It could all end Sunday night.
The Braves, despite having the fewest wins of any postseason team, can clinch their first World Series title in 26 years with a Game 5 win over the Astros at Truist Park.
Atlanta rallied from a two-run deficit to earn a 3-2 win in Game 4, and has a chance to claim this series without playing another game at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros turn to Game 1 losing pitcher Framber Valdez (1-1, 6.35 postseason ERA) to save their season. The Braves will start Tucker Davidson in another bullpen game.
Our betting experts felt the burn in Game 4, as both Matt Ehalt and Dave Scipione went 1-4 since they backed Houston on the moneyline and run line and liked the over.
Ehalt and Craig Ellenport are tackling Game 5.
Ehalt: Ouch. I had been 6-0 predicting moneyline and run line before Atlanta's late rally knocked us back (all while predicting Christian Javier would pitch well).
Houston has the starting pitching edge here, but the Braves teed off on Valdez in Game 1. You'd imagine he will have a short leash Sunday.
Atlanta received a great performance from Kyle Wright on Saturday to keep the game close, and may need the same out of Smyly or Davison.
I originally believed Houston would win this series, but Houston's offense just has not delivered as expected. Meanwhile, Brian Snitker is making every right move.
Let's take the plus-odds that Atlanta wins its first title since 1995.
Ellenport: The Braves have been winning with smoke and mirrors, but the bottom line is that they've been winning. Atlanta is now 7-0 at home in this postseason. The Braves' pitchers have allowed a total of 10 runs in their last five games at Truist Park.
Shutting down the Astros' potent offense one more time might be a tall order, but that's okay -- the Braves' bats are ready to heat up and carry this team to a clincher. Atlanta's the pick.
Ehalt: I'm tempted to hedge my bet here with the Astros, but the winning team has won on the run line in each game of the series. Not a huge fan of the odds for the Braves, but let's back the trends and stick with Atlanta.
Ellenport: Agreed. This will be a close game but sticking with the Braves.
Ehalt: I've learned my lesson.
I've bet the over four times expecting we'd have one game where both teams deliver offensively, and the over has only delivered once (a 7-2 Houston win in Game 2).
Houston's offense has not delivered this series, and the under hit in Game 1 even with Valdez being shelled. Let's finally take the under (which naturally means the over hits).
Ellenport: Even as the Astros were held to two runs Saturday night, it felt like they were about to break out. They had a couple of long outs late in the game that would have been homers in most stadiums.
The Braves, meanwhile, relied on the bottom of their lineup to pull out Game 4. After a pair of low-scoring games for both teams, expect the bats to wake up on both sides. We'll take the over.
Ehalt: Game 4 featured the first time the moneyline after five innings did not match the winner, but we both hit on the bet since Houston held the lead.
My guess on this game is the Braves claim an early lead and hold on, so I'm going to back the Braves. This feels like a game where it could be 2-0 or 3-0 in the first or second inning, and the crowd is absolutely electric as it counts down the outs.
Ellenport: I'm expecting a slugfest, so I'll give Houston the early lead. Not sure if Atlanta waits until the ninth inning to pull this out, but I'll give Houston a lead after five.
Ehalt: Let's go with a fun one: First home run.
With Houston's struggles, it's temping to fade its hitters and choose an Atlanta batter.
Austin Riley, a righty, at +950 seems like a solid option since he could possibly get two at bats against Valdez and went 1-for-2 against him with a double in Game 1. It's always enticing when you're getting nearly 10-to-1 odds on a slugger.
Ellenport: As a long-suffering Mets fan who has seen so many Mets rejects go on to World Series glory elsewhere, it's tempting to play Travis D'Arnaud here. But in a series that has seen big contributions from Atlanta's bit players, I expect the Braves to close this out with a big game from their best player.
Freddie Freeman is a modest 4-for-14 (.286) in the series thus far. He's ready to bust out. I wouldn't be surprised if he goes deep tonight, but my play here is Freeman at +1200 to record three or more hits.