Back on July 12 – one day removed from the 2017 MLB All-Star Game – online sportsbook Bovada listed the Los Angeles Dodgers (+350) and the Houston Astros (+425) as favorites to win the World Series.
The pair of powerhouses wound up as the only 100-game winners on the year, and after claiming the requisite seven postseason victories, Houston heads to Los Angeles for Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night.
The Dodgers are heavy favorites at (-173) to take Game 1, while the Astros are (+148) underdogs. A run line wager on Los Angeles comes in at (-1.5; +125), and Houston can be had at (+1.5; -145).
Owing to the pitching prowess on display, the Over / Under has been set at 7, with a bet on Under (-130) favored when compared to the Over (+110).
Two former Cy Young award winners will clash at Chavez Ravine, as Dallas Keuchel (14-5; 2.90 ERA in regular season) leads the Astros against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (18-4; 2.31 ERA).
Both hurlers have put up two electric outings, along with a relative clunker, through this year’s postseason run – but all eyes will be on Kershaw when he takes the bump for his first Fall Classic.
With 11 largely lackluster playoff series under his belt thus far, Kershaw owns a decidedly mediocre postseason record (6-7; 4.40 ERA).
In his 17 playoff starts, Kershaw has also surrendered an astounding 16 home runs. That disturbing trend continued this year, as Kershaw gave up four longballs to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS, and one bomb in each of his two NLCS starts against the Chicago Cubs. In fact, Kershaw has allowed at least one home run in his last eight starts dating back to the regular season.
That history doesn’t bode well for the Dodgers given the Astros’ tendency to swing for the fences. Led by pint-sized slugger Jose Altuve and his five dingers, Houston has gone yard 12 times through this year’s World Series run.
As for the Astros’ arsenal of arms, the Dodgers may benefit from seeing Keuchel come to Los Angeles. After famously finishing the 2015 regular season with a spotless 15-0 record at Minute Maid Park – becoming the first qualifying pitcher to ever finish undefeated at home – Keuchel had strong home splits this year as well. He tosses to the tune of a 2.26 ERA in Houston, as opposed to a 3.53 away clip.
Given the propensity of Dodger sluggers like Justin Turner (2 of 3) and Kike Hernandez (2 of 3) to hit their home runs at home, Keuchel could have a long day in Los Angeles.
Keuchel is guaranteed to pitch at least one home game, however, most likely in Game 4 – so that discrepancy should balance out.
The man who hopes to get Houston home with a chance to finish things off is fellow ace Justin Verlander – who has lived up to his billing as a postseason pro following a deadline-day acquisition from the Detroit Tigers.
Verlander’s 4-0 record with a 1.46 ERA has fueled the Astros’ ascent to baseball’s biggest stage, and he should be slated for Game 2, along with Games 5 and 7 if necessary.
The Dodgers are big (-165) favorites to win their first World Series since 1988, with the Astros rated as (+145) underdogs to win their first in 55 years as a franchise.
For futures betting purposes, Dodgers in six games is the favorite (+350), followed by Dodgers in 7 (+400), Astros in 7 (+550), Dodgers in 5 (+600), Astros in 6 (+650), Astros in 5 (+700), a Dodger sweep (+1000), and an Astros sweep (+1400).