Astros vs. Braves best bets, props for World Series Game 2: Will Yuli Gurriel homer in Houston?

HOUSTON — Game 1 delivered, at least for three innings, and now it’s time for Game 2 of the 2021 World Series between the Braves and Astros from Minute Maid Park. An oddity: The Astros have now lost five straight home World Series games. Does that matter for Game 2? Hmmm … 

As has been and will continue to be the case, I’m doing the game picks over on SportsLine. I’ve gone 20-9-1 thus far in the playoffs — and that was after an 0-1-1 (moneyline and over/under pick) start in the AL Wild Card Game — so hop on over there and subscribe

In this space, we’ll focus on props, the over/under and other fun. We nailed under 8.5 runs by the skin of our teeth in the 6-2 final score in Game 1, so let’s keep the good times rolling. 

All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

Latest Odds:

Houston Astros

Over 8.5, -120

Foremost in the discussion here is that both teams had to use so much bullpen in Game 1. Framber Valdez was rocked and forced Dusty Baker’s hand while Charlie Morton suffered a fractured fibula and had to exit three batters later. No typos there. Rock on, Charlie.

On the Braves’ side, surely they have to avoid A.J. Minter while Luke Jackson and Tyler Matzek could be compromised. Max Fried gets the start and he’s regressed in each of his last two playoff starts. His career high in professional innings (regular season and postseason combined) before this year was 169 2/3. He’s at 182 1/3 and counting and that’s after the COVID-abbreviated 2020 season. Plus, the Astros wear out lefty starters. 

On the other side, José Urquidy was brutal in his lone postseason start, getting shelled in less than two innings by the Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS. Dusty Baker was savvy enough to balance keeping it somewhat close without burning his two best relievers, but he still used Phil Maton, Ryne Stanek and Brooks Raley enough to worry they could be gotten to in Game 2. 

As I often do, we’ll lay out a hypothetical score: 5-4 gets us home here. That’s very reasonable. 

Max Fried under 4.5 strikeouts, -137

As noted, I think Fried is running out of gas after an exceptional run in August and September, looping in his Game 2 NLDS start against the Brewers. We won the over with ease on his strikeout total in that game and we’ll go opposite here. He only struck out three Dodgers in 4 2/3 innings last time out and it was five in his first start that series when he was pretty good. He’s not a high-volume strikeout guy as it is and the Astros are one of the hardest teams to strikeout in baseball. If we’re counting on the over and the Astros getting to Fried, it means he doesn’t last long enough to get to five strikeouts. 

Look, we have to realize hitting on a home run is incredibly difficult. When it happens, though, it’s so glorious. Look at these long odds on Gurriel, who isn’t a power hitter. He does, however, wear lefties out. He hit .326/.394/.530 against southpaws this season, hitting eight of his 15 homers against them despite having almost 170 fewer at-bats than against righties. He had some good swings in Game 1 and missed a home run by just a foot or so. Let’s see him clear that foot in Game 2.  

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