Dodgers hold the aces in Houston showdown
Fresher players and home advantage to prove key
BT Sport 1, 1am Tuesday night
The World Series starts in the early hours of Wednesday and the LA Dodgers are odds-on to beat the Houston Astros and take the Fall Classic.
The Dodgers won 104 games in the regular season, an excellent achievement, and their underlying stats back up that high number of wins. They have cruised through the playoffs, losing just one game in reaching the World Series.
They whitewashed Arizona in the Division Series, and even more impressively they beat champions the Chicago Cubs 4-1 in the Championship Series.
Few would dispute that the best pitcher in baseball over the last five years has been Clayton Kershaw, and the Dodgers' first-choice starting pitcher will be fresh as a daisy for game one.
Due to their smooth progress he has started only three times in the playoffs - last year at the same stage he had been put to work on five occasions - and the Dodgers will be able to lean heavily on him in his first appearance in the World Series, in all likelihood bringing him back on short rest if necessary.
Their offence has also been terrific in the post-season, improving their regular-season average of 4.75 runs per game to six, which is impressive considering the improved quality of pitching they have faced.
The Astros' regular season was almost as good as they won 101 games and finished well clear of the rest in the AL West.
They have shown resilience in the playoffs, coming back from 3-2 in the Championship series to win 4-3, but they have had to dig deep.
They also have some of the best players in the game - second baseman Jose Altuve is favourite to win the AL MVP award - and their bullpen is rated the third-best in baseball on fielding-independent pitching stats.
However, as the top seeds the Dodgers are scheduled to have home advantage in four of the possible seven games and, just as importantly, they play the first two games in front of their own fans.
As good as the Astros are, this is a special Dodgers team and, although a series against Houston is tougher than LA’s playoff tests so far, the men from California look likely to take the glory and lift their first title since 1988.
LA Dodgers to win World Series
2pts 4-6 Sky Bet
Game One: Tuesday, October 24: Astros at Dodgers
Game Two: Wednesday, October 25: Astros at Dodgers
Game Three: Friday, October 27: Dodgers at Astros
Game Four: Saturday, October 28: Dodgers at Astros
Game Five: Sunday, October 29: Dodgers at Astros
Game Six: Tuesday, October 31: Astros at Dodgers
Game Seven: Wednesday, November 1: Astros at Dodgers
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