The 2024 College World Series is here at last.

After grueling Regional and Super Regional rounds, 8 teams will begin play in Omaha on Friday for the right to be crowned College World Series champions. For the first time in modern history, only 2 conference will be represented — with 4 teams apiece from the SEC and ACC.

Tennessee is the favorite in Bracket 1 with Florida State, Virginia and North Carolina all expected to challenge the Vols for a spot in the championship series.

Here’s a look at each Bracket 1 team’s betting odds, statistical profile and projected pitching matchups entering this weekend:

No. 1 Tennessee

Odds to win the College World Series: +290 at DraftKings

Tennessee has been the No. 1 team in college baseball for a lot of this season, but the Vols aren’t even consensus title favorites (Texas A&M is the favorite at some books). The Vols have the best slugging percentage and ERA of any power-conference team, illustrating their elite ceiling on either side of the diamond. Tennessee also leads the nation in home runs by a significant margin with 173 on the year.

The advanced metrics back up Tennessee’s dominance. The Vols rank No. 1 nationally per Sonny Moore’s power ratings and are also No. 1 in Warren Nolan’s ELO rankings. Saturday Down South’s Derek Peterson made the case for backing Tennessee earlier this week.

As for Tennessee’s pitching rotation, expect to see Chris Stamos on the mound against Florida State to open things up in the first round. However, if the Vols stick to their typical routine, Stamos will be replaced by AJ Causey after 1-2 innings — depending on how things go. Drew Beam and Zander Sechrist are in line to start the next 2 games for the Vols. Beam was roughed up against Evansville in the Super Regional, but has been Tennessee’s best starter for most of the year. Sechrist has emerged as an excellent starting option during the postseason. He’s given up just 2 earned runs in his last 4 starts (23 innings of work).

DraftKings has Tennessee as a -166 favorite against Florida State on Friday night. The Vols are also favorites to reach the championship series at +125, per bet365.

No. 8 Florida State

Odds to win the College World Series: +900 at ESPN BET

On paper, Florida State gets the unfortunate assignment of drawing Tennessee in Game 1. However, you could make the case that it’s optimal to catch the Vols in Game 1 as they’re set to throw opener Chris Stamos before turning things over to AJ Causey. This has been Tennessee’s Friday routine for awhile now, and it has worked out for the most part — but Stamos is certainly the weakest of Tennessee’s 3 big starting pitcher options. Since the beginning of May, Stamos has made 6 innings outs and has given up 8 earned runs over 12.2 innings of action.

Stamos is a southpaw, and Florida State does have a lefty-heavy middle-of-the-order. Of the Noles’ top 6 hitters in the Tallahassee Super Regional finale against UConn, 4 of them were lefties. But that advantage for the Vols will go away after Causey enters the game in the early innings.

Beyond the Tennessee matchup, this is a very dangerous Florida State team. The Noles boast a lineup that finished the year in the top-10 nationally in home runs and batting average. They just scored a whopping 34 runs across 2 games against UConn in the super regional round. Cam Smith and James Thibbs III are the headliners, but this is a deep lineup that features 6 hitters who have at least a .300 average and 8+ home runs this season.

On the mound, Florida State has a bonafide ace in Jamie Arnold (2.77 ERA in over 100 innings this year) who is expected to be on the bump on Friday vs. the Vols. Arnold is a sophomore who could end up as one of the top college pitchers taken in the 2025 MLB Draft. He struck out 155 batters in 100.2 innings this season, making him one of the best swing-and-miss arms left in the field. FSU’s No. 2 pitcher is Carson Dorsey, who also has swing-and-miss stuff. Like many of the remaining teams in the field, things get a bit more uncertain from a starting pitching perspective after those top 2 options, but the Noles do have some solid options in the bullpen.

Saturday Road’s Brett Friedlander laid out the path for Florida State to win the national championship this season — which would be just the 3rd college baseball title all-time for the ACC. FSU is +130 to upset the Vols on Friday night (per DraftKings) and is +400 to reach the championship series, per bet365.

RELATED READING: Full schedule, breakdown for Bracket 1 at the College World Series

No. 4 North Carolina

Odds to win the College World Series: +700 at FanDuel

North Carolina is the 4th-favorite to win the national championship overall, behind the SEC-trio of Tennessee, Texas A&M and Kentucky. The Tar Heels had an outstanding year in the ACC and have come up clutch time and time again during the NCAA Tournament so far. The Tar Heels won huge games in dramatic fashion in both the regional and super regional rounds in order to get to Omaha.

Public models disagree on UNC’s upside in this tournament. Sonny Moore’s power ratings have the Tar Heels ranked 7th overall and 6th amongst teams remaining in the field. However, Warren Nolan’s ELO rankings have Carolina as the No. 2 team in the entire country behind only the Vols.

North Carolina is built similarly to Tennessee in that it excels at both hitting and pitching. The Tar Heels ranked top-20 nationally in both slugging percentage and ERA this season. Offensively, it’s a group that’s led by Vance Honeycutt’s 26 home runs. Five different Tar Heels have left the yard 14+ times entering this weekend.

On the mound, UNC has a couple of solid starting options in Jason DeCaro and Shea Sprague. Carolina has already announced that DeCaro will go in Game 1 against Virginia while Sprague will start Game 2 on Sunday. UNC’s third starter, Aidan Haugh, is expected to be available to pitch out of the bullpen in Game 1.

Carolina is a -130 favorite to beat the Cavaliers on Friday evening, per FanDuel. It’s worth noting that the Cavaliers took 2-of-3 from UNC in a regular-season series that took place in Charlottesville earlier this year. DeCaro pitched 6 innings and gave up 5 earned runs in Game 2 of that series, which Virginia won 7-2.

No. 12 Virginia

Odds to win the College World Series: +1000 on ESPN BET

Virginia got here by sweeping its regional and then was a major beneficiary of Arkansas’ collapse in the Fayetteville Regional. Kansas State ended up emerging victorious from that regional, but were no match for Virginia in the next round. The Cavaliers swept K-State in the Charlottesville Super Regional in order clinch a spot in the College World Series.

Virginia is No. 10 in Sonny Moore’s power ratings and No. 5 in Warren Nolan’s ELO rankings. In the latter model, the Cavaliers have moved up 7 spots (the biggest improvement of any top-5 team) since the start of the NCAA Tournament.

UVA is here because its offense is elite. The Cavs rank in the top-5 nationally in both batting average and slugging percentage. Dating back to mid-May, Virginia has scored 7+ runs in 8 of its past 10 games. That’s a solid formula for winning in the postseason, and it has paid off in a big way during the month of June.

Evan Blanco will get the start on the mound for UVA on Friday night vs. the Tar Heels. He’s been their ace all season, and owns 3.69 ERA in 92.2 innings of work in 2024. He’s also faced this UNC lineup once already this season, and was very good: 6.1 innings, 6 hits, 1 walk, 2 earned runs and 7 strikeouts. He out-pitched DeCaro in that matchup and helped Virginia secure a series win over the Tar Heels.

As the week goes on, Virginia could have some struggles on the mound. Jay Woolfolk earned the start in Game 2 against Kansas State in the Super Regional round, and was mostly excellent in that spot. However, he has a a 5.95 ERA this season and has been battling command issues all year (37 walks in 59 innings). Unless Woolfolk has completely turned the corner in that regard, Virginia could be in a tough spot even if it pulls off the first-round upset over UNC.

Virginia is +105 on the money line against the Tar Heels in this first-round matchup, per ESPN BET.