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Top MLB Betting Series of the Week (August 2nd, 2021)

By Hank Blaine

No question the top Major League Baseball series the week of August 2 is a potential World Series preview between the Houston Astros, the betting favorites to win the AL pennant, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, the betting favorites for the NL pennant and a second straight World Series title. Because it’s only a two-game set starting Tuesday, there will be no series price.

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Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

  • When: Tuesday, August 2nd // Wednesday, August 3rd
  • Where: Dodger Stadium
  • TV: ATT SportsNet-SW
  • Radio: KLAT 1010, KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2
  • MLB Betting Odds: TBA

READ MORE: Top MLB Predictions for the 2021 Regular Season’s Final Two Months

Being in the National League park, Houston will lose the designated hitter, and that’s a big bat in Yordan Alvarez. It is possible the Astros decide to play him in left field, although he’s a defensive liability.

Of course, these teams met in a memorable 2017 World Series – in which it was later learned the Astros were cheating by stealing signals – and Houston won Game 7 in Los Angeles, 5-1. Yu Darvish was the losing pitcher for Los Angeles but is now with San Diego. George Springer was named World Series MVP, but he’s now with Toronto. Still, a lot of key players on both sides remain.

The teams did play a two-game set in Houston back in late May. The Dodgers won the first game 9-2 as Clayton Kershaw allowed one run and four hits over 7.2 innings. Kershaw also pitched in relief in Game 7 of that 2017 World Series but won’t be available in this series as he’s on injured reserve. Houston won the second game 5-2 as Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and Aledmys Díaz homered.

Houston remains without star third baseman and former AL MVP runner-up Alex Bregman, who has been on the injured list since June 17 with a left quad strain. Bregman has started a minor-league rehab assignment but will not make it back for this series.

The Astros did beef up their bullpen before last week’s Trade Deadline in adding Mariners right-hander Kendall Graveman, who has been one of the best in the majors, Miami’s Yimi Garcia and Cleveland’s Phil Maton. Houston’s bullpen had been middle of the pack this season ahead of All-Star closer Ryan Pressly. He may not be available for this series after being put on the paternity list Sunday. Players placed on the paternity leave list are eligible to remain away from the team for 1-3 days. Graveman probably would close if Pressly isn’t back.

The Dodgers made a blockbuster deal with Washington in landing three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and All-Star shortstop Trae Turner for prospects. It’s almost criminal how many All-Stars the team has now. Turner won’t be playing shortstop for L.A. as it has Corey Seager, just off the injured list. So, most likely either second base or outfield for Turner, who is currently on the COVID list. Not known yet if he will be cleared in time for this series.

Scherzer (8-4, 2.76 ERA), though, is scheduled to make his Dodgers debut on Wednesday. The Astros also were thought to be interested in trading for him. Scherzer is scheduled to be opposed by Jake Odorizzi (4-5, 4.30).

Tuesday’s scheduled pitchers are NL Cy Young Award candidate Walker Buehler (11-1, 2.19) for the Dodgers and Houston’s Lance McCullers (8-2, 3.23). The Astros have gone 48-28 vs. teams with .500-or-better records this season, which are the most wins against .500+ opponents by any team in MLB.

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