2022 World Series Betting Preview
And then there were just two. The Philadelphia Phillies continue to defy the odds going from a team that was on the verge of being out of the playoffs, to a wildcard team to a National League champion. Houston, on the other hand, has done everything they were expected to do after sweeping away the Mariners in the ALDS and doing the same to the New York Yankees in the ALCS. Now we have the first-ever World Series meeting between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Houston Astros. It is not, however, their first-ever playoff matchup as the two teams met way back in 1980 in the NLCS when the Astros were still a National League team. Enough history, let’s figure out the present.
Heading to the Betting Window…
#6 Philadelphia (+160) vs. #1 Astros (-185): Let’s start with the Phillies and how they got to this point. The Phillies are 9-2 thus far in the playoffs after sweeping the Cardinals in the wildcard round, beating the favored Braves 3-1 in the ALDS and taking care of the Padres in five games. They are 4-2 on the road and 5-0 at home in the playoffs. With the series set to start on Friday night, the Phillies can line up their rotation, all with a full complement of rest. The Phillies top two starters, Zach Wheeler and Aaron Nola, have combined to go 3-2 in the playoffs thus far. Wheeler, who will likely start the opener, has gone 1-1 with a 1.78 ERA and given up just 10 hits in 25.1 innings of work. Lefty Ranger Suarez will likely start game three against an Astros team that is 42-12 against lefties this season. If the Phillies go with a four-man rotation, Noah Syndergaard seems like the likely starter after going 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA against the Astros while pitching for the Angels this season. The Phillies bullpen has featured four key performers in the playoffs: hard throwing lefty Jose Alvarado, Zach Eflin, David Robertson and Seranthony Dominguez. Alvarado already has three holds in the playoffs and Dominguez has struck out 15 batters in just over 7 innings. He has shown that he can finish games and give the team multiple innings. Elfin has looked much better as a middle reliever than he has as a starter this season. Finally, Robertson has two holds and a save in the playoffs as he seems to have found his form again.
At the plate, the Phillies are hitting .237 as a team but have belted 16 home runs and are averaging 5.2 runs per game. At home, the team has been much tougher, averaging over 7 runs per game and hitting .296 with 12 home runs. Bryce Harper has been nearly unstoppable with a .419 average with five home runs and 11 RBI. Rhys Hoskins also has five home runs and 11 RBI and finished the NLCS with 3 home runs and 6 RBI in the three games in Philadelphia. Kyle Schwarber is also hot coming into the series after hitting .400 with three home runs in the NLCS.
The Astros are playing even better than the Phillies heading into the series. They are 7-0 and have been led by dominant pitching. They have a team ERA of 1.88 in the playoffs thus far and have struck out 11.1 batters per nine innings. Houston’s top two pitchers matchup very well with the Phillies' top-two pitchers. Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez have gone a combined 2-0 in the playoffs with Valdez particularly effective with a 1.42 ERA in two starts. Verlander survived a rough first start to strike out 11 Yankees in six innings in the ALCS opener. Houston can easily go four deep in the World Series with Christian Javier now likely to get the game three start after his dominant performance in game three against New York. The Houston bullpen is as good as any in baseball. They had the best bullpen ERA in the regular season and that has carried over into the playoffs, with a playoff-leading 0.82 ERA. Their bullpen has struck out 42 batters and has a 0.73 WHIP. Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero, Hector Neris and Ryne Stanek all have been used effectively to get to closer Ryan Pressly. The Astros do not possess a left-hander in the bullpen to take on Schwarber or Harper but their righties have been extremely effective.
The Astros are hitting just .227 as a team in the playoffs but have hit 12 home runs in just seven games. SS Jeremy Pena is starting to look like a future superstar with a team-leading three home runs and 22 total bases. Yordan Alvarez, who was dominant in the ALDS, cooled off a bit in the ALCS but still has a team-leading 8 RBI. The one player that has yet to get going in the playoffs has been 2B Jose Altuve. Altuve is hitting .094 without a home run in the playoffs. He has been a perennial prime-time performer for the Astros in the playoffs so one would think his presence will be felt eventually. The Astros have a lineup that can match power with the Phillies and they possess more big-game experience with the likes of Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel in the lineup.
Prediction: In any other year, the 9-2 Phillies would be the hottest team coming into the World Series. This year, however, they are about to square off against an undefeated Houston team. Both teams possess powerful lineups and have been excellent at home in the playoffs. The difference in this series will come down to pitching staff depth. Houston can go four-deep in their rotation and has a bullpen with a more dominant track record. The Phillies will need to out-hit Houston at home as they did with the Padres but the Astros can match them in that department. This is Houston’s fourth World Series appearance since 2017 and it might be their most complete team.
Houstonwill slow down the Phillies and take this series in six games. If you’d like a prop to go along with the World Series winner, look for Altuve to come alive and take the MVP.
*Current Odds to win the league are in parenthesis, courtesy of draftkings.com