Phillies at Astros World Series Game 1 Picks & Predictions
This year's World Series pits a heavy vs. a longshot as the American League champion Astros meet the National League champion Phillies, beginning with Game 1 Friday night in Houston. The Astros won 106 games this season and rolled perfect through the American League playoffs. The Phillies, meanwhile, squeezed into the postseason as the last wild-card entry in the National League, then rode destiny to a pennant.
Justin Verlander, poised to win his third Cy Young Award, is expected to start this Series opener for Houston against Aaron Nola, who's already got a couple wins this postseason, for Philadelphia.
Here's how we home-worked this Game 1, with our free World Series betting pick.
World Series Betting Odds
The Game 1 betting lines opened Houston at around -160 over Philadelphia, with an over/under of 6.5 runs. Early betting action then bumped the Astros to -170.
Houston is also chalked at -180 to win this World Series, with Philly getting +150 as the dog.
World Series Game 1 Betting Preview
Philadelphia reached its first World Series since 2009 by beating San Diego four games to one in the National League championship series, closing things out with a thrilling 4-3 victory last Sunday. The Phillies split the first two games of that NLCS on the road, then swept Games 3, 4 and 5 in front of the home folks.
Philadelphia opened this postseason by sweeping St. Louis in two games in a wild-card series, then upset NL East champion Atlanta three games to one in an NL divisional-round series. So the Phillies are 9-2 this postseason.
Philly also cashed in at odds of around 20/1 on the preseason National League championship betting boards.
Houston reached the World Series for the fourth time over the last six seasons by sweeping the Yankees in four games in the American League championship series, finishing things off with a 6-5 victory Sunday. The Astros won the first two games of that ALCS at home, then won the next two games at Yankee Stadium.
Winning the pennant didn't come as any big surprise; Houston only cashed at around 3/1 on AL pennant betting boards.
The Astros opened this postseason by sweeping Seattle in three games in an American League divisional-round series. So Houston is 7-0 this postseason.
The Astros finished 19 games ahead of the Phillies in the regular-season standings and took two of three games from Philly in the last series of the season three weeks ago in Houston. Philly won the first game of that series to clinch its playoff berth while the Astros won the last two, which were basically meaningless for both teams.
Game 1 Pitching Match-Up
Verlander hit 19/28 on quality starts this season and is 1/2 this postseason. Back in the ALDS against the Mariners he got touched for six runs and 10 hits through four innings in a game Houston rallied late to win 8-7. Then two Wednesdays ago in the ALCS against the Yankees he bounced back to allow just one run through six innings of a 4-2 Astros victory.
Houston played 20-8 with Verlander during the regular season and that was even two or three games worse than it should have been, based on his performances.
In his most recent start against Philadelphia, three weeks ago in a game that didn't mean anything to either team, Verlander tossed five innings of one-hit, shutout ball, with one walk and 10 strikeouts, in a 10-0 Astros win.
Nola hit 17/32 on quality starts this year and he's 2/3 this postseason. Last week in the NLCS against the Padres he got touched for six runs and two home runs in less than five innings of an 8-5 Phillies loss. But over starts against the Cardinals in the wild-card series and against the Braves in the NLDS he allowed just one unearned run and nine hits through 12 2/3 innings, with three walks and 12 strikeouts.
Philadelphia only played 15-17 with Nola during the regular season but it probably should have been 18-14 or even 19-13, based on his performances. And the Phillies are 2-1 with him this postseason.
In his most recent start against Houston, in the game that clinched Philly's playoff berth three weeks ago, Nola took a perfect game into the seventh inning, allowed two hits, walked none and whiffed nine in a 3-0 Phillies victory.
Splits With the Sticks
Philadelphia batted .248 against right-handed pitching this season, with a .308 team OBP and a .418 team slugging percentage. The Phillies have also scored at least five runs six times in 11 games this postseason.
Houston slashed .242/.315/.411 against right-handed pitching this season.
The Astros bullpen recorded a ML-best 2.80 ERA this season, along with a 1.14 WHIP and a 3.06 K/BB ratio.
The Phillies bullpen posted a 4.27 ERA, a 1.39 WHIP and a 2.32 K/BB ratio. But this unit's been pretty good this postseason, closing out four of five save opportunities.
- Get more details: Phillies vs. Astros Game 1 Betting Stats
MLB Betting Trends
Philadelphia only played 40-41 on the road this season but it's 4-2 on the road this postseason.
The Phillies played 59-57 against right-handed starters this season.
Houston played 55-26 at home this season and 64-44 against right-handed starters.
- The Overs played 80-75 in Phillies games this season.
- The Unders played a lopsided 93-61 in Astros games.
- The Unders played 47-30 at Minute Maid Park this season.
Phillies at Astros Game 1 Moneyline Prediction
We give Verlander the edge in the pitching match, but it’s close because we also expect a bounce-back performance from Nola following a poor one last time out. From there, Houston also owns an edge in the bullpen comparison, while the splits with the sticks are about even. But when we add all that up, it doesn’t seem to warrant so high a price. Philadelphia’s playing with some nice verve this postseason, so we like the betting value with the Phillies on that Game 1 line.