Houston Astros vs. Atlanta Braves Matchup Preview (10/29/21): Betting Odds, Starting Lineups, Daily Fantasy Picks
While the Braves dominated Game 1, the Astros, predictably, bounced back in Game 2. The offense drove in seven runs while Jose Urquidy and the bullpen kept the red-hot Braves at bay.
The biggest news from the first two games is the tragic injury of Charlie Morton. Big Game Chuck should’ve made at least three appearances in this World Series, but his knee injury will limit him to just those 2 1/3 innings.
Morton’s injury drastically changes the trajectory of this season and shifts the balance of power to Houston.
However, I wouldn’t count the Braves out, and they’re playing back in Atlanta on Friday night.
Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros Betting Odds
With Luis Garcia and Ian Anderson pitching tonight, both teams currently sit at -110 on the ML. Meanwhile, the total sits between 8 and 8.5.
It’s incredibly difficult to handicap this game, given how even the starting pitchers, lineups, and bullpens are.
However, I do believe the starting pitchers are slightly overvalued in this matchup. In his three 2021 postseason starts, Garcia has combined to pitch just 9 1/3 innings. Meanwhile, Anderson has combined for only 12 innings in his three 2021 postseason starts.
Despite having a breakout regular season, Garcia has been hammered in the Postseason. And while Anderson has kept runs at bay, his FIP is considerably higher than his ERA.
Both pitchers are in for a challenge today. These are two of the best lineups in baseball against right-handed pitchers. So, I don’t believe we’re in for a pitcher’s duel today, and if either pitcher gets pulled early, there are significant weaknesses in both bullpens.
As such, I believe there’s value in the over in this matchup. The public is heavily betting the under, but everyone is over-factoring the effectiveness of the two starting pitchers. Runs just won’t be at a premium in this game.
Look for a high-scoring affair in Atlanta Friday night.
My pick: Over 8 (-115 at DraftKings)
Houston Astros Starting Lineup
2B Jose Altuve (R)
LF Michael Brantley (L)
3B Alex Bregman (R)
DH Yordan Alvarez (L)
SS Carlos Correa (R)
RF Kyle Tucker (L)
1B Yuli Gurriel (R)
CF Chas McCormick (R)
C Martin Maldonado (R)
P Luis Garcia (R)
Houston Astros Analysis
The Houston win on Wednesday was predictable.
The Astros have been the best team in baseball against southpaws this season. They crushed lefties to the tune of a .788 OPS and a 117 wRC+. And that’s exactly what they did to Max Fried, who allowed six runs over five innings in the rout.
The top of the Astros order is so dangerous, with Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, and Yordan Alvarez all posting big numbers this season. However, if you can shut down those top four guys, it makes the path to victory quite easy.
In Game 1, those four combined to hit 4-for-17, and the Astros had to lean on the back-half of the lineup to generate runs. Predictably, that didn’t work.
Martin Maldonado is a great catcher, but he’s been a complete offensive liability this postseason. The same goes for Chas McCormick, who plays a solid center field but doesn’t contribute much with his bat. Carlos Correa and Kyle Tucker are very dangerous, but they can’t drive in runs if the top of the lineup doesn’t get on base.
So, that’s the formula for how to beat the Astros. The question now is if Ian Anderson can execute it.
Atlanta Braves Starting Lineup
LF Eddie Rosario (L)
1B Freddie Freeman (L)
2B Ozzie Albies (S)
3B Austin Riley (R)
DH Jorge Soler (R)
CF Adam Duvall (R)
RF Joc Pederson (L)
SS Dansby Swanson (R)
C Travis d’Arnaud (R)
P Ian Anderson (R)
Atlanta Braves Analysis
Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman lead the Braves attack, but it’s the supporting cast that makes or breaks games for Atlanta.
Jorge Soler’s leadoff home run in Game 1 was a tone-setter. Eddie Rosario almost single-handedly carried the Braves through the NLCS. Plus, Joc Pederson and Adam Duvall are very dangerous bats in the back half of the lineup.
The Braves’ greatest strength is their depth, and they showed that in the Game 1 victory. Nine Braves batters recorded a hit in the 6-2 win, but that number dropped to six in the Game 2 defeat.
Atlanta’s greatest weakness, however, is the bullpen. While they have three reliable relievers, the staff drops off considerably after them. However, Atlanta may have an advantage in this game, as Brian Snitker didn’t have to pitch Will Smith, Tyler Matzek, Luke Jackson, or A.J. Minter in Game 2.
That may prove massive in this game, especially considering I don’t expect either starter to go deep in this game.
However, I do trust Anderson more than Garcia in Game 3. Anderson has proven himself to be one of the most capable young starters in baseball, and he’s been much more effective than Garcia in this playoff run.
Atlanta Braves vs. Houston Astros Daily Fantasy Corner
It’s tough to project players in this game, as neither lineup has experience against their opposing starting pitcher.
However, these are two fastball-heavy pitchers, and therefore I’d target hitters who crush fastballs.
Yordan Alvarez is most likely the best DFS pick. He’ll have a platoon advantage against the righty Anderson, and he’s posted a .564 SLG and a .613 xSLG on fastballs this season. Plus, he’s been incredibly hot during Houston’s postseason run.
While this is a rather contrarian pick, Freddie Freeman is an easy pick for Game 3. Again, the lefty Freeman will have a platoon advantage against the righty Garcia, and he’s posted a whopping +21 Run-Value on four-seam fastballs this season. Against that pitch, he’s slugged .594 with a ridiculous .448 wOBA.
Plus, Freeman’s biggest advantage is his discipline. Garcia’s relatively controlled, but his 7.9% walk rate puts him in just the 50th percentile among starting pitchers. Meanwhile, Freeman has walked a whopping 11 times in the Braves’ 12 playoff games this season.
If Freeman doesn’t square up to one of Garcia’s fastballs, he should be a lock to get on base.