Three ways to play Phillies-Astros in World Series Game 1: Best Bets for Oct. 28

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Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Championship Series between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Friday, Oct. 28:

TOP PLAY

The play: World Series Game 1, Aaron Nola OVER 5.5 strikeouts

The odds/bet: -110 ($33 to win $30)

The book: BetMGM

Time/TV: 8:03 p.m. (Fox)

Our take: The Phillies ran roughshod through the National League playoffs on the strength of the top half of their lineup — Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper have taken turns playing the hero — but if they’re going to win the World Series, it might need to be by winning low-scoring games.

Enter Nola, and Zack Wheeler, who will start Game 2 on Saturday. Philly wants to ride its top starting pitchers as much as possible to compete with Houston’s deep roster of talented arms.

That means Nola will have a long leash in this one, and he has at least six Ks in all three of his playoff outings thus far, even in a poor start against the Padres his last time out.

Houston strikes out less than all MLB teams except one (Cleveland), so it won’t be easy, but there’s still value in the number. Ironically, the Phillies and Astros played the final series of the regular season against each other, and Nola started the first game. He struck out nine in 6⅔ shutout innings, with all nine Ks against batters who will be in the lineup tonight.

VERLANDER GETS THE DUB

The play: World Series Game 1, Justin Verlander to earn the win

The odds/bet: +215 ($10 to win $21.50)

The book: DraftKings

Our take: This one was pointed out on Twitter by our pal @MaidenFocus, who rightly recognized some serious value. The Astros are -165 to -170 favorites to win the game, but Verlander is +215 to record a win?

Of course, Houston could win the game late — or not win it all — but those numbers don’t jibe, especially when you consider Verlander’s total outs prop is listed at 17½. If he pitches into the sixth inning as that number suggests, you’re getting much better value with this prop than you are simply betting the Astros.

NRFI

The play: World Series Game 1, no runs first inning

The odds/bet: -140 ($14 to win $10)

The book: Caesars Sportsbook

Our take: Sticking with the theme here, we’re going with the increasingly popular No Runs First Inning bet. Caesars has the best odds on the market for this side.

There’s a bit of risk involved because of how good the top halves of these lineups are compared to the bottom halves, but the pitching warrants it. We’ve already gone over Nola’s good numbers against Houston in that final regular-season series. Verlander did the same to the Phillies on the final day of the season, striking out 10 in five shutout innings.

The circumstances are much different in the World Series, of course, and Verlander has struggled in his two postseason starts, but neither of these pitchers allows many baserunners. Barring an early homer, this thing could stay scoreless for quite a while.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Thursday’s best bets

NFL: Ravens-Bucs UNDER 46 (LOST $33)

NFL: Leonard Fournette OVER 50.5 yards rushing (LOST $10.90)

Thursday’s profit/loss: -$43.90 (0-2)

Total for the week: -$144.40 (1-6)

Total for October: +$205.80 (29-19)

Total for 2022: +$1.10 (274-302)

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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