World Series expert picks — will Dodgers or Astros win it all?
With the series starting Tuesday in L.A. (8 p.m. ET, Fox), we asked 35 of our experts to give their predictions: World Series winner, how many games and MVP.
Here’s a breakdown of their answers along with some more insights on why some of them made their picks.
World Series winner
Dodgers 22, Astros 13
Dodgers in 7 — 7
Dodgers in 6 — 14
Dodgers in 5 — 1
Astros in 7 — 4
Astros in 6 — 8
Astros in 5 — 1
Dave, why are you picking the Dodgers to win the series?
The Dodgers enter the series rested and ready and playing the same excellent baseball they played most of the summer. Manager Dave Roberts always has a plan: not too deep with his starting pitchers and then give the ball to Kenta Maeda, Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen, who have combined to allowed five hits in 21⅓ innings in the postseason. That late-game trio gives them the edge over the Astros. — David Schoenfield, ESPN senior writer
Sarah, you not only picked the Astros, but you also chose them in five. Why do you think Houston will get it done that quickly?
The Astros have momentum in their favor — and I think it’ll play a strong role. The Dodgers’ pennant-clinching victory was convincing, but it happened a while ago. Since 2006, the World Series participant that clinched the pennant first has gone on to win the Fall Classic only once — the 2008 Phillies. — Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information
Bradford, the Dodgers are the favorites according to our experts. What do you think gives them the edge in this series?
The Yankees showed in the ALCS that the Astros’ dynamic offense can be pitched to. Houston is an elite contact-hitting team (in a 2017 context), but the Dodgers, especially when their relievers are on the mound, have combined terrific defense with soft contact from opponents. I’m also concerned about the collective workload of the Houston pitching staff because the Astros have played three more postseason games than L.A. As amazing as Justin Verlander has been, he enters the World Series with 230 innings pitched, including the playoffs.
Finally, given the Astros’ lack of a reliable bullpen lefty and the depth of a Dodgers bullpen that is firing on all cylinders, I like L.A.’s ability to match up in the late innings, and I especially like the edge that Jansen enjoys over Ken Giles. I see this as a four-save/seven-inning series for Jansen, earning him the MVP. — Bradford Doolittle, ESPN staff writer
Andrew, you just saw the Astros beat the Yankees in the ALCS. What makes you think they can finish the job in the World Series?
With Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel pitching on the road, the Astros will pick off a game or two on the road. Then they will take care of business at home, where they are so tough. — Andrew Marchand, ESPN senior writer
Sam, who are you picking to win it all?
These two great teams are so evenly matched that I’m not confident the difference between them would show up in a best-of-163-game series, let alone best of seven. Given the benefits of home field and the extra days of rest and rotation-setting, the Dodgers start with small edges. By the time the Series goes back to Houston, those edges might well have flipped. – Sam Miller, ESPN Senior Writer
Justin Turner — 7
Clayton Kershaw — 6
Jose Altuve — 6
Kenley Jansen — 3
Cody Bellinger — 3
Carlos Correa — 3
Yasiel Puig — 2
Corey Seager — 1
Justin Verlander — 1
Dallas Keuchel — 1
Josh Reddick — 1
George Springer — 1
Tim, you’re one of two people to pick Yasiel Puig as the series MVP. Why is he your pick?
Puig will be the World Series MVP because the sheer volume of his contributions will be impossible to ignore. He will do something, maybe several somethings, to enrage just about everyone over the course of the series, but he will also save several runs with his glove and his arm. He will continue his yearlong penchant for big hits late in games, and he will demand attention because, whether you find him endearing or enraging, the camera is the one thing that loves him unconditionally. — Tim Keown, ESPN senior writer
Mark, your MVP (Josh Reddick) is probably the mostly unlikely pick. What makes you think Reddick will be the most valuable in the series?
Reddick has multiple incentives to be a great player in this series. For one thing, he had an awful ALCS at the plate, and he’s a better player than he’s shown. Two, he told reporters that the Dodgers fan base didn’t treat him well when he was there last season. Whether that’s true or not is hard to assess, but what’s most important is that he’s got some extra motivation beyond winning a title. If he channels it right, he could be a star. I’ll say he does and wins MVP. — Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information
Steve, you decided to go with rookie Cody Bellinger for you MVP. Why are you picking him in his first World Series?
Bellinger’s 2017 OPS (.933) was second on the Dodgers only to Justin Turner’s .945; he hits lefties as well as righties; and, even though he’s a rookie, he’s remarkably loose. He’s also been to the World Series before: His dad, Clay, played for the Yankees in 2000 and 2001. — Steve Wulf, ESPN senior writer
Sarah, why Jose Altuve for World Series MVP?
I’m picking Altuve for World Series MVP because I think he will carry this team — as he has done throughout the postseason. When they’ve been winning, he’s played a huge role. If he picks up that honor, then takes the AL MVP award in November, he’ll be the first player since Mike Schmidt in 1980 to win World Series MVP and his league’s MVP award in the same season. It’s happened five times total. — Langs