World Series updates Dodgers vs. Astros

World Series updates: Dodgers vs. Astros remains favored matchup

The Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in a thrilling seven-game World Series in 2017 and MLB oddsmakers favor those two to face off in the 2021 Fall Classic late next month. The Dodgers are +325 favorites to repeat as champions and the Astros are +475 second-favorites.

LA Dodgers favored betting World Serie MLB

Interesting that Los Angeles is the title favorite considering it may have to play in the NL wild-card game – the Dodgers enter the week second in the NL West, two games behind the Giants. If that holds, Los Angeles would host a red-hot St. Louis Cardinals team in the wild-card game.

The Giants have held sole possession of first place every day since May 31, except for two (the Dodgers were tied with them on Sept. 2 and Sept. 4). The lead hasn’t been larger than 2.5 games since Aug. 18. The Giants just keep on mashing, hitting .278/.362/.492 in September, the second-best OPS in the majors for the month behind the Blue Jays. The Dodgers have allowed the fewest runs in the majors in September and have a 2.77 ERA for the month.

St. Louis, meanwhile, carries a 16-game winning streak into this week. That’s tied for the third-longest win streak of the expansion era (since 1961). It’s the longest in the majors since the Cleveland Indians won 22 straight games to set the Major League record in 2017 (Aug. 24-Sept. 14). The 1916 New York Giants went 27 games without a loss, but had a tie after 12 games into the streak against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Their 16-game win streak is tied with the 1909 Pirates for the third-longest streak in the months of September and October since 1900. The Cardinals have moved their record in September to 20-6, the best record in Major League Baseball. The best September in Cardinals history was 21-4 in both 1930 and 1942, with the current mark (.760) ranking 6th and best since 2002 (21-6, .778). Since the start of the century, the Cardinals’ .570 (341-257) winning percentage in September ranks first among National League teams and second in MLB (New York Yankees, .589).

The Cardinals are off Monday but can clinch the NL’s second wild-card spot on Tuesday at home. The Cards had just a 2.8% chance to make the playoffs on Sept. 7, according to FanGraphs’ playoff odds. Those playoff odds go back historically to the 2014 season. In that span, only one team has made the playoffs after having single-digit odds to do so at any point in September: the 2019 Brewers. They were at 5.6% on Sept. 5, and ended up being the second Wild Card. Despite all that, St. Louis is a +2500 long shot to win the World Series.

Houston was swept at home over the weekend by Oakland, but the Astros really don’t have anything to play for the rest of the way. They are going to win the AL West and host the Chicago White Sox in the ALDS. Houston has scored eight runs during its four-game losing streak, during which it’s batting .160 with 15 walks and 35 strikeouts. The team ERA is 6.34, including 10.38 by the bullpen, which blew two saves in that span.

The Astros’ magic number to win the division remains two, meaning they can’t clinch until Tuesday. Houston is off Monday before opening a three-game series against the Rays at home. Astros third baseman Alex Bregman is batting .303 (30-for-99) with four home runs, 19 RBIs and 13 walks in 27 games since he was reinstated from the IL on Aug. 25.

The White Sox also have nothing to play for in the final week as the team has clinched the AL Central title and can’t change its playoff seeding. Manager Tony La Russa’s biggest challenge is ahead of him. His team isn’t playing its best baseball and is still dealing with injuries, including to starter Carlos Rodon, a key first-half cog. To keep sharp, La Russa even played a recent 14-game stretch against plus-.500 teams like a playoff preview. He challenged his team to prep as if each series were a playoff one. They went 7-7.


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