MLB Game 1 World Series Odds, Expert Picks: Braves vs. Astros Best Bets
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Bregman
World Series Game 1 Odds
|Time||8:09 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The World Series begins tonight in Houston, and over the next 4-to-7 games the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves will determine the next champion of Major League Baseball.
Game 1 features an incredibly intriguing matchup of Framber Valdez vs. Charlie Morton, and our analysts are all over it, with a pair of moneyline picks as well as two player props to consider.
Here are our best bets for Game 1 of the World Series.
Odds via BetRivers
DJ James: With Lance McCullers sidelined for the Houston Astros, Framber Valdez will go as the starter in Game 1 against Charlie Morton. Both pitchers have the ability to go deep into this game, but the advantage lies with a difference in the lineups.
Houston had a 120 wRC+ in September versus righties, but Atlanta was amongst the worst teams in baseball with a 70 wRC+ versus lefties. They did manage to have the second-lowest groundball rate in that time, so that could help negate Valdez’s most advantageous asset. His was 70.3%.
On the other side, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker both had a OPS over 1.000 this postseason, so this will benefit the middle of the Astros lineup. Morton’s X-factor has been his ability to strike batters out, but Houston posted a sub-20% strikeout rate in September versus righties. They should match up fairly well with the 37-year-old.
The Astros love hitting lefties and the Atlanta bullpen is comprised of plenty of them. Their best arms (Tyler Matzek, A.J. Minter, Will Smith) are all lefties, and manager Brian Snitker has had a tendency to go to them often.
This is why taking Houston on the moneyline at -134 is the key. Play this to -142.
Adam Duvall Over 1.5 Total Bases (+150)
Odds via DraftKings
Sean Zerillo: Every Braves’ hitter except for Adam Duvall (+5), Eddie Rosario (+5), and Ozzie Albies (0) returned a negative run value against sinkers this season. Valdez goes to his sinker 53% of the time, but he increased that usage to 66% in his most recent start against Boston, while using his curveball (33%) as his only secondary offering.
Duvall (+18 run value) was twice as good against curveballs this season as any hitter in baseball.
The NL RBI leader struggled against lefties in 2021 (64 wRC+) but performed better against southpaws than same-sided pitching in three of the past four seasons.
Considering his dual success against both sinkers and curveballs, Duvall seems like a prime candidate for an Over 1.5 Total Bases (+150) play.
He averaged 1.7 total bases per game in 2021.
Framber Valdez Over 4.5 Strikeouts (+120)
Odds via DraftKings
Brad Cunningham: Valdez has a fantastic matchup against a Braves lineup that has been terrible versus left-handed pitching (93 wRC+, 25th in MLB) and has a -17.7 run value against sinkers.
Valdez goes to his sinker 51.8% of the time, but his curveball is by far his best pitch, as opponents only have a .153 xBA and .227 xwOBA and it also has a 44.4% whiff rate.
The Braves have hit curveballs (+13.5 run value), but they have a 26.5% K rate against left-handed curveballs this season.
Valdez, including the postseason is facing an average of 25.4 batters per game. If we take that times his K% of 21.9%, we get a projection of 5.56 strikeouts. So I think there is some value in him to get 5+ strikeouts tonight.
Odds via Caesars
Kenny Ducey: One might look at the Braves’ .725 OPS this postseason with their arms crossed and a disappointed scowl across their face, but I choose to look at it with some optimism. Atlanta has done well to come through two series against some of the toughest pitching around, taking down the Brewers’ and Dodgers’ best arms. Now, they get to step in against the problematic Framber Valdez.
The lefty was a special kind of bad in his first two starts this postseason, allowing six earned runs on 13 hits and four walks, but turned things around in a big way in Game 5 of the ALCS to hold Boston to one run over eight innings. I’m willing to throw out the one-game sample here and look at the larger set of numbers.
Those would say that Valdez had a lot of issues in 2021, walking 10.1% of the hitters he faced and allowing 44.4% of his contact to travel at 95+ mph. While he’s a sinker-baller, relying on those hard-hit balls heading straight into the dirt, he might not be so fortunate here. The Braves had the second-lowest ground ball rate in the majors this year.
While some may look at Atlanta’s 24th-place standing in wRC+ to lefties, too, it doesn’t tell the whole story. This team not only added three quality bats who can hit lefties at the trade deadline in Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario and Adam Duvall, they also got Travis d’Arnaud back, who was one of their best options against southpaws.
This team is going to be a lot for Valdez to handle, which could put them over the top here considering Charlie Morton’s postseason track record and his sparkling 3.06 ERA on the road this year. I think this is a pretty good deal on Atlanta.
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