The Los Angeles Dodgers were favored in the National League Championship Series, while the Boston Red Sox were underdogs for the American League Championship Series, but now that they’re meeting in the World Series, the roles are reversed.
The 108-win champions of the Junior Circuit – who are 7-2 in the postseason – are priced at -155 with 888Sport, and the back-to-back NL pennant winners are checking in at +127 in what is expected to be a tight and well-matched Fall Classic.
Both teams have elite starting rotations – Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Nathan Eovaldi for Boston; Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Rich Hill for Los Angeles – backed by top-flight closers, somewhat questionable middle relief corps enhanced by starters’ availability, and the top-scoring lineups in their respective leagues, with plenty of home run power at the ready to turn a game on its nose.
The expected drama is reflected in World Series betting in the line for total games played, with over 5.5 at -200 and under 5.5 at +160. The question of this bet is whether the Red Sox can stay as hot on the road as they have been throughout the playoffs.
Boston won both of its games at Yankee Stadium in the division series, then went to Houston and took all three games there to knock off the defending world champs in a series that had been pegged as another ultracompetitive affair – one in which the Astros were favored – but certainly did not wind up as one.
Still, even at 1-2 odds, betting the over with 888Sport should be the play here.
Another possibility is betting the series itself with a spread. In this case, the Dodgers +1.5 is a -182 favorite, meaning you’d win if Los Angeles wins the series or forces a Game 7 at Fenway Park. More intriguing is the Red Sox -1.5, with a +145 line at Karamba, which is betting on Boston to win in a series that does not go the distance.
If you think it’ll be Boston, but in seven games, that option is available at +350, the shortest odds on the board for a specific outcome, tied with Boston in six. Those “team in a number of games” lines range up to +1800 for a Dodgers sweep, and if you have the confidence to call this series that precisely, more power to you.
This is the first World Series matchup of the Dodgers and Red Sox since 1916, when the Dodgers were called the Brooklyn Robins and Babe Ruth led Boston to victory, and their first meeting of any kind since August 2016.
Back then, Price got hammered in Los Angeles, but the big damage was done on homers by Adrian Gonzalez and Rob Segedin, neither of whom he will see this time. So, there’s not a lot to go on as far as history between the clubs.
But when it comes to Price, who may have finally figured out the whole postseason thing, it’s worth remembering that the Dodgers were 40-25 against lefty starters this season and won’t be cowed by facing him or Sale.
Similarly, though, the Red Sox were 21-16 against southpaws, and J.D. Martinez is 5-for-11 against Kershaw with a pair of homers in his career – a tidbit that makes Martinez’s +650 line for series MVP with 888Sport, third choice behind Mookie Betts (+550) and Sale (+600) look that much better.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is a stat that favors the Dodgers: The team that played the shorter League Championship Series has not won the World Series since 2008, with six of the last nine World Series being preceded by different-length LCS.
Last year, it was the Dodgers who were on the short end after a semifinal round in which they blistered the Cubs while the Astros had to go seven games with the Yankees.
Meanwhile, Boston is trying to become the fourth straight 100-win team to win the World Series, something that hasn’t happened since 1975-78, when the Big Red Machine went back-to-back, followed by consecutive Yankees championships – both against the Dodgers.
The record for that kind of streak, for what it’s worth, is six years, as it happened from 1927-32.