippi State to wave the white flag after opening the 2021 College World Series final with an 8-2 loss to Vanderbilt in which it surrendered seven runs in the first inning. But the Bulldogs showed why they are competing for the title by bouncing back with a 13-2 victory in Game 2. Mississippi State (49-18) hopes to ride the momentum and capture the first college baseball national championship in school history when it takes on reigning champion Vanderbilt (49-17) in the deciding game of the best-of-three CWS final series on Wednesday.

The Bulldogs are looking to become the fifth team in the last six College World Series to win the title after losing the opening game of the final -- a feat the Commodores accomplished in 2019. First pitch at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. Vanderbilt is the -125 favorite (risk $125 to win $100) on the money line in the latest 2021 College World Series odds from William Hill Sportsbook, while the over-under for runs scored is 7.5. Before making any Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State picks, you need to see what SportsLine baseball insider Matt Snyder is saying.

A former player for Indiana University and a member of the BBWAA, Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. Baseball-obsessed since a young child, a fan of gambling from nickel-and-dime poker as a teen to $5 blackjack as a broke college kid and eventually on to major sports betting, the transition always seemed inevitable for Snyder.

CBS Sports' longest-tenured baseball expert teams simple logic learned back from his baseball-playing days, such as "stick with what works," with extensive background analytics. He went 26-18 in the 2020 MLB Playoffs, including 8-4 on World Series bets.

Now, Snyder has dialed in on Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State. You can visit SportsLine now to see his picks. Here are the betting lines and trends for Mississippi State vs. Vanderbilt:

  • Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State money line: Vanderbilt -125, Mississippi State +105 
  • Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State run-line: Vanderbilt -1.5 
  • Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State over-under: 7.5 runs 
  • VAN: The Commodores have reached four of the last seven CWS finals 
  • MSU: 3B Kamren James has reached safely in 13 consecutive games

Why you should back Vanderbilt

Coach Tim Corbin's handling of the starting rotation could not have worked out any better, as co-ace Kumar Rocker will conclude his collegiate career with another huge start. The 21-year-old senior was superb when the Commodores had their backs to the wall in the 2019 College World Series final, allowing one run and three hits with 11 strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings in a win over Michigan. Rocker secured the CWS Most Outstanding Player honors with that effort and is coming off a victory over North Carolina State in which he yielded one run and fanned 11 batters over six frames.

Vanderbilt's offense is due to break out after recording six hits or fewer in four of its last five contests. The Commodores notched only four hits in the Game 2 loss, but three were for extra bases -- a triple by Enrique Bradfield Jr. and solo home runs by C.J. Rodriguez and Maxwell Romero Jr. After going without an RBI in his first three games of the tournament, Rodriguez has driven in four runs over his last three contests.

Why you should back Mississippi State

The Bulldogs struggled at the plate in Game 1, but their bats were on fire Tuesday as they pounded out 14 hits in the Game 2 rout. One of four players to come up with a multi-hit performance, Lane Forsythe was 3-for-5 and drove in two runs while scoring another. The freshman shortstop went 0-for-2 in the series opener and entered Tuesday with just one hit in 11 at-bats over his first five games of the 2021 College World Series.

Scotty Dubrule registered four RBIs in Game 2, giving him a team-high seven for the tournament, and Logan Tanner has driven in a run in four consecutive contests. Mississippi State's bullpen performed well over the first two games of the final, allowing just three runs and five hits with 14 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. And top reliever Landon Sims, who has given up one run and three hits while fanning 11 batters over seven frames in the tournament, has yet to be used in this series.

How to make Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State picks

Snyder likes the over on the run total, and he has analyzed this matchup and discovered a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the money line. He's sharing that pick only on SportsLine.

So who wins Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State? And what critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the money line to jump on, all from the baseball expert who went 26-18 in the 2020 MLB Playoffs, and find out.