World Series Game 2 Preview, Odds, and Pick: Atlanta Braves at Houston Astros

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braves astros world series

If Game 1 was any indication, this year’s World Series is shaping up to be a wild one. Jorge Soler became the first leadoff hitter to ever hit a home run in the first plate appearance of a World Series, which served as the springboard for Atlanta’s 6-2 upset of the Houston Astros on Tuesday night. The Braves scored five of their six runs off of Houston starter Framber Valdez, who struggled mightily after dominating the Red Sox in Game 5 of the ALCS.

So, the Braves have already done what they needed to do. All Atlanta had to do was go into Houston and take one of the first two games in order to wrestle home-field advantage away from the Astros. Now, all of the pressure is on Houston. The ‘Stros have now lost each of their last five World Series home games. That dates back to the 2019 Fall Classic in which they lost all four games at Minute Maid Park at the hands of the Nationals. If the Astros can’t get back on track tonight, this series may not come back to H-Town at all.

BetOnline’s oddsmakers favor Houston to notch a win in Game 2 behind starter Jose Urquidy. Atlanta, meanwhile, will turn to ace left-hander Max Fried. The Astros are listed as slight -117 favorites on the moneyline in a game with an over/under of nine runs.

Braves vs. Astros Betting Odds

Teams Runline Moneyline Total
Atlanta Braves +1.5 (-196) +107 Over 9 runs (-116)
Houston Astros -1.5 (+171) -117 Under 9 runs (-104)

Braves

While the Astros haven’t had much success on their home field in their most recent World Series games, Minute Maid Park has historically been a fortress for this team. Houston’s loss in Game 1 was just their second home defeat of these playoffs. During the regular season, the Astros posted one of the best home records in the entire sport at 51-30.

So, it’s incumbent on the road team to strike early and take Houston’s raucous home crowd out of it. That’s exactly what the Braves accomplised on Tuesday night. Atlanta plated runs in each of the first three innings, while the pitching staff kept the Astros’ mighty offense off the scoreboard until the fourth. The Astros were ultimately unable to overcome their early 5-0 deficit.

Max Fried will be tasked with silencing Houston’s vaunted offense in Game 2. The young left-hander emerged as Brian Snitker’s most trustworthy starter over the course of the season, when he finished 14-7 with a 3.04 ERA across 28 starts. Fried won’t blow anyone away with velocity, but he’s crafty and typically keeps the ball on the ground. Fried’s ground ball rate of 51.8 percent during the regular season ranked near the top of the league among starters.

However, he has scuffled a bit in the postseason. That ground ball percentage has dipped to just 44 percent this month. He took the loss in his most recent outing, as well, as the Dodgers racked up five runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings at his expense in Game 5 of the NLCS. Fried’s postseason ERA of 3.78 is still solid, but Houston is by no means an easier matchup. During the season, the Astros ranked fourth in the league in wOBA (.338), first in wC+ (-117), and fourth in OPS (.788) against left-handed pitching. Houston also posted the lowest team strikeout rate against southpaws (18.3 percent).

Astros

Game 1 certainly didn’t go the way the Astros had hoped. Houston is now 0-4 all-time in Game 1 of the World Series, and Dusty Baker once again had to deal with a short outing from a starting pitcher. This was a familiar refrain early in the ALCS against Boston. Valdez, after pitching eight sparkling innings in his most recent start against the Red Sox, simply didn’t have it against the Braves. Valdez was yanked after yielding five runs on eight hits in just two innings of work.

Fortunately for Baker, his bullpen delivered. Houston’s relievers – Jake Odorizzi, Yimi Garcia, Brooks Raley, Ryne Stanek, and Phil Maton – combined to hold Atlanta to just a run on four hits over the course of the game’s final seven innings. Baker was also able to avoid using either Kendall Graveman or Ryan Pressly, which means his two best bullpen arms will be fresh for Game 2.

Of course, Baker will also be hoping that he won’t have to cycle through as many relievers in this one. Jose Urquidy is set to make his second start of the postseason. In his first outing, he was blasted for six runs on five hits in just 1.2 innings in Game 3 of the ALCS by Boston. Urquidy yielded a grand slam to Kyle Schwarber shortly after Jose Altuve booted what may have been an inning-ending double play. During the season, though, Urquidy was a reliable starter. The right-hander finished 8-3 in 20 starts with a 3.62 ERA. This will also be Urquidy’s second career World Series start, which may help his nerves in this one. Back in 2019 when he was a rookie, Urquidy held the Nationals scoreless on just two hits in five impressive innings of work.

Urquidy’s form will be crucial, but the Astros will also need their best bats to show up. That certainly wasn’t the case in Game 1. Yuli Gurriel, Michael Brantley, and Kyle Tucker combined for seven of the team’s eight hits, while Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman combined to go 0-for-12 with a walk. Altuve looked particularly poor, as he struck out three times for the first time in his legendary postseason career. If the Astros’ biggest stars don’t shine in Game 2, Houston may very well leave town in an 0-2 hole.

Braves vs. Astros MLB Pick

The Braves are playing with house money after pulling the upset in Game 1, which means all of the pressure is now on the Astros. This is the first time in these playoffs that Houston has dropped Game 1 of a series, but this team has enough experience to weather the storm. Altuve, Bregman, and Correa have all played in over 70 postseason games in their respective careers. Let’s not forget the Astros also dropped Game 1 of the 2017 World Series, which they ultimately came back to win in seven games.

I expect Urquidy to fare better than he did in Game 3 of the Boston series, and he’ll pitch well enough to give Houston a chance in this one. Fried doesn’t profile particularly well against this Astros lineup, and he’s coming into this game in shaky form of his own. It will also be interesting to see how Snitker uses his bullpen after his best bullpen arms all featured in last night’s game. AJ Minter is almost surely unavailable after throwing 43 pitches, while Tyler Matzek and Luke Jackson each threw 20.

It’s hard to imagine this series being a quick one with how evenly-matched these teams are. Take Houston to even the series at -117 on the moneyline.

Pick: Astros
Odds: -117
$100 Could Win You...$185

Braves vs. Astros Betting Recap:

  • Oddsmaker: BetOnline
  • Moneylines: Braves +107, Astros -117
  • Runlines: Braves +1.5 (-196), Astros -1.5 (+171)
  • Over/Under: Over 9 runs (-116), Under 9 runs (-104)
  • Prediction: Astros -117
Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...

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