The first two games of the 2020 World Series featured 21 runs.
The average of 10.5 runs per game should dip in Game 3, with Walker Buehler and Charlie Morton taking the hill for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays, respectively.
They have been two of the most consistent postseason pitchers and could turn Friday's contest into a low-scoring affair. Only one game out of the seven playoff appearances from Morton and Buehler in 2020 produced more than six runs.
If that trend extends into Game 3 on Friday, the game under could be in play as well as the under on prop bets for the first few innings.
Prop Bet Predictions
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
First 5 Innings Under 3.5 (+118)
Total Runs in 1st Inning Under 0.5 (-127)
Buehler and Morton combined to concede five earned runs over 34.2 innings this postseason.
The Dodgers star pitched six scoreless innings in his outing against the Atlanta Braves in NLCS Game 6 and conceded once in the two appearances prior to that game.
The 26-year-old delivered a master class in pitching in the lone World Series start of his career. He gave up two hits in seven scoreless innings versus the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the 2018 Fall Classic.
Rays pitcher Morton allowed two earned runs over 10.2 innings during Houston's run to the title in 2017, which finished with a World Series win over the Dodgers.
The 36-year-old shut out his former team in two ALCS appearances and only allowed seven hits in 10.2 innings in ALCS Games 2 and 7.
With both pitchers in terrific form, it is hard to see the Dodgers or the Rays collecting early runs against either hurler.
The two offenses may have a chance to plate a run or two during their second or third time through the order when the pitchers get tired, but there may not be a third time if Buehler and Morton star for five or six innings.
Charlie Morton: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
Morton has not thrown six full innings in any of his five postseason starts for the Rays. That could change Friday if he keeps his pitch count low in the first few innings. He tossed 66 pitches in 5.2 innings in his last appearance.
In the 2017 World Series, the veteran threw 76 pitches over 6.1 frames and struck out seven Los Angeles batters.
The majority of the Dodgers' starting lineup from that contest should be in the Game 3 lineup. Mookie Betts and Max Muncy are the only two regulars in the 2020 Dodgers team who were not present for that game.
His familiarity with the Dodgers lineup combined with his World Series experience and recent success should allow Morton to feel comfortable for five or six innings.
The Flemington, New Jersey native has a chance to record his highest strikeout total of the postseason since the Dodgers fanned on 26 occasions in Games 1 and 2.
Morton struck out six batters in two of his last three playoff starts, and that total should move up a bit given the Dodgers' propensity to go down on strikes.
Walker Buehler: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
Buehler may have the longer leash of the two hurlers since Tampa Bay removed its starters early in the first two games.
Neither Tyler Glasnow nor Blake Snell made it out of the fifth inning in Games 1 and 2, and Morton has a quintet of five-inning starts in his Rays career.
On the other hand, Buehler lasted at least six innings in five of his 10 postseason appearances, including the NLCS Game 6 win over Atlanta.
His last start against the Braves marked the first time the 26-year-old did not record seven strikeouts in a postseason outing. In the previous nine appearances, he fanned seven or eight batters.
Given his strikeout consistency and potential to last longer on the mound, the right-handed hurler should end up with a larger punchout total than Morton.
If Buehler remains unhittable through the course of his start, the Rays may struggle to put up two or three runs in Game 3.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.
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