The 2021 World Series gets started on Tuesday night, with the Houston Astros hosting the Atlanta Braves. The Astros are the betting favorites to win the series and a -135 favorite to win Game 1, while Atlanta’s moneyline for Tuesday’s game is set at +115. There is also an over/under of eight runs being scored in Game 1.
It’s a given that any team will bring a lot of momentum heading into the World Series. But that’s particularly true for the Astros, who won three in a row against the Red Sox after many started to count them out after a loss in Game 3. In fact, Houston outscored Boston 23-3 over the final three games of the ALCS.
The Braves weren’t quite that dominant in putting away the Dodgers during the NLCS. After all, Atlanta lost Game 5 of the NLCS 11-2 before finishing off the Dodgers back home in six games. Plus, the Braves are just 2-3 on the road during the postseason.
Hello, Old Friend
Charlie Morton will get the nod for Atlanta in Game 1, facing the team that he won the World Series with in 2017. Morton was 14-6 with a 3.34 ERA during the regular season and has been solid but unspectacular in the playoffs.
Over three starts, he’s pitched 14.1 innings, allowing just six runs on ten hits while also striking out 19, so he’s been sharp and will be on full rest for Game 1.
Of course, Morton knows as well as anyone how dangerous the Houston lineup can be. Everyone in the lineup has contributed during the playoffs, although Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker have done the most damage for the Astros.
Catcher Martin Maldonado figures to be the wild card in Game 1, as he’s 2 for 29 in the playoffs but 7 for 13 in his career against Morton.
The New Ace?
With Lance McCullers unavailable due to injury, Framber Valdez will start Game 1 for the Astros. After missing the early part of the season, the lefty was 11-6 with a 3.14 ERA over 22 starts. Valdez also bounced back from two poor postseason starts and went eight innings, giving up just one run on three hits in Game 5 of the ALCS.
There are only four batters on the Atlanta roster who have faced Valdez before, so facing the Braves will be a new challenge. Outside of Freddie Freeman, Eddie Rosario is the biggest threat, as he’s batting .474 with an OPS of 1.313 during the playoffs.
Of course, with a lefty on the mound, Adam Duvall, Austin Riley, and Jorge Soler might be Atlanta’s most important hitters in Game 1.
Home on the Range
The last time the Astros were in the World Series, they lost all four of their home games against the Nationals. But they are 4-1 at home in this year’s postseason and were red-hot offensively toward the end of the ALCS.
Look for Valdez to build off of his last start and the Astros to keep rolling offensively, giving Houston a win in Game 1 of the World Series.
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