The Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies took very different paths to the 2022 World Series.
Even after losing superstar shortstop Carlos Correa to the Minnesota Twins in free agency, the Astros entered 2022 as a prime favorite to win the World Series. Justin Verlander essentially locked up a third AL Cy Young award after going 18-4 with 185 strikeouts and a ridiculous 1.75 ERA.
The Phillies, on the other hand, tried to end a miserable losing stretch by signing lucrative free agent signings such as Bryce Harper, Zack Wheeler, Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos. Philadelphia fired GM Joe Girardi after a 22-29 start and replaced him with Rob Thomson, who guided the team to a 65-46 finish.
Baseball fans in Virginia will be able to place wagers on the World Series through sportsbook such as BetMGM Virginia, which is currently offering new customers a risk-free wager of up to $1,000 upon signing up.
There is notable representation for the state of Virginia in this year’s Fall Classic. The aforementioned Verlander was born in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia. Also, fellow Astro Trey Mancini once played for the Norfolk Tides’ Triple-A team — an affiliate of MLB’s Baltimore Orioles — in the International League.
Houston ran through the AL with 106 wins and didn’t lose a single postseason game, sweeping the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS and the New York Yankees in the ALCS to claim their fourth pennant in six years.
Thanks to the expanded postseason format, Philadelphia’s 87 wins were enough to snag the sixth wild card spot in the National League to end an 11-year postseason drought. They swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card Round, dethroned the defending champion Atlanta Braves in the NLDS then took down the San Diego Padres in five games to claim the NL pennant.
Astros Are The (Slight) Consensus Favorites
Given their superior record and postseason experience (again, this is their fourth World Series appearance in six years), it’s easy to comprehend why the Astros are the favorites here.
DraftKings has Houston as a slight -185 favorite, and Philadelphia as a +160 underdog. The FanDuel sportsbook has the Astros as the -190 favorites, and the Phillies as the +165 underdogs.
BetMGM also has the Astros as a slight favorite to win the Fall Classic over Bryce Harper’s Phillies. PointsBet’s World Series odds are similar to the ones from FanDuel. The Astros are -190 favorites, while the Phillies come in as +160 underdogs.
This World Series feels like a toss-up in many ways, though. Do you go with a team that’s been there and done that in the Astros?
Or with a surging red-hot Philadelphia team that’s playing with so much determination, confidence and swagger? Both teams come in with plenty of momentum, but there is only room for one winner here.
Prediction: Astros In 6
Though the Astros are usually carried by their hard-hitting lineup, it was actually an AL-leading 2.90 ERA that led the way in 2022.
Verlander will run away with the Cy Young, but one can’t overlook the contributions of Houston’s deep rotation. Framber Valdez was 17-6 with a 2.82 ERA. Cristian Javier went 11-9 with a 2.54 ERA. Luis García and José Urquidy won 15 and 13 games, respectively.
The offense wasn’t as potent as past years, but Yordan Álvarez, Kyle Tucker, Alex Bregman, José Altuve and Jeremy Peña each clubbed over 20 homers. Álvarez and Altuve brought consistency at the plate, hitting .306 and .300, respectively.
If there’s a concern for the Phillies in this series, it’s the over-reliance on Harper. He’s batting an incredible .419 in the postseason with five homers and 11 RBI. After him, Jean Segura holds the next-best batting average in the postseason among Philly starters at .257.
Full credit to the Phillies for making easy work of three NL juggernauts in the Cardinals, Braves and Padres. But none of those three teams will be confused with a Houston team loaded with superstars and an all-time great manager in Dusty Baker.
It’s hard to find any major advantages for the Phillies in this one. Houston’s lineup is better from top-to-bottom, and as great as Zack Wheeler is, he can’t do it all. Plus Houston can counter by starting Verlander against Philly’s ace.
The Astros have the pitching advantage in practically every starting matchup. When all is said and done, the superior roster depth will propel them to the franchise’s second World Series championship.