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MLB odds World Series Game 1: Expert picks, how to bet Braves vs. Astros

26th October, 22:56

Well, baseball fans, we're facing a little bit of a good news, bad news situation. The awesome news, of course, is that it's time for the 2021 World Series, featuring the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves.

The bad news, as you probably guessed, is that we only have seven games of baseball left this season at the absolute max. Savor the moment; we might even only have four games remaining!

So let's cut to the chase. You have bets you want to make. I have the information you need. And to help you make the most of your wagers, the FOX Sports gambling team asked me five questions about Game 1 of the 2021 World Series (7:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, FOX).

I was more than happy to oblige. Here's what you need to know to place the best -- and most fun! -- bets on Game 1, from the spread to props and the over/under (with all odds via FOX Bet).

1. This is it. The Fall Classic. The whole enchilada on the line. A best-of-seven series for all the marbles. Who you got in Game 1, and by how many runs?

Wait, we've got enchiladas, marbles and baseball, bruh?!?! Now, that truly is a Fall Classic.

The World Series is just that: a series. There are going to be so many things happening and stories to be written as the games play out, I can't wait! Every at-bat, every ground ball, every questionable call ... man, I love baseball.

Obviously, Eminem has nothing to worry about as I write lyrics (or spit bars, like the kids say). Anyway, let's make some plays on the game. Game 1, I like the Braves. Like Bob Barker used to say, the price is right, and I have Big Game Charlie Morton on the bump.

And although it's tough enough to pick the winner, I will say Braves by more than one.

PICK: Braves to win outright (+115 at FOX Bet; bet $10 to win $21.50 total)

PICK: Braves (-1.5) to cover the alternative run line (+187 at FOX Bet; bet $10 to win $28.70 total)

2. Now, let's say that I very, very rarely gamble on baseball. Maybe I've never bet on an MLB game in my life. But if I want to place a bet that will be the most FUN for me to root for throughout the game, what would be your pick and why?

Some of the most fun bets I have ever seen are bets that are not "great" bets, math-wise or +EV -- bets that make the math guys go crazy. During the NCAA Basketball tourney, for example, I have seen groups of people root for the race to 15 points, and they were having a blast. Overs are always way more fun to root than under, too.

You want a fun one tonight? Play the "Race to 3 runs," and get ready for a ride. You don't know when it's coming, you don't know which team will do it, but you will be dialed in and watching every pitch hoping for a walk, a bloop and a blast. I'd think the Braves would be the pick here, if for no other reason than they hit first as the visitor.

3. Speaking of fun, we're sure you have some wild stories from your 20-plus years behind the counter as an oddsmaker. What's your favorite World Series betting story that you've witnessed?

There are so many, and there will be a time and a place for all of them (or maybe a book), but if I have to go with one for you and the editors, it's the Cubs' World Series run in 2016.

I was working at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas at the time, but it might as well have been Wrigleyville. Every game leading up to the Series was Cubs fans, and they showed up with money and gear. Then the Series was just incredible. It didn't matter what we had the price at, they just kept betting the Cubs.

Game 7 was so tense -- the rain delay, then the win -- and we were cashing tickets for days. I will never forget the atmosphere and excitement from the fans, let alone the stories of people who didn't even want to cash their Cubs futures so they could save their tickets.

Man, the copy machine got a work out for weeks, and I still hear the Cubs song in my dreams!

4. Back to wagers. You already gave us your thoughts on the World Series MVP race. What's the prop bet that you like the most on the board in Game 1?

I am so interested in the matchup between Charlie Morton and the Astros lineup. He knows them, and they know him.

I tend to side with the pitcher more than the hitter in these things, and I really think Morton gets over 4.5 strikeouts. The price here is -143 (bet $10 to win $17 total), which is fine with me. If you like that and you think the Braves will win, you can do the Big Game Charlie boost at +225, but that price is a little light for my liking, and you need the Braves to win.

I think we get a quality start out of Big Game Charlie -- some swings and misses and over 4.5 strikeouts from the Astros lineup with Morton in the game.

PICK: Atlanta's Charlie Morton OVER 4.5 strikeouts in Game 1

5. In the past 10 World Series Game 1s, an average of 8.4 runs have been scored by both teams combined. Six of those 10 games have had nine or more total runs scored. Naturally, tonight's over/under is 8 runs. With these two teams, are we going to get a pitchers' duel, an offensive slugfest, or something in the middle?

Betting the under in games in Houston is going to be tough for me. That said, my oddsmaker friends did a good job with this number, because it gives you pause whichever way you want to bet it. If it were lower, you'd get way more over bets. Go up to 9, and you write way more unders.

Would it surprise me to see an NL-type, low-scoring, 3-2 game in Houston? ... yes, especially because of the home run pop in both lineups one through nine. And I think both pitchers are susceptible to giving up a long fly. It might be more something in the middle, but I am leaning over for Game 1.

Dave Sharapan is a longtime oddsmaker who spent 20-plus years in sportsbooks around the world. He is a current sports betting analyst, writer and sports bettor himself with Pittsburgh roots who lives in Las Vegas and has more hats than he possibly can count. You can follow him on Twitter @SportsbkConsig.

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