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Philadelphia Phillies vs. Houston Astros World Series Game 1 Betting Preview
It was over eight months ago that pitchers and catchers reported to spring training. What started in the middle of February now culminates with the World Series, starting Friday at Minute Maid Park in Houston. In the Fall Classic, the Philadelphia Phillies will take on the Houston Astros in this best-of-seven series.
Philadelphia went from an afterthought in the NL East, finishing third overall, to the winner of the NL pennant. After steamrolling through the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, and San Diego Padres, they will look to win their first World Series since 2008.
The Astros are trying to remove some of the stench of the 2017 World Series by proving they don't need a cheating system to win it all. Given this is their fourth World Series appearance in the last six years, it is hard to ignore their utter dominance.
The Astros are favored both in the series and in Game 1. They are (-193) to win the World Series and (-173) to win Game 1. The Phillies are (+165) to win it all and (+150) to win Friday night.
Harper Transforming Into What We Thought He Could Be
When Bryce Harper graced the cover of Sports Illustrated at 16 years old, everyone knew the potential was there. At 30 years old now, he is showing how much of a force he can be in the game.
After hitting just .286/.364/.514 with 18 home runs and 65 runs batted in during the regular season, Harper has come alive in the playoffs. Through 11 postseason games, he is hitting .419/.444/.907 with five home runs, 11 runs batted in, and ten runs scored.
One of those home runs was the difference maker in the clinching Game 5 of the NLCS, where he took Robert Suarez deep to give the Phillies the lead for good.
Phillies' manager Rob Thomson will send righty Aaron Nola to the mound for the opening game. Nola took the lone loss against the Padres in the last series after giving up six runs in less than five innings of work.
Still, Nola has long been considered the ace of this staff, and during the regular season, he went 11-13 with a 3.25 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and he struck out 235 in 205 innings of work.
Astros Look To Avenge Last Year's World Series Performance
After losing to the Atlanta Braves in last season's World Series, the Astros have a chip on their shoulder and will look to overcome another NL East powerhouse in the Phillies.
For manager Dusty Baker, there is no better person to hand the ball to in Game 1 than future Hall-of-Famer Justin Verlander. In 33 career postseason appearances, he is 15-11 with a 3.55 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 219 strikeouts in 197.2 innings of work.
This season, he is 1-0 with a 6.30 ERA in the postseason, but that is thanks to a dreadful start against the Mariners in the Divisional Series when he allowed six runs in four innings. He bounced back nicely in their last series against the Yankees, though, as he allowed just one run and struck out 11 in six innings.
Houston is really hoping to get leadoff hitter Jose Altuve going. In 32 at bats this postseason, he has just three hits.
Even without Altuve's production, the Astros have still been strong with a lineup that consists of Jeremy Pena (.303 avg, 3 HR, 7 R), Yordan Alvarez (.241 avg, 2 HR, 8 RBI), Alex Bregman (.333 avg, 2 HR, 7 RBI), and Yuli Gurriel, .367 avg, 2 HR).
Home Sweet Home For Houston
The Astros were solid this season regardless of the venue. They went 51-30 on the road while going 55-26 at home. Still, Houston has dominated at home lately and has won six straight matchups at Minute Maid Park.
Houston has also had success against Philadelphia at Minute Maid Park, winning four of their last five games. That includes Houston winning two of three in the final series of the regular season.
While Philadelphia has played well all postseason, they struggled on the road during the regular season. They were 47-34 at home, but they were under .500 at 40-41 on the road.
With both teams' red hot entering the Word Series, this series could truly go either way. Still, Houston certainly comes in with an edge at home on Friday.
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