World Series 2021: Latest Bracket Results, Odds and Predictions

·4 min read
Houston Astros' Alex Bregman celebrates with Carlos Correa after scoring on a double by Yordan Alvarez during the first inning in Game 6 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Houston Astros' Alex Bregman celebrates with Carlos Correa after scoring on a double by Yordan Alvarez during the first inning in Game 6 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Atlanta and the Houston Astros will face off for the first time in the World Series.

The former National League rivals played each other in earlier rounds of the postseason, but they have not met in the Fall Classic since the Astros moved over to the American League.

Houston is making its third World Series appearance in five years. The squad that advanced to this year's Fall Classic looks much different than the ones from 2017 and 2019.

Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander are not walking through the door to pitch Game 1. Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia are the team's top pitchers. They looked like aces in their last starts against the Boston Red Sox, and they need to replicate those appearances to shut down Atlanta's bats.

Atlanta is back in the World Series for the first time since 1999. The NL East champion has been a regular playoff participant over the last few years, but this is the first time it has broken through over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

World Series Schedule

Game 1: Tuesday, October 26: Atlanta at Houston (Fox)

Game 2: Wednesday, October 27: Atlanta at Houston (Fox)

Game 3: Friday, October 29: Houston at Atlanta (Fox)

Game 4: Saturday, October 30: Houston at Atlanta (Fox)

Game 5: Sunday, October 31: Houston at Atlanta (Fox)

Game 6: Tuesday, November 2: Atlanta at Houston (Fox)

Game 7: Wednesday, November 3: Atlanta at Houston (Fox)

World Series Odds

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Houston (-135; bet $135 to win $100)

Atlanta (+115; bet $100 to win $115)

Prediction

Houston over Atlanta in 6

Houston's superior regular-season record allowed it to gain home-field advantage in the World Series.

That is a critical factor that helps some of the team's young pitchers who are expected to kick off the Fall Classic.

Valdez should be penciled in to be the Game 1 starter. He will likely oppose Atlanta's Max Fried or Charlie Morton.

Whichever one of Fried and Morton does pitch on Tuesday, the other will likely go on Wednesday since Ian Anderson started the series-clinching NLCS Game 6 on Saturday.

Valdez and Garcia have the potential to neutralize the impact of Atlanta's top two starters, if they pitch the way they did at the end of the ALCS.

Valdez hurled eight fantastic innings in Game 5 at Fenway Park and Garcia conceded one hit over 5.2 innings in Game 6.

If Valdez and Garcia concede minimal hits in their starts again, they could make Houston the pitching staff that finally cools down Atlanta's bats.

Atlanta produced a .260 team batting average in the NLCS, and the key to beating it is slowing down Eddie Rosario's hot bat.

Rosario had three home runs and nine RBI to go along with his 14 NLCS hits. He could single-handedly put Atlanta in a good position to capture the title after two games.

The Houston pitching staff has more familiarity with Rosario than any other Atlanta player because of his team with Cleveland.

The same could be said about containing Jorge Soler's bat. Soler spent the bulk of his career with the Kansas City Royals before leaving for Atlanta at the trade deadline.

Little intricacies, like that, could play a major role in the series because there is little familiarity with each other.

On the other hand, Rosario and Soler's experience in Houston could help ease whatever nerves Atlanta faces. Morton has also pitched in the World Series recently with the Astros.

Morton's World Series experience should be beneficial to Atlanta in whichever game he starts at Minute Maid Park. He will be on extended rest after he started in NLCS Game 3.

If the series is close, Houston could hold the slight edge with its bullpen. None of Houston's high-leverage relievers gave up multiple earned runs in the ALCS.

Valdez, Garcia and Houston's other starters just have to go five or six innings before Ryne Stanek, Phil Maton, Kendall Graveman and Ryan Pressly take over.

Atlanta's bullpen was strong as well, but Luke Jackson displayed some flaws. Jackson gave up five earned runs in the NLCS.

Tyler Matzek was impressive in NLCS Game 6, but he gave up two earned runs in his appearances against the Dodgers.

If Houston chips away at Atlanta's bullpen, it could gain the small edge necessary to secure the franchise's second World Series crown in five years.

Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.

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