2021 World Series predictions, Astros-Braves picks: Experts split on evenly matched Fall Classic

The Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros will play Game 1 of the 2021 World Series on Tuesday night in Minute Maid Park. The Astros will be vying for their second championship in the last five years, while the Braves are trying to hoist the trophy for the first time since 1995.

The Astros reached the Fall Classic by defeating the Red Sox in six games in the ALCS. The Braves, meantime, upset the Dodgers in six games in the NLCS.

In this series, the Astros come in as the consensus favorites. Despite playing in a tougher division during the regular season, the Astros bested the Braves by seven games in the standings and by 71 runs in run differential. As well, they come into this series with more days of rest, and they’ll play a potential Game 7 at home. All that said, baseball is built to defy such expectations, and no one knows how it’s going to play out.

As for how it might play out, we four CBS Sports MLB scribes are here to provide (theoretically) educated guesses as to who wins the 2021 Fall Classic. Do note that accuracy is not guaranteed.

2021 World Series staff picks

R.J. Anderson: The Astros are probably the better team, but I have concerns about how Houston’s rotation sans Lance McCullers Jr. matches up against Atlanta’s lineup. Maybe it’s silly to get too locked in on that one aspect — especially given how bullpen-dependent both teams have been, and the quality of the Astros lineup — but it’s not like anyone is going to remember or care about these predictions in 100 years anyway, so we might as well live a little. PICK: Braves in seven; World Series MVP: Freddie Freeman.

Mike Axisa: I think the Astros are the better team, but the better team doesn’t always win, and I think the Braves can match Houston’s offensive firepower in a short series. I also feel better about Atlanta’s rotation now that we know the Astros will be without Lance McCullers Jr. I expect a long series either way, and I have the Braves as the favorites ever so slightly. PICK: Braves in seven; World Series MVP: Jorge Soler.

Dayn Perry: I think Houston’s edge on offense is substantial, and I think having more rest going in than the Braves do will benefit the Astros’ strong bullpen. The Astros’ rotation may seem a bit uncertain right now, but I’m buying Luis Garcia’s tweaked mechanics. PICK: Astros in seven; World Series MVP: Jose Altuve.

Matt Snyder: Whatever adjusting the Astros did with their pitching after ALCS Game 3 (were they tipping?) will stick and their offensive firepower proves superior. Dusty Baker finally gets his ring as a manager and retires in style. PICK: Astros in six; World Series MVP: Carlos Correa. 

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