The World Series gets underway on Tuesday night in Houston as the Astros host the Atlanta Braves in Game 1. We're less than two weeks away from crowning a new champion. The Braves are +115 underdogs on the road to kick things off.
Sometimes, picking a winner isn't the route we want to go when betting a game. BetMGM has hundreds of prop bets posted for this game, and here are three of my favorite.
We all know by this point that handicapping playoff baseball is a different animal, and that is especially true when it comes to handicapping starting pitching.
In his last 21 starts of the regular season, Framber Valdez went at least five innings in all but one start. Naturally, Valdez didn't make it out of the fifth inning in his first two postseason appearances. Then in Game 5 of the ALCS, when his team needed him most, Valdez delivered an 8-inning gem.
Valdez's strikeout prop for this game is listed at over/under 3.5 strikeouts. This is basically a bet on the length he will be able to provide.
I don't think the Braves lineup is nearly as daunting as the White Sox and Red Sox lineup that Valdez faced in his first two starts of the postseason. He also seems to have figured something out in his latest start that allowed him to pitch 8 innings.
In 10 starts during August and September, Valdez averaged 6 1/3 innings per start. Valdez also struck out at least four batters in 12 of his 13 starts at home this season. I'm willing to take the gamble on length and bet Valdez to record over 3.5 strikeouts.
Martin Maldonado is a defensive specialist at catcher who has made some electric plays with his arm already in this postseason. His defensive prowess is the sole reason he's in the lineup, as he's basically a black hole offensively. He batted .172 during the regular season and has backed that up with an .069 batting average in the postseason. Maldonado has just 2 hits in 10 postseason games.
Naturally, I like Maldonado to record a hit in Game 1. In 15 career at-bats against Charlie Morton, Maldonado has 8 hits. There might be something to this small sample, as Maldonado served as Morton's catcher when the two played together on the Astros in 2018. Maldonado knows Morton's tendencies and can read his pitches out of the hand better than most due to their prior partnership.
It's definitely not the sexiest bet and probably not the best value, but I like Maldonado to continue his ownership of his former teammate. Maldonado is currently +100 to record a hit at BetMGM.
Ozzie Albies had a great year for the Braves this season, hitting 30 home runs and driving in 106 runs. However, he's got a big advantage in this game.
Albies is a switch hitter, but there's no denying he's a much better batter from the right side of the plate. With the Astros throwing a lefty in Valdez, Albies will be batting from his preferred side for most of the night. The slash line for Albies as a left-handed batter during the regular season was .237/.295/.454, which is a far cry from his .323/.354/.585 line as a right-handed batter.
Despite just 26% of his at-bats coming with him batting right-handed, 33% of his hits, 35% of his doubles and 30% of his home runs came from the right side of the plate.
The Braves will need someone to step up behind Freddie Freeman if they want to win this series. In prior series, it's been Joc Pederson and Eddie Rosario. I think Albies has a big game to open the World Series and I like him to go over 1.5 total bases at +105.