World Series Game 1 preview: Expect fireworks between Astros, Braves
What should be a thrilling World Series begins on Tuesday night.
Let's dig into where the value lies in the series opener.
Though I like the Astros to be crowned champions when all is said and done, it's the total I'm focusing on in Game 1 - and I think the O/U of 8.5 is too low.
Charlie Morton put together a fantastic regular season, but he's been knocked around a little bit in the playoffs. Morton has allowed 10 hits and walked eight batters through 14.1 innings of work. He hasn't conceded a ton of runs, but he's clearly not playing up to his usual standards. I'm not sure this is the get-right spot for Morton, considering that his pitching arsenal doesn't profile spectacularly well against Houston.
Morton has five pitches in his repertoire, but he focuses extensively on curveballs and four-seam fastballs, throwing each 36% of the time. Though the Astros don't hit curveballs well, they absolutely smash four-seamers.
Five Houston batters posted wOBAs above .410 against fastballs and seven finished above .375. Suffice to say, they love seeing the hard stuff.
While Morton may not feature fastballs as heavily as he normally would, he's a four-seam/curveball pitcher, so he's not going to remove them from his game. The Astros will see their fair share of fastballs and I like their chances of doing some damage.
On the flip side, I don't fancy Framber Valdez's chances of shutting down Atlanta's offense. He has allowed 1.40 baserunners per inning thus far in the playoffs and - like Morton - his stuff doesn't profile well against the opposing team.
Valdez's go-to pitch is a sinker, throwing it a whopping 52% of the time. That's music to the ears of Atlanta hitters.
Five different Braves posted a hard-hit rate above 50% against sinkers, while nine finished above 45%. They consistently make heavy contact against Valdez's primary pitch, which bodes well for Atlanta in a hitter-friendly park.
Making matters worse is that the Braves are equipped to hit Valdez's No. 2 pitch as well, which is a curveball that he throws 31% of the time. Atlanta batters Adam Duvall (.493 wOBA), Eddie Rosario (.423), and Freddie Freeman (.421) all feast on curveballs.
Both starters frequently throw pitches that the opposing offenses hit well, meaning we could see plenty of fireworks in the opening game of this series.
Bet: Astros/Braves over 8.5 runs (+100)
Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.