Braves at Astros Game 2: 2021 World Series picks, expert selections, betting odds

Every day during the MLB Playoffs, The Athletic’s MLB writers will make their picks straight up. We put our picks and all series coverage, plus the latest odds, all in one place for fans to easily digest and follow. Our in-depth coverage from our stable of The Athletic writers is linked below the picks. 

World Series Game 2: Atlanta Braves (-105) at Houston Astros (-115)

Series: Braves lead 1-0

Series odds: Braves -150, Astros +125

Game 2 pitching matchup: Max Fried vs. Jose Urquidy

Over/under: 8.5

Writer Pick

Andy McCullough

Eno Sarris

C. Trent Rosecrans

Nick Groke

Sahadev Sharma

With Max Fried on the mound, confidence in the Astros is low. Well, according to our group of prognosticators, at least, who may or may not be tired of this exercise altogether. (Playoff fatigue isn’t just for players.) But it’s not hard to see why everyone, except for Eno, is riding with Atlanta. A five-run lead after three innings will do that. All hail Jorge Soler, another of the ex-Cubs who have turned into unlikely impact leadoff hitters.

Like Dante at the Quick Stop, the Braves aren’t even supposed to be here. Eighty-eight wins in a terrible NL East does not equal a ticket to the World Series. But with an upcoming labor battle, the Braves can be looked at from both sides as an example of what’s working.

The owners could say Atlanta’s ride shows the playoffs should be expanded, to give more teams a shot of winning. The players could say the Braves are showing why teams shouldn’t fold their tents at the All-Star break, trading high-priced talent for cheaper prospects. On July 29, the day before the trading deadline, the Braves won to improve to 51-53, which put them five games back and in third place in the division. The Mets and Phillies had to implode, sure, but Atlanta reloaded its roster in July, with its best player out for the reason, and here they are.

In this fictional scenario, I side with the players. I like the playoffs how they are and I think Atlanta does show that teams shouldn’t just give up to “rebuild.” It was Theo Epstein who once told Chicago reporters that “every opportunity to win is sacred” and he seems like a guy to listen to. After all, he signed Soler, who just might have sparked Atlanta in this World Series.

— Jon Greenberg

Picks standings

Writer Record

Andy McCullough


C. Trent Rosecrans


Nick Groke


Sahadev Sharma


Eno Sarris


More MLB Postseason coverage

2021 MLB playoff picks: Expert World Series predictions from The Athletic’s baseball staff

McCullough: Will the 2021 MLB playoffs spell the end of starters pitching in relief?

2021 World Series: Ranking the top 25 players in the Astros-Braves matchup

There’s never been a World Series team quite like these Braves — Jayson Stark’s Weird and Wild

MLB Podcasts | Scores and Schedule

(Photo of Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario and Guillermo Heredia: Patrick Smith / Getty Images; The Athletic may receive an affiliate commission if you open an account with BetMGM through links contained in the above article.)

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