The No. 5 LSU baseball team started its postseason run with an impressive 10-3 victory over South Carolina on Wednesday morning at the SEC tournament in Hoover, Alabama.
With the victory, the No. 3-seeded Tigers advanced to the tournament's winners' bracket to face No. 2 Arkansas. First pitch of that game is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
The sportsbooks give LSU a moderate advantage in this one, with the Tigers sitting at -160 on the money line at Caesars Sportsbook, official odds partner of Bet.NOLA.com. That means a $16 bet would profit $10 if LSU won. On the flip side, Arkansas is a +130 underdog, meaning a $10 bet would yield $13 in profit.
That LSU is favored is no surprise, considering they're expected to start ace pitcher Paul Skenes, who leads the nation with 164 strikeouts and is fourth with a 1.77 ERA. (It is worth noting that the Tigers have not officially announced Skenes as the starting pitcher, but he's on regular rest, and saving him for this spot seems logical.)
However, Arkansas is expected to counter with left-hander Hagen Smith, who sports a 2.56 ERA of his own. Smith was the winning pitcher when the Razorbacks faced Skenes and LSU on March 24; Skenes left trailing 1-0, and though LSU tied the game off of Smith in the eighth inning, Smith finished two more innings in a 9-3, 10-inning win.
The game's over/under is 12½. That seems high considering the quality of the starting pitching, but in Skenes' 14 starts, LSU games have gone over that total six times, including three of the past four.
The winner of the game will advance to the tournament semifinals Saturday and won't have to play Friday.