NY Mets (-107, 7 o/u) at Kansas City Royals (-103)
The 111th World Series gets underway tonight when Matt Harvey (13-8, 2.55 ERA) and the New York Mets (90-72, 41-40 Away) face Edinson Volquez (13-9, 3.55 ERA) and the Kansas City Royals (95-67, 51-30 Home) in Game 1 at Kauffman Stadium (8:07 PM Eastern).
New York comes into the best-of-seven series as a very slight favorite thanks to the stronger starting rotation, but odds are that this will be a back-and-forth battle.
The Mets have been nothing short of sensational this postseason, ousting the Dodgers in five games and then sweeping the Cubs in the NLCS. The Mets’ magical run has been orchestrated by strong pitching and the bat … make that “wand” … of second baseman Daniel Murphy. The newest “Mr. October” is hitting .421 with seven home runs in just nine playoff games.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen [Murphy] in batting practice hit balls as far as anybody, as consistently as anybody,” New York utility man Kelly Johnson told the New York Times. “The power and the pop is there and I’m thinking, ‘This guy’s got a lot more power than people realize.'”
Tonight, Murphy and company will try to stay hot against an up-and-down Volquez. The 32-year-old righty got the Royals off to a good start in the ALCS, pitching six innings of two-hit ball in Game 1 against the Blue Jays. But he followed that up with a subpar start in Game 5, giving up five runs over five innings en route to a 7-1 loss.
The Royals’ clutch bats, which were silenced in last year’s World Series by eventual MVP Madison Bumgarner, will have a tough test tonight against Harvey. The “Dark Knight” is 2-0 in two starts this playoffs. He allowed just four hits and two runs over 7.2 innings in his last start against the Cubs. His previous outing (Game 3 against the Dodgers) wasn’t as impressive, as he allowed seven hits and two earned over just five innings, but the New York bats picked him up and the Mets coasted to a 13-7 win.
The starting pitching should be strong on both sides tonight, and the large confines of Kauffman Stadium is likely to keep the ball in the yard. Add in the fact that the total has stayed UNDER in four of the last five between the Mets and Royals, and rolling with the UNDER looks like the best play for Game 1.
Pick: UNDER 7.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)