The Daily Sweat: The World Series begins with the Astros favored in Game 1

The World Series is finally here.

Game 1 of the 2022 World Series begins Friday night (8 p.m. ET, Fox) thanks to MLB’s post-lockout postseason schedule. Since the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros each closed out their LCS wins on Sunday, there ended up being four days between the league championships and the World Series.

The Astros enter Game 1 at -190 to win the World Series while the Phillies are at +155. Justin Verlander is Houston’s Game 1 starter while Aaron Nola starts on the mound for Philadelphia. The Astros are -165 on the money line at BetMGM to win Game 1 while the Phillies are +140. You can get Philadelphia +1.5 runs at -160 while the Astros at -1.5 runs is at +135.

An Astros blowout has the lowest odds at BetMGM as well if you want to bet the winning margin. A Houston win by 4 or more runs is at +300 and ahead of a one-run win by the Astros at +350. A Phillies win by a run is at +600 while a Phillies win by 4 or more is at +625.

Game 1 is set to be Verlander’s eighth World Series start and he hasn’t been very good in the small postseason sample size so far. Verlander has been tagged for the loss in six of those starts and has a 5.68 ERA in 38 innings. Verlander has given up 35 hits and walked 14 in the World Series and has been especially hit by home runs.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 27: Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros participates in the World Series workout day at Minute Maid Park on October 27, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Justin Verlander is set to start World Series Game 1 for the Houston Astros. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

If you think Verlander’s career performance is part of a World Series home run trend, the Phillies match up well. Verlander has given up nine homers in the World Series and allowed three in 11 innings to the Washington Nationals in 2019.

Since Philly hasn’t been to a World Series since 2009, Friday night is Nola’s first World Series start. He had a 3.25 ERA in 205 innings in 2022 and struck out 235. His WHIP was also less than 1.00.

The pitching matchup is a big reason why the over/under for Game 1 is at just 6.5 runs. Over is at -120 and under is at +100. We’re inclined to go with the over given the power in Philadelphia’s lineup. The Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber is the favorite to hit at least one home run at +270 and Bryce Harper is at +340. Houston’s Yordan Alvarez is the No. 2 favorite to hit a homer at +300.

Two college football games

No ranked teams take the field on Friday night, though there’s an intriguing matchup in Provo. BYU is in the midst of a slide and enters Friday night’s home game vs. East Carolina (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2) at 4-4. The Cougars are 3-point favorites and the over/under has crept up to 63.5 after ECU’s 34-13 win over UCF and BYU’s recent defensive struggles.

The other game is a Conference USA matchup between Louisiana Tech and Florida International (8 p.m. ET, CBSSN). The Bulldogs are 6.5-point favorites and the total is 57. Louisiana Tech has lost four of its last five games, though its lone conference win is over UTEP. FIU broke a two-game losing streak with a 34-15 win over Charlotte in Week 8.

76ers play a second game in Toronto

The Philadelphia 76ers are off to a slow start so far in 2022. The Sixers are 1-4 through the first five games and play a second game in three days in Toronto on Friday night. The Raptors are 1.5-point favorites after winning 119-109 on Wednesday night.

The ESPN games Friday night are a contrast. Indiana and Washington meet in the first game (7:30 p.m. ET) in a matchup of teams likely bound for the lottery. The Wizards are 5.5-point favorites. The second game (10 p.m. ET) features the New Orleans Pelicans and Phoenix Suns and the Suns are 6.5-point favorites. Both teams are 3-1 but the Pelicans are likely not to have Brandon Ingram again on Friday night.

Who cashed bets on Thursday?

Utah bettors got a surprise when the Utes’ game over Washington State kicked off Thursday night. Utah QB Cam Rising didn’t play and Utah coach Kyle Whittingham — notoriously close to the vest with player injuries — didn’t give a reason for his absence. Rising’s knee was wrapped a couple of days after the team’s win over USC two weeks ago, but it’s not totally clear if his knee was the reason why he missed the game.

Utah was a 7-point favorite ahead of the game and won 21-17 with quarterback Bryson Barnes playing the entire way. But we don’t need to tell you that Utah didn’t cover.

The Baltimore Ravens covered in their 27-22 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night. Over bettors were happy too; the total was just 46.5.