It might not be the match-up everyone predicted, but the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros will face-off for the 2021 World Series. Both teams have had their ups and downs this year, but the Braves enter as the underdog on paper.
As the final betting opportunity of the year, many are looking to jump into the World Series and put some money on the action. Whether it’s predicting the World Series winner, individual game winners, or prop bets, this is a preview on what to expect.
World Series odds
Atlanta Braves +115
Houston Astros -135
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Atlanta enters as the underdog, but they might not be as surprising as some thought initially. They can hit very well, and the pitching has been strong in the month of October. Their pitching will need to be at their absolute best to hold the Astros down, as their lineup has been dominating for most of the year. Charlie Morton and Max Fried both need to pitch like aces for Atlanta to have a chance.
Both teams have outstanding home-field advantage, which plays into Huston‘s favor since they get the first two at home, and potentially Games 6 and 7 if it goes that far. Atlanta showed that they don’t mind going on the road, and actually had a better road record in the regular season than at home. Only the postseason has the open advantage going to another level.
Can Atlanta pull off the upset? With an offense that averaged 4.88 runs in the regular season, they’ve actually underperformed in the postseason. They will need to have a few offensive outbursts to keep up with Houston to make it possible. With that being said, the underdog has the better value right now, as these two teams are a bit more even than it might appear on paper. Too many are picking Houston, driving their value way down.
Pick: Atlanta Braves to win the World Series +115
Predicting the exact result in the series might seem challenging, but considering the evenness of the two teams, there seem to be a couple of choices that can instantly be thrown out.
The two teams are both playing too well for the series to finish in four or five games. That leaves the options of picking the Astros in six, the Astros in seven, the Braves and six, or the Braves in seven.
Sticking with the World Series result, the best value right now looks like the Atlanta Braves in seven. The odds listed in most places are around +600, compared to +390 for the Astros win in seven games.
In a Game 7 scenario, both teams would be emptying the tank and trying to go for the win. Houston has plenty of firepower, but the Braves have a good amount of pitching depth that has shown that they can play against the best teams out there. Remember that this is the same Atlanta Braves team that beat the Dodgers, who arguably have the most firepower in all of baseball.
Pick: Atlanta Braves in 7 (+600)
The series spread is very similar to betting exact results, but there is a little bit of variance. Some like this option better, and there could be some better odds out there depending on where people place a wager.
The best option here is to go with +1.5 games for Atlanta. This means that they will either win the series, or they will lose in Game 6 or 7. Yes, it’s fairly high probability that this happens, and listed odds are just -155. It’s still a pretty safe bet that can help increase the chances of picking at least one winner with prop bets.
Pick: Atlanta Braves +1.5 (-155)
Most Valuable Player
Historically speaking, the most valuable player in the World Series tends to go to hitters. Not only do they historically win 57% of the time, but the rate has been increasing as time goes on.
Considering that both teams hit well, all of the value looks like hitters on both teams. If someone wants to go with a pitcher, we’ve included one who might have a chance of surprising everyone.
Ozzie Albies +2000
Guys like Freddie Freeman, Eddie Rosario, and Austin Riley are getting all the attention, but Ozzie Albies has been a very solid producer for the Atlanta Braves in the lineup all year. Maybe he struggled a bit so far this postseason, but he did hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 in the regular season. Hitting at the top of the lineup for Atlanta means he’ll have the opportunities if he can come through.
Jorge Soler +3400
This is a pretty big reach, especially if he can’t play in the National League games. However, when playing American League rules, he’ll most likely be the designated hitter in every game. He’ll fight for playing time with Joc Pedersen when at home, but that’s why he has such great value.
Soler has been a pretty big surprise for Atlanta since making the move in the middle of the season. He hit 14 home runs in 236 plate appearances, and he’s been very productive in the postseason as well. A couple of clutch hits could sway things his way as a World Series MVP.
It’s been historically difficult for relievers to win World Series MVP, so we look at the only starting pitcher on the Astros’ roster who can do enough to win World Series MVP. He’ll likely get the ball three times in the World Series if it goes seven games, and the Astros are not afraid to throw him long innings every single time.
The left-hander will face an Atlanta lineup that has struggled against southpaws all season long, and his fastball has been dominant during the postseason. If he has a solid outing in Game 1, and then does something else late in the series, he could take home MVP honors.