Two games. Two blowouts.
Now, the series shifts to Atlanta (cue Jermaine Dupri and Ludacris).
Game 3 features a matchup of talented, young righties in Atlanta's Ian Anderson (1-0. 2.25 postseason ERA) and ALCS Game 6 hero Luis Garcia (1-1. 9.64 postseason ERA).
Jen Piacenti and Matt Ehalt cashed three and four wagers, respectively, in Game 2. Both hit on Houston winning on the moneyline, run line and the over. Max Fried tallying more than 4.5 strikeouts gave Ehalt the additional successful wager.
Here are their Game 3 picks, and be sure to check SI Sportsbook for the odds.
Piacenti: Though I like the Astros to win the series, I'll pick the Braves.
Anderson has been strong in the postseason and the Braves are dominant at home (5-0 this October). Anderson hasn't gone past the fifth inning in two of his last three postseason starts, but both bullpens should be rested Friday.
Also, the Astros have to figure out what do with Yordan Alvarez's bat becasue there is no designated hitter. Since I can't see them going without Alvarez in the lineup, that means Houston will have to move some defensive players around to accommodate Alvarez in left field. That could make for some sloppy play.
Ehalt: This is the biggest start of both pitchers' careers.
Garcia shined in Game 6 of the ALCS, flummoxing the Red Sox to propel Houston to the pennant. Anderson has been solid this postseason, although the Braves did not push him in either of his starts against the Dodgers in the NLCS.
Atlanta struggled against a righty in Jose Urquidy in Game 2, while crushing lefty Framber Valdez in Game 1. Houston jumped on lefty Max Fried early in Game 2, but didn't muster much against righty Charlie Morton—though he's better than Anderson.
This is a tough call, but I like Atlanta for a few reasons.
Truist Park should be buzzing with this being the first World Series game in Atlanta in 22 years, and we've yet to see Anderson have a bad postseason start. He's allowed no more than two runs in any postseason game, although some have been brief starts.
Atlanta is also undefeated at home this postseason, and the Astros' lineup will not be at full strength due to the game being played under National League rules.
Garcia, while great in Game 6, struggled in his other two postseason starts this October. He yielded 10 runs spanning his first two against the White Sox and Red Sox.
I trust Anderson more than Garcia to not implode, and Atlanta's bullpen will be well-rested to pick up the load should Anderson exit early.
Piacenti: Since I have to pick: I am taking the plus-money and hoping Astros win by at least two, should they win.
Ehalt: I'm not a fan of the odds on this bet since there is little value in betting Atlanta at -188, but I'll double down since I'm predicting them to win straight-up.
Piacenti: This run total is tight again. Game 1, we saw it go to 8. Game 2 it went to 9. Feels like that's the happy place.
I will take the under, remembering there will be one "automatic" out for the pitcher's spot and guessing both bullpens will be rested and sharp.
Ehalt: Game 1: 8 runs.
Game 2: 9 runs.
Both over/under lines were 8.5.
That's how you know you've got a good line.
We've yet to see both offenses deliver in the same game, but these teams are still finding ways to produce a sizable amount of runs.
Two of Garcia's three starts have resulted in finals above 8.5 runs, while only one of Anderson's three starts has resulted in nine runs. This falls in line with Houston's games often hitting the over, while Atlanta's usually hit the under.
Two of the five postseason games in Atlanta this year have gone over 8.5 runs.
Ultimately, I trust both offenses more than I trust these starters. Let's bet the over here.
Piacenti: I'lll give the nod to the hometown team. Garcia has been spotty, and who knows if his knee is healthy enough to rock the baby.
Ehalt: Since both games have been blowouts, the team that has won has held the lead through five innings. Let's follow that trend and take Atlanta here. Picking Atlanta is also banking on Braves manager Brian Snitker having a quick hook with Anderson.
Piacenti: I'll take Michael Brantley to record 2+ hits (+160). Brantley batted .363 vs righties this year, and he's batting .352 in the postseason.
I like that plus money.
Ehalt: Freddie Freeman is the face of the franchise.
It's the first World Series game in Atlanta in 22 years.
It's Freeman's first World Series game.
Sports are great when they provide emotional moments, and I believe Freeman is going to have a strong game Friday night.
Let's take Freeman (+190), the reigning MVP, to tally those hits.
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