The Houston Astros are slight betting favorites to beat the Atlanta Braves in the 2021 World Series. While Houston had the much better regular season before winning its third American League pennant in five years, Atlanta has what it takes to win its first championship in 26 years.

Houston enters Game 1 with -150 betting odds to win the Fall Classic, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Braves are +125 underdogs.

The Astros won the AL West with a 95-67 record, giving them the AL’s No. 2 seed. The Braves won their fourth NL East title in a row, but their 88-73 record gave Atlanta the fewest wins of any MLB playoff team.

Both teams needed four games to win the division series and six games in the championship series.

The top offense in all of baseball carried Houston to another World Series. The Astros have scored at least five runs in nine of their 10 postseason games, averaging 6.7 runs per game. Houston is hitting .281/.353/.443 in the playoffs.

The Braves have only scored 4.0 runs per game with .250/.319/.407 splits. Facing tough Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers pitching staffs, Atlanta relied on its pitching staff to make the franchise’s first World Series appearance in over two decades.

Atlanta’s 3.41 ERA in the playoffs is more than a full run better than that of Houston’s staff. The Braves have a much more reliable rotation, which could prove to be the difference in the final series of the year.

Charlie Morton will be Atlanta’s Game 1 starter. The veteran has allowed exactly two runs in all three of his playoff starts and last surrendered more than three runs on Aug. 24. Morton has made 15 career playoff starts, including as a member of Houston’s rotation in 2017 and 2018. 

Morton, Max Fried and Ian Anderson have combined for a 3.27 ERA in 43 innings. 

Framber Valdez gets the call for the Astros in Game 1. The left-hander bounced back from a couple of bad outings to pitch eight brilliant innings of one-run ball in Game 5 of the ALCS. Valdez had a 3.14 ERA, better than Morton’s 3.34 ERA, in the regular season.

The injury to Lance McCullers Jr. will leave the Astros without their ace. Luis Garcia, Jose Urquidy, and Zack Greinke are candidates to make World Series starts. Urquidy gave up five runs in 1.2 innings in his one playoff start. Astros manager Dusty Baker doesn’t seem to have much trust in Greinke, who’s only thrown 2.1 postseason innings. 

Garcia pitched 5.2 shutout innings in the ALCS clincher. He allowed 10 runs in 3.2 postseason innings before that start. 

Neither team has a clear edge in the bullpen. Houston’s relievers have a 3.42 ERA this postseason. Atlanta’s bullpen has a 3.56 ERA.

Maybe the Astros’ lineup will lead them to another series victory. Jose Altuve is an all-time great playoff performer. Yordan Alvarez is the hottest hitter on either team with a 1.329 OPS in 34 at-bats. Yuli Gurriel and Michael Brantley finished first and second, respectively, in the race for the batting title.

Atlanta’s lineup doesn’t have nearly the same star power without Ronald Ocuna Jr., but it is plenty dangerous. Eddie Rosario is hitting .474 in 38 playoff at-bats. Joc Pederson has three key postseason homers. Adam Duvall and Jorge Soler both slugged over .500 after being traded to the Braves. Freddie Freeman and Austin Riley are Atlanta’s best hitters and should be top-10 MVP finishers.

The Braves have already pulled off two upsets this postseason, and they are well-positioned to pull off a third.

Series Prediction: Braves in seven

TV Schedule

Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 26, Braves at Astros, 8 p.m. ET (FOX)

Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 27, Braves at Astros, 8 p.m. ET (FOX)

Game 3: Friday, Oct. 29, Astros at Braves, 8 p.m. ET (FOX)

Game 4: Saturday, Oct. 30, Astros at Braves, 8 p.m. ET (FOX)

Game 5: Sunday, Oct. 31, Astros at Braves, 8 p.m. ET (FOX)*

Game 6: Tuesday, Nov. 2, Braves at Astros, 8 p.m. ET (FOX)*

Game 7: Wednesday, Nov. 3, Braves at Astros, 8 p.m. ET (FOX)*

*If necessary

Atlanta's Jorge Soler hits a double during the eighth inning in the Braves 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers to wrap up their NLCS series in six games Atlanta's Jorge Soler hits a double during the eighth inning in the Braves 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers to wrap up their NLCS series in six games Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Kevin C. Cox