World Series Wager
Atlanta +121 over HOUSTON

Pinnacl+121 BET365 +120SportInteraction +120 BetOnlin+120 Bookmaker +120

Posted at 2:00 PM EST on Tuesday, Oct 26 before Game 1. 

World Series

Atlanta +120 over HOUSTON

8:09 PM EST. Sometimes, no matter the purity of your intentions, depth of your preparation, or extent of your strength, you just run out of gas. Fate does not care whether you are the Dodgers and won 106 games, or the Giants, who notched another win. Fate does not care if you are the Red Sox and their nearly unbelievable run of timely hits. Eventually, your knocks won’t come with the bases loaded, and may not come at all.

That may almost make it sound as though the opponents of those teams in the league championship series—Atlanta and Houston—were mere pawns who came out on the positive end of an exciting postseason that granted them a meeting in the World Series. They aren’t. In particular, the Astros have reached this stage of the season at least as much because of talent and development as they have because of luck. Teams don’t fall into five straight league championship appearances thanks to luck. Meanwhile, Atlanta has been buoyed most by veritable big-league depth stepping up all over the roster.

It’s difficult to discuss the Astros and not take a moment to be almost speechless when looking at their lineup. Five of their hitters finished the season with a Deserved Runs Created (DRC+) of 120 or better. Only 60 hitters in the whole league did that. Another pair of regulars had a DRC+ of 112 or better (only 82 hitters did that). Their best hitter by this metric, Kyle Tucker (130), often hits in the lower third of the order, wreaking havoc by effectively turning over the lineup early.

Six of Houston’s hitters—Tucker, Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, and Michael Brantley have a strikeout rate of 18.1 percent or less. The other three regulars are worse than the league average of 23.2 percent: of those, one is ALCS MVP Yordan Alvarez and the other two are Chas McCormick and Martín Maldonado, who play arguably the most important defensive positions. Sure, these are regular season rates, and yes, we’re beyond the point where sample size matters. However, these stats also show what elite plate discipline can do for a club, as well as how Houston can wear out opposing pitchers at will. And when they choose to swing, they bludgeon you.

Their pitching staff could be another matter. At various points in the last two weeks it was fair to wonder how they would survive losing Lance McCullers Jr. and if Luis Garcia had anything left in the tank after tapering off through the second half of the season. McCullers is out for the World Series, but Luis Garcia has shown us that he still has some fuel to fire up the team. His Game 6 gem in the ALCS that was spurred on by mechanical tweaks is a major reason why Houston is here. Framber Valdez showed his own ability to be a showstopper in Game 5 by posting the longest outing (eight innings) of any starting pitcher this October. Ryan Pressly, Kendall Graveman, and Ryne Stanek have steadied the bullpen. At most, the rest of the staff has to hold it together for only another seven games.

If Houston brings the well-honed muscle, Atlanta brings the postseason mystique that inspires headshakes. As Colby Wilson told the other day, Eddie Rosario—Eddie Rosario—added the most win probability in three of the team’s four NLCS wins, tying Bernie Williams for the second-best mark ever in an LCS. Any lineup anchored by him is an odd one, but it’s especially true when it’s October, because it’s never happened before. Joc Pederson is providing a similar, if more familiar and less riveting jolt. Though he cooled off last round, he also ripped the postseason’s longest home run. He has already collected more RBI in these playoffs than he has in any other, and he’s played in October every year since 2015. Austin Riley has cooled off, too, mostly because he couldn’t help but swing through high heat up and away and sliders down and out of the zone. Whether he can correct that could be massive. And, of course, there’s still the matter of Freddie Freeman, who has a postseason OPS over 1.000 right now.

Charlie Morton has been in just about every postseason situation imaginable, most notably with the team he’s now competing against for his second ring. He has been strong, if lacking a dominant outing during three turns amidst Atlanta’s run. He might be the button manager Brian Snitker can really push, should he need length out of one of its starters. Max Fried has been up and down and Ian Anderson wasn’t allowed to go more than four innings against the more dangerous of the two lineups he’s seen, and Astros hitters are primed to pose even more of a threat than the Dodgers did.

Atlanta may boast the most potent reliever right now in Tyler Matzek, though, and may consequently be the more daunting bullpen. He has appeared in nine of the team’s 10 postseason games. He has struck out 17 batters, not only the most among relievers but the fifth-most of any pitcher in the playoffs. His slider has been responsible for ending 11 of those at-bats, always just close enough to the zone to be enticing while remaining unhittable. A.J. Minter and Will Smith have given up as many hits (five) as Luke Jackson has given up earned runs and have logged a combined 24.2 innings. Beyond those three, the team would likely enjoy using the rest of the bullpen on as limited a basis as possible.

We’re finally down to just two teams and one last chance to enjoy MLB games that count until next year. Pitchers and catchers reported as early as February 17 this season. By November 3, it’ll all be over. If the old adage is true, that being pitching is king in the World Series, we must side with the Braves. We could go over the dozens of times in the World Series where pitching outlasted/outclassed hitting and it’s for that reason among others that we’ll side with the Braves to start. Hell, they just beat the Dodgers.

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Our Pick

Atlanta +121 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.42)