MLB World Series Betting: Game 1 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 10/20/2014
Well, here we have the World Series that I correctly projected back in spring training: San Francisco Giants against Kansas City Royals. Uh, NOT! I am stunned this is the Fall Classic matchup. I didn't think San Francisco would beat Washington or St. Louis. I thought Kansas City would get stomped by the Los Angeles Angels, although beating the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS wasn't a shocker. But you will never convince me these are the two best teams in baseball. They are just the two hottest right now.
I feel old knowing that the Royals' last World Series was in 1985, which I remember well. Just say the name Don Denkinger to any Cardinals fan of an appropriate age and watch his or her reaction. The umpire blew a call in Game 6 of that '85 World Series that helped the Royals rally to win that game against St. Louis and then the series in Game 7. Just think how history would have been different had there been replay back then. You can actually bet a Bovada special on whether any play will be overturned after replay this series, with the "over/under" at 1 and over a -175 favorite.
Kansas City is the first team to win its first eight playoff games in a single postseason. It has home-field advantage because of the American League's 5-3 win in the All-Star Game at Minnesota's Target Field. The Royals have a surprising eight home runs in these playoffs after finishing dead last in that category in the regular season. But for the most part these teams are pretty similar, built around defense and pitching instead of being offensively powerful. The Giants were 17th in homers during the year but had three in the clinching Game 5 of the NLCS against the Cardinals. San Francisco had gone homerless in its previous six postseason games. The Giants are going for a third straight even-year World Series title. Only Boston has won three this century.
The Royals and Giants did play three games in August, a Kansas City home sweep by scores of 4-2, 5-0 and 7-4. Alex Gordon was 5-for-10 with two homers and four RBIs against San Francisco. Jarrod Dyson had four hits in five at-bats and four steals. ALCS MVP Lorenzo Cain was 1-for-7 against San Francisco. Pablo Sandoval hit .308 against the Royals. Buster Posey was just 1-for-12.
All odds courtesy of Bovada. Kansas City is -115 on the series line with San Francisco at -105. The two exact series result favorites are each team at 4/1 to win in seven. The longest shot is Giants in a sweep.
Giants at Royals (-105, 6.5)
Both aces are lined up for Tuesday's opener, and weather won't be a factor. Left-hander Madison Bumgarner, the NLCS MVP, starts for San Francisco. He has been spectacular in these playoffs, going 2-1 with a 1.42 ERA and 0.76 WHIP in four starts. He has gone at least seven innings in all four. Bumgarner did pitch in Kansas City on Aug. 8 and took the loss. He allowed four runs and seven hits in eight innings. Billy Butler hit at two-run first-inning homer off him. Infante is 4-for-10 career off Bumgarner. Eric Hosmer, who is hitting .448 with two homers and eight RBIs in these playoffs, hasn't faced him. Norichika Aoki is 0-for-13 off the lefty.
Right-hander James Shields starts for Kansas City, and if he has a big World Series could make himself a few extra million dollars this offseason as a free agent. The Royals want to re-sign him, but I'm not confident they can afford it. The Royals have won all three Shields starts this postseason, but he wasn't sharp in the wild-card game or in his only ALCS start. Shields has a 5.63 ERA in these playoffs and could be very rusty not having pitched since Oct. 10.
One of Shields' best starts of the season was in a 5-0 win over the Giants on Aug. 9. He threw a complete-game four-hitter, striking out five. He allowed only two Giants to reach second base. It was Shields' ninth career shutout and his first since Sept. 9, 2012. Posey is 0-for-4 career off Shields. Hunter Pence is 0-for-11. Gregor Blanco is 4-for-7 with three RBIs.
Key trends: The Giants have won four straight World Series road games. San Francisco is 11-2 in Bumgarner's past 13 after scoring five runs or more in its previous game. San Francisco is 11-5 in Bumgarner's past 16 on the road vs. teams with a winning record. The team is 1-7 in the lefty's past eight Tuesday starts. The Royals have won six straight against left-handers. They are 5-1 in Shields' past six interleague starts. The under is 9-1 in Bumgarner's past 10 on Tuesday. The under is 7-1 in Kansas City's past eight interleague home games vs. lefties. The over is 6-2 in Shields' past eight interleague starts.
Early lean: Having the DH benefits the Giants in the AL park as now Bruce Bochy can use Michael Morse there. He was used solely as a pinch-hitter in the NLCS and had a huge home run in Game 5 to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth. I lean the Giants in the opener (also under) -- they are an incredible 16-5 in playoff road games since 2010 -- and San Francisco in six games for the series. That probably means the Royals win it since that's how my luck has been in these playoffs.
Doc's Sports is offering $60 worth of member's picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please for any handicapper and any sport on Doc's Sports Advisory Board list of expert sports handicappers. Click here for more details and take advantage of this free $60 picks credit today .
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping
- 2021 AL Central Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 NL West Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 NL East Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 AL West Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 NL Central Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 AL East Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 Minnesota Twins Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
- 2021 Chicago White Sox Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
- 2021 Detroit Tigers Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
- 2021 Kansas City Royals Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series