Now facing elimination in their league championship series, Los Angeles and Boston must sweep the remaining games to reach the World Series
The Los Angeles Dodgers should have been eliminated. The best team money can buy would have been swept by the Atlanta Braves in four games were it not for one disastrous inning in Game 3, when the huge underdogs (+200) blew a 5-2 lead and ended up losing the game 6-5. Many fans (and bettors) thought that moment might have been a turning point in this series, which has been dominated by Atlanta. But it wasn't. The Braves hammered the Dodgers exalted pitching and stole Game 4 in Los Angeles. They now lead the National League Championship series 3 games to 2. Last night, the Dodgers rebounded and won Game 5, setting the showdown for two more (possible) games in Atlanta. Game 6 will be played Saturday night
The Boston Red Sox face an identical predicament. After falling behind 2 games to 1, the Astros have rallied and retaken the series lead 3-2. In fact, the Astros have destroyed the Red Sox in the previous two games, outscoring their opponent 18-3. Now, with the series headed back to Houston, the Astros appear to be in a commanding position to return to the World Series for the third time in five years. Game 6 will be played on Friday night.
Oddsmakers like the Braves' and Astros' chances. Here are the latest odds, courtesy of SPREADS.CA:
As for betting, seeing the LA Dodgers at +190 seems almost unbelievable. It's rare to see value attached to such a public team, but this might be the case. No doubt, the Dodgers still have a shutdown pitching staff capable of dominating any opponent. And Los Angeles has been here before, taking a one game playoff versus the St. Louis Cardinals and roaring back in the San Francisco Giants playoff series to win. Our hearts might be with the Braves to upset this team that enjoys all the advantages of a big-market bully. But our heads (and our money) has to be on the Dodgers at this price.
Similarly, seeing the Boston Red Sox priced at +360 looks like a bargain. Yes, Houston is the better team. Yes, Houston plays the last two games at home. Yes, Houston is a pariah for its cheating scandal. Boston stumbled into the playoffs and is just lucky to be here. But in a two-game series anything is possible. Boston is a +155 underdog tonight, and is probably a similar dog in Game 7, assuming they get that far. Nonetheless, Boston's bats certainly make it possible for them to win two games. Like other NL series, in the AL, our money has to be on the dog at this price.