Dodgers v Red Sox World Series Tips: Kershaw and his southpaw mates can win it for LA
This year's World Series will be contested by the LA Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox, and here with his outright thoughts and tonight's Game 1 tips is our MLB expert Ben Steele...
"Kershaw is adaptable and if he can steal a win in Boston tonight then the 14/1 price he is to win the World Series MVP is very attractive."
LA Dodgers @ Boston Red Sox
World Series Game 1
Wednesday 01:05 BST
Live on BT Sport 1
Battle ready Boston need to score heavily
The Boston Red Sox won a league-leading 108 games in the regular season but, due to the lopsided nature of the American League this term, ended up playing the only other two teams to have won 100 or more games in 2018.
A series win over the New York Yankees was highlighted by a 16-1 blowout win in Game 3 that demonstrated Boston's incredible ability to generate runs a number of ways while their five-game series with Houston showed that their pitchers do have the ability to control opposing lineups, and keep the score down.
However, only one Red Sox starter, Nathan Eovaldi, has consistently shown that he'll be able to keep the score down against a Dodgers lineup who have hit 13 home runs in this postseason.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, for a team that scored 16 runs in a single game Boston have scored more runs than any team in October (56) and they will have to keep up this rate of scoring to stand a chance in this series with LA.
Jackie Bradley Jr drove in nine runs in the ALCS to take home most valuable player honours and as Boston look for ways to manage their lineup without consistent use of a designated hitter keeping the 28-year-old outfielder's hot streak going will be key.
Game 1 duel could decide MVP
Of the 65 World Series MVP awards that have been handed out, 28 of them have been won by a starting pitcher and tonight's game could well be crucial in the race for this year's award. Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale are two of the best pitchers of their generation and with a series featuring so many big hitting offensive players the battle on the mound will be critical.
Sale is undefeated in the playoffs this season but his three starts have earned him just a single win as he has faced off against the likes of Justin Verlander and J.A. Happ. By contrast, Kershaw has a 2-1 record but has featured in four games, including being called upon to close out Game 7 and win the National League pennant against Milwaukee.
Kershaw is adaptable and if he can steal a win in Boston tonight then the 14/1 price he is to win the World Series MVP is very attractive.
I expect the series to go the distance and that would mean both Sale and Kershaw will start two games and could feature again out of the bullpen. Sale, also priced at 14/1 to win MVP, will need to regain the control that saw him earn a 12-4 record this season, particularly when facing off against a player as experienced as Kershaw.
Southpaw Dodgers could hold the key
Boston's batting lineup was, arguably, the best in the league this year scoring 876 runs and leading the league in batting average. However, when you drill down and look at their performance against lefty pitchers those numbers fall off a cliff.
Red Sox hitters are the best in the league against right-handed hurlers in several categories but are barely even average against southpaws. Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts, who won the World Series with Boston in 2004, will have the chance to turn to a trio of left handed options, Kershaw, Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu as his starting pitchers, as well as number of bullpen options.
With a tightly fought series on the horizon Roberts and LA will look to lean on this potential match-up advantage to earn their first World Series win since 1988.
Back over 7.5 runs in Game 1 of the World Series at 20/21
Back Jackie Bradley Jr to hit a home run at 5/1
Back Clayton Kershaw to win the World Series MVP at 14/1
Back Los Angeles Dodgers to win the World Series 4-3 at 5/1