In the words of the immortal Mel Allen, "how about that!" Game 2 was kind to yours truly. With the Rays winning and the over hitting, I've run my series record to 3-1, giving me a 21-16 record here throughout the playoffs. I even said the final score in Game 2 would be 6-3 and that was the score until Corey Seager ruined it with an eighth-inning homer (psst: I won't be soon forgetting that, Corey). The series moves on to Game 3 and our task remains the same: We'll be picking a winner, the over/under and trying to correctly predict one player to hit a home run at strong underdog odds. In the latter case, we hit in Mookie Betts in Game 1 but missed in Game 2.
Let's get to it.
World Series Game 3
L.A. Dodgers -150
Tampa Bay +140 (+1.5)
All lines via William Hill Sportsbook
Dodgers to win
Let's talk about the run line for a second. It's been 1.5 every single game this postseason. Yes, there are one-run wins, but there are a lot more games that are not one-run affairs. The Dodgers are the better team here, so they are likely to be relatively-heavy favorites every single game on the money line. It isn't especially attractive to risk the money betting $150 to win $100, so it's generally popular in picks columns to grab underdogs. But why would I pick a team that I think is going to lose? Value? There might be little value in grabbing a heavy favorite, but there's negative value in losing money by picking a loser. That's bad practice.
I believe the Dodgers are going to win this game. They are better and they ended up making things close in a game 1) they had no business winning and 2) was the Rays' best chance to win a game this series, on paper. The pitching matchup pits two guys who figure to throw very well and the bullpens are strong, so I'm going with the better offense. It's the Dodgers and it's not very close. They hit righties better than lefties, too, and that formula stuck this series so far (they beat a righty in Game 1 and lost to a lefty in Game 2). Given that most games are not one-run games, we'll lay the 1.5 runs to take 'em and it pays +105.
I'm torn. It seems, on the surface, like it'll be low scoring.
Charlie Morton takes the ball for the Rays. He's been nails so far in the postseason. In three starts, he's 3-0 with a 0.57 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 17 strikeouts against four walks in 15 2/3 innings. Few Dodgers (aside from Mookie Betts, a common theme in this series for obvious reasons) have seen him more than two or three plate appearances and those weren't this season.
Walker Buehler is the Dodgers' starter. He dealt with blisters during the regular season, but when he's full go, he's among the best pitchers in baseball. He seems right, at the moment. He's gotten progressively better with each playoff start. In a must-win Game 6 of the NLCS, Buehler went six scoreless innings against a Braves offense that is better than the Rays. He struck out six and didn't walk anyone.
I've mentioned several times in this column through the playoffs that Globe Life Park played as a very pitcher-friendly yard in the regular season and was also the worst home run park.
I made note of the bullpens earlier, but here's where things turn. Seven of the Rays nine runs this series came against the Dodgers' bullpen. Though the Dodgers did more damage against Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell on a per-inning basis, they've also gotten to the Rays bullpen for four runs in eight innings. It's also worth mention that all their damage against Glasnow and Snell came in the fourth and fifth innings. They haven't scored in the first three innings yet this series. This is to say, it seems like once they've gotten a look or two at the quality starting pitching this series, the bats have come alive.
Also, both of the first two games have hit the over and I just feel like 7.5 runs is too low to sit and sweat for nine innings. We're going over. Due to much of what I said above, I wouldn't blame anyone for taking the under, but I'm thinking we again see a slow offensive start with low scoring through the first third of the game before we end up seeing the offensive fireworks.
Bonus: Mookie Betts homers again, +300
I'm going back to the Mookie well after he made me look smart in Game 1.
We've only seen two games so far in the World Series. The eventual champion needs to win three more games, so by no means should anyone be talking MVP. Betts does, however, have a foundation in place for a run at the MVP. He's been on base four out of nine plate appearances (.444 OBP) with a home run, two stolen bases and two runs. I'll say he gets a leg up in the MVP race with another big game here, so the home run bet fits my created narrative. Now make it so, Mookie.