It’s time for the Fall Classic, better known as the MLB's World Series, and the potential is there for this year’s version to be an all-time classic! With the World Series marking the largest championship in professional baseball the world over, all the top online bookies are offering odds for those bettors looking to pick a series winner.
Two teams that were among the best in the league from start to finish have claimed supremacy in their respective leagues, and now a pair of the best offenses in the sport will clash as the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the Houston Astros. For punters looking for an edge, we’ve put together this World Series preview breaking it all down!
Both of these teams finished in the top half of Major League Baseball in terms of the amount of runs they scored per game, with Houston leading all of baseball by averaging over five and a half runs per game. Los Angeles plated 4.75 runs per game on average throughout the season, meaning if these teams get average production levels from their respective offenses, fans can expect over 10 runs per game in this series.
Of course, those numbers are bolstered by the fact that in a 162-game regular season both of these sides faced far inferior opposition frequently, while the very nature of the World Series means they will be facing an elite and worthy adversary, so expect runs to be a little harder to come by than usual. Still, it may be worth looking into over/under lines for these games with an eye towards an offensive explosion.
Game one pits a pair of elite, Cy Young Award-winning pitchers against each other in Dallas Keuchel and Clayton Kershaw, so common sense dictates that runs will be hard to come by, as evidenced by Bet365 placing prohibitive 10/13 odds on the game producing under seven total runs. We think it may be wise to look at the flip side, however, where the same oddsmaker has the over sitting at 11/10.
One big reason scoring could be up will be the weather. At the time of the first pitch in the opening game, the temperature is predicted to be around 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 Celsius), and baseballs tend to fly farther when the air is warm. Given the slugging power of both teams, the weather factor could play a big role in the final score.
Additionally, Clayton Kershaw has a history of postseason struggles, with his career postseason earned run average (ERA) sitting over two full runs higher than his regular season ERA. Even this postseason, one of the best of his career, his ERA is at 3.63 through three starts, well above the sparkling 2.31 he posted in the regular season.
Finally, looking at the scores of all games involving these teams so far in the postseason shows that more often than not their games produce at least seven runs. Of the eight games the Dodgers have played so far, five have produced total scores of seven more runs, including every single Kershaw start.
On the flip side, Astros games have resulted in total scores of seven plus runs in seven of 11 contests, meaning in 12 of the 19 games played by these two sides (so 63% of all their games played) the total has reached seven runs or more. Clearly, banking on more than 7 runs scored is more than reasonable
Another interesting option to explore is the 'Total Number of Games' market found at Betway Sports. Wagering this way means that punters don’t need to worry about which team will win a game or the series, and forget about a spread of any kind. No, all that is necessary to profit here is to correctly pick the number of games the series will last, somewhere between four and seven games.
While looking for a clean sweep provides the most value at off of 4/1, given the evenness of talent on these teams that seems highly unlikely, as does the series only lasting five games. No, the place to look for value is 7/4 odds on the series going six games or odds of 9/4 that it turns in to a seven-game classic.
Given that this is the first World Series since 1970 to feature two teams that won over 100 games in the regular season, both offenses are loaded with transcendent stars, and both teams have a recent Cy Young award winner-Kershaw and Keuchel, respectively-leading their pitching staffs.
Not to mention Houston’s Justin Verlander, who won the award in 2011 and has been truly dominant all postseason for the Astros. Taken together, this could be one of the most evenly-matched World Series’ of all-time, with neither team looking like a big favorite. For those reasons, we strongly believe the series will last at least six games.
Finally, we come to the 'Most Valuable Player' market for the series. Every year a World Series MVP is crowned, and Paddy Power has put up odds on a number of players they think may take the award this year. Leading the way here is Kershaw, with odds of 3/1. Kershaw has been the face of the franchise in Los Angeles for years, and if the Dodgers are to claim victory in the series it will most likely mean that Kershaw delivered.
But don’t forget the postseason struggles we mentioned earlier, not to mention the fact they he will be facing Houston’s ace pitcher in Keuchel at least in game one, which may make it difficult for Kershaw to notch a win if they get in to a pitching duel. Additionally, of the last eight World Series MVPs, only one has been a pitcher, Madison Bumgarner and his truly breathtaking performance in 2014.
Recent World Series MVPs have tended to be hitters that put up a high batting average in the series, with David Freese’s .348 average in the 2011 Series being the LOWEST of the seven hitters to win the award since 2009. With that fact in mind, it isn’t surprising that Justin Turner and Jose Altuve have the second-best odds to take home the award, with each at 6/1.
Turner hit .322 in the regular season and has gotten even hotter of late, hitting .387 and taking home co-MVP honors for the National League Championship Series. Altuve may wind up being the regular-season MVP in the American League after notching his fourth consecutive 200-hit season and leading the league in batting for the second straight season (his third batting title in four seasons) with a .346 average.
Those incredible numbers have gotten even more eye-popping in the playoffs, as the diminutive second baseman has hit .400 through his first two playoff series, including a truly incredible .533 in the Divisional Series against Boston. Additionally, Altuve has notched five home runs already this postseason, the most of anyone in the playoffs.
Both Turner and Altuve have proven themselves to be elite playoff performers, meaning that even at the second-best odds, they are among the best value picks to take home the hardware. If you think you have a read on any of the markets for this year’s Fall Classic, head to Bet365 today and get your wagers in before first pitch!