Chris Monti •
World Series Preview
The Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves will battle for glory in the World Series after clinching their respective pennants at the weekend. The Astros secured a better regular season record than their rivals, so they will enjoy homefield advantage in this best-of-seven series. Game 1 takes place at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday evening. Read on for a detailed preview of the 2021 World Series.
How Did the Houston Astros Reach the World Series?
The Astros finished top of the AL West with a 95-67 record. They earned a League Division Series clash with the Chicago White Sox, which they won 3-1. That saw the Astros go through to the League Championship Series, where they faced the Boston Red Sox.
The series was delicately poised at 2-2, but Houston then powered to a 9-1 victory and beat Boston 5-0 in Game 6 to seize the AL pennant. Yordan Alvarez claimed the ALCS MVP after enjoying a record-setting series at the plate. He went 12 for 23 with a home run, six RBIs and a 1.408 OPS, and he put in a superb performance in Game 7.
This will be Houston’s third World Series appearance in the past five years. Star players Carlos Correa, José Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel boast a great deal of postseason experience, and they will spearhead their team’s bid for history.
How Did the Atlanta Braves Get to the World Series?
The Braves won the National League East title with a record of 88-73. That was the fewest regular season wins of any playoff team, so Atlanta was not given much chance of success in the postseason, particularly with star player Ronald Acuña Jr. out injured.
However, Atlanta upset NL Central winner Milwaukee Brewers in the Division Series to earn a place in the National League Championship Series. It was a heavy underdog against the 106-win Los Angeles Dodgers, but it prevailed in six games to reach the World Series for the first time since 1999. Its last World Series victory came in 1995, but Braves fans are now daring to dream of glory.
Outfielder Eddie Rosario was named NLCS MVP. He had 14 hits in the series, tying the postseason record. Acuña is still a big miss, but Rosario has been crushing it. Starting pitchers Charlie Morton and Max Fried will hold the key to Atlanta’s chances of success in this best-of-seven-series, but it will be exciting to see if Rosario can inspire his team to glory. The World Series will also pit Braves manager Brian Snitker against his son Troy, who is Houston’s hitting coach.
What is the 2021 World Series Schedule?
Game 1 takes place on Tuesday, October 26, at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The teams will resume hostilities at the same venue for Game 2 on Wednesday.
Games 3, 4 and 5 are slated for Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Truist Park in Atlanta, and – if needed – Games 6 and 7 will be held in Houston on Tuesday, November 2, and Wednesday, November 3.
Where Can You Watch the World Series?
FOX Sports has the coverage rights for the World Series, with Joe Buck and John Smoltz commentating. There are a limited number of tickets available to anyone that wants to watch the action unfold live, but they are already selling for north of $500 on the secondary market.
Who is the Favorite for the World Series?
Bet365 is offering a market leading price of -141 on the Houston Astros to win the World Series. DraftKings will only go to -155 on Houston. Atlanta is the clear underdog, best priced at +130 with DraftKings and Caesars Sportsbook.
The Astros had a significantly better regular season record than Atlanta. They scored 863 runs, compared to 790 for the Braves, and the Houston offense has been on fire during the postseason. In the postseason, the Astros are averaging 6.7 runs per game, compared to 4 for the Braves. Gurriel and Michael are both averaging more than .300, putting them in the top five in the MLB.
The bullpens look pretty evenly matched, even if Atlanta’s starting rotation is a little stronger, but Houston appears to have a clear advantage with the bat. Its players are also a lot more experienced in big postseason series, and the Astros have homefield advantage, so it is easy to see why they are the favorites.
However, the Braves are 43-23 since the start of August, so they are surging with momentum right now. Bringing in Rosario, Adam Duvall and Jorge Soler on July 30 changed their fortunes. They just beat the Dodgers – the team that has been the favorite to win the World Series for several months – so they will not fear the Astros.
What Betting Markets are Available on the World Series?
You can also bet on the World Series spread. FanDuel has the Astros -1.5 games at odds of +128, or the Braves +1/5 at -156. You can bet on the total games in the series, with 6 games as the +200 favorite, followed by 7 games at +210, 5 games at +290 and 4 games at +500. Altuve, Brantley, Bregman and Alvarez are the +1000 joint favorites for the World Series MVP award.
Sportsbooks are also offering correct score series betting – the Astros to win 4-2 is the favorite at +420 with FanDuel – and the correct score after 3 games. You can also bet on each game. Houston is the -136 favorite for Game 1, while Atlanta is the +116 underdog. The total runs line has been set at 8.5, and there are all sorts of alternative runs and totals, game props, player props and same game parlays available too.
World Series Prediction
Most neutral fans will be rooting for the Braves in this series. They are enjoying a fairy-tale season after Acuña’s injury, while the Astros are still the sport’s villains following the sign stealing scandal. Atlanta is the underdog, but it is on fire right now, it has an advantage at starting pitcher and it should be surging with confidence after beating the Dodgers, so it can upset the odds and seize glory in the Fall Classic.