As October baseball moves toward its conclusion, two teams stand just one win away from the World Series. At the same time, their rivals will try to overturn the deficit by winning all of the remaining games of the series and stop their train departing at the last stop before the sport’s showpiece event.
American League Championship Series
After sneaking the opening game in the race for the American League pennant 5-4, the Houston Astros lost two on the spin to find themselves 2-1 down against the Boston Red Sox.
With two outs in the ninth inning of Game 4, a missed strike call from the umpire that would have sent the game into the bottom of the ninth tied was the catalyst for the Astros to score seven runs in the inning and win the game 9-2.
That moment could prove to be pivotal in the series as the Astros followed up with a 9-1 win in Game 5 to put themselves a win away from another trip to the World Series.
Houston are 10/13 to win Game 6, while the Red Sox are 6/5 to take the series to a decider. The Astros are now 2/9 to win the series, with Boston priced up at 18/5 to produce another one of their famous playoff comebacks.
National League Championship Series
The Los Angeles Dodgers came into this season, and series, favourites to retain their World Series crown.
However, an exciting young Atlanta Braves side nicked the opening two games of the series by a single run before blowing the Dodgers away 9-2 in Game 4 to stand a win away from the World Series.
The Dodgers’ home comeback win in Game 3 has not been enough to stem the tide against the Braves. However, last year Los Angeles sat in this exact position as they came back from 0-2 and 1-3 down to beat the Braves on their way to winning the World Series.
Their offence has been poor this time around. In their 9-2 Game 4 loss, their first five hitters went 0-17.
The Braves’ Eddie Rosario, on the other hand, has been red hot, becoming the first player in history to have two four-hit games in a League Championship Series.
The Dodgers are on the brink, and their odds represent that they are 18/5 to progress while the Braves are 4/19.
LA can take solace in the fact that they are favourites for their Game 5 clash, 5/7 to Atlanta’s 13/10.
The Houston Astros are now odds-on to win their second World Series at 20/21. The Braves can be backed at 7/4, and given their unpromising positions in the series; the other two sides are much bigger prices. Despite needing to win three in a row, the Dodgers are shorter at 7/1 to retain their crown than the Red Sox at 11/1.
*All odds correct at time of writing.