MLB Playoffs 2020: Updated World Series Odds Before NLCS Game 7

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistOctober 18, 2020

Tampa Bay Rays starting starting pitcher Charlie Morton pitches against the Houston Astros during the first inning in Game 7 of a baseball American League Championship Series, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

The lone franchise qualified for the World Series entering Sunday is viewed as the favorite to win the Fall Classic.

The Tampa Bay Rays possess lower odds than the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers, who will do battle Sunday in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series to determine the World Series matchup.

Tampa Bay did not make advancing to the World Series easy on itself, blowing a 3-0 lead over the Houston Astros before bouncing back to win Game 7 of the American League Championship Series behind Charlie Morton.

Morton's World Series experience and the red-hot hitting of Randy Arozarena could be two of the factors that drive Tampa Bay to its first championship regardless of which team it faces.


World Series Odds

Tampa Bay: +120 (bet $100 to win $120)

Los Angeles Dodgers: +160

Atlanta: +330


Tampa Bay confirmed its position in the World Series on Saturday behind a masterpiece from Morton.

The right-handed hurler allowed two hits in 5.2 scoreless innings while striking out six Houston Astros. In three postseason starts in 2020, Morton conceded a single earned run over 15.2 innings.

The Rays would likely have Morton available for Games 3 and 7 based off the rest days built into the World Series schedule. In 2017, Morton pitched in Games 4 and 7 to help the Astros secure their first World Series title. He would likely follow Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell to the mound.

Glasnow should start Game 1 on full rest, while Snell could take the ball for Game 2 since he would have four days of rest between appearances Friday and Wednesday.

In the ALCS, Tampa Bay's top three starters allowed seven earned runs on 24 hits over 25.2 innings. If they pitch well in the World Series, the Rays could be in a good position heading into Game 4, just like they were against Houston.

But the Rays could face a tougher matchup against the NL champion since the Braves and Dodgers had the two best lineups during the regular season. That has been reflected through the six NLCS games, as the two teams have combined for 65 runs. The Dodgers are on 35 runs, and the Braves have had 30 runners cross the plate.

If the Rays face the Dodgers, they have to limit the long ball. Los Angeles hit 14 NLCS home runs, led by five out of Corey Seager.

Tampa Bay mashed three fewer home runs in the ALCS. Arozarena led the team with four home runs. He also had nine hits, six runs and six RBI on his way to being named ALCS Most Valuable Player.

If they are forced into high-scoring games, the Rays may have some trouble keeping up with Atlanta or Los Angeles, especially if the NL champion tries to win games with its power. Although Atlanta and Los Angeles are level in the NLCS, the Dodgers have a significant advantage on the World Series odds chart.

Were the Braves to come out on top Sunday, their odds will drop to be closer to those of the Rays. And if you believe rookie Ian Anderson can shut down the Dodgers lineup for a second time, Atlanta is worth the wager.

Anderson has been perfect in his first postseason, pitching 15.2 shutout innings. If he keeps the Dodgers off balance and throws five or six strong innings, Atlanta could use its top bullpen arms to finish off the win.

Atlanta put up 23 runs in its three NLCS victories, but it is also capable of winning low-scoring affairs—like it did in the first two rounds against the Cincinnati Reds and Miami Marlins.

The Braves' adaptability to different types of contests could play in their favor if they advance and become locked in pitching duels with the Rays.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.