Wednesday, March 22 2023

By Edward Egros
FOX Sports MLB Betting Analyst

Class, the time has come for your final exam: the World Series. Nothing gets better than this.

Hopefully, you’ve studied hard this season, learned new tools and made a few extra bucks in the process. Remember to keep your eyes on your own papers for this last stretch because we’re going to go over Game 6, the overall series and some Super 6 fun. 

The Astros have taken control of the series after a brilliant performance by pitcher Justin Verlander. Can they close it out?

Let’s jump in with my best bets and some Super 6 picks, with odds, of course, courtesy of FOX Bet!

Justin Verlander shares a heartfelt moment with his brother after picking up first career World Series win

Houston Astros’ Justin Verlander shares a heartfelt moment with his brother Ben Verlander. 

RELATED: How Astros turned tables on Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies


Houston Astros


Philadelphia Phillies (Wheeler) at Houston Astros (Valdez), 8:03 p.m. ET Saturday, FOX and FOX Sports App

Much was made over the Phillies stranding 12 runners in Game 5 on Thursday. What I think is more relevant to information for betting Game 6 was how the home team, with the highest isolated power this postseason (.193), could have an expected batting average nearly 100 points higher in Game 5 but lose. The Phillies had just one extra-base hit after leading the postseason in them.

The goal was to get Phillies hitters to chase, with an emphasis on going outside to right-handed hitters. What they knew was this season, when pitches are outside the zone, Phillies hitters rank 17th in expected on-base percentage (.359) while the Astros are better at .372.

Now, the Astros can send Framber Valdez to the mound again to try and prove that difference one more time. The Astros pitcher struck out nine hitters in 6 1/3 innings of work, allowing just one earned run on four hits. Valdez is the ground-ball pitcher to end all ground-ball pitchers, keeping nearly 40% of his pitches down and in to right-handed hitters. Given the makeup, Valdez seems like the perfect pitcher to highlight a weakness that Phillies sluggers exhibited Thursday and end this series ASAP.

To make matters worse for Philadelphia, starting pitcher Zack Wheeler reportedly has some arm fatigue. Manager Rob Thomson said Ranger Suárez would be available in relief for Game 6, so Aaron Nola could go Game 7. Arm fatigue does not mean he cannot have dominant stuff, but it could mean the moment there’s a sign of trouble, Wheeler will not have the chance to get through it. Suárez will have only had three days’ rest, so do not expect him to eat up a lot of innings either.

There does not seem to be a lot of hope for the Phillies when it comes to pitching and hitting, and aside from Nick Castellanos’ diving catches this World Series, the defense has not performed well all season. While I felt like there was value in Game 7, now may be the time to hedge that bet if you took it and take the Astros and lay the run (+105 on FOX Bet). However, my MVP bets are still in play, and the favorites are in the hunt, so to double down, any bets involving Jose Altuve to have a hit and/or a run are fantastic here.

PICK: Astros to win by more than 1 run (-1 run line, +105 at FOX Bet, bet $10 to win $20.50)

PICK: Jose Altuve to have a hit and/or run at FOX Bet

Another way to earn a good grade is by answering the FOX Bet Super 6 question-and-answer portion of the class. Here are my tips to help you win some money.

Super 6 Contest Picks

How many total runs will be scored in the game?

At last check, the total on FOX Bet is seven, shaded to the under (-120 vs. +100). Add the runs lines and the market seems to think Houston will win the clincher 4-3. However, Wheeler’s arm fatigue is a mystery, and the Phillies have seen Valdez before. I’m more comfortable with 8-9 runs being scored so that extra outcome can cover more paths to success.

Which team will throw the most strikeouts and how many will they have?

Even though Valdez recorded nine strikeouts in his last outing, the Phillies may adjust by swinging more for contact. That adjustment should limit the number of K’s. I’m picking the Phillies with an average number of nine.

Which team will have the most hits and how many will they have?

If the winning ball club has five-six runs, they’ll certainly have at least one-two home runs and enough singles and doubles to string together the remaining hits. It may seem like a smaller number, but I’ll take eight.

Which team will have the most combined individual baserunners left on base and how many will they have?

If the Phillies had trouble plating runs last game, that trend might continue against a ground-ball pitcher. Perhaps the faster hitters will beat out throws to first, but this hitting lineup is not equipped for small ball. They can draw walks, but the Phillies will leave nine baserunners stranded.

Which team will have the most at-bats and how many will they have?

27 at-bats for the Astros plus the eight hits I expect them to have gets me to Houston with 35.

Which team will win and by how many runs?

Once again, I am hedging my seven-game bet from earlier and saying the Astros will clinch their second world championship in franchise history. They will win by two runs.

Class dismissed!

Edward Egros is a sports analytics broadcaster/writer, a sports betting analyst, a data scientist and an adjunct professor of statistics at Pepperdine University. These passions have led him to become a cold brew aficionado. Edward previously worked in local television, notably at the Fox affiliate in Dallas covering the Rangers, Cowboys and high school football.  Follow him on Twitter @EdWithSports. 

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Source: FOX Sports


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