Three Prop Bets for Diamondbacks-Rangers World Series Game 1

We can no longer call the Arizona Diamondbacks the final National League wild card by default or Major League Baseball’s version of the AFC South champion. Nor can we compare them anymore to a mid-major NCAA Tournament team storming the big dance.

The only thing we can fairly declare the Diamondbacks to be right now is a World Series team — one that is four wins away from being called champions until the end of time.

The Diamondbacks’ stirring playoff run — which began with sixth-seeded Arizona knocking off two division champions before winning the final two games of the NL Championship Series on the road to eliminate the Philadelphia Phillies — continues Friday, when they begin the World Series against the Texas Rangers.

And because water is wet and the desert is dry, the Diamondbacks — who haven’t been the favorite in any of their first 12 postseason games — are fairly pronounced underdogs against the Rangers.

Arizona is a +142 underdog to win Game 1 and +148 underdogs to win the championship. The Texas moneyline for Game 1 is -168 while the AL champions are -174 favorites to win it all. 

The Diamondbacks’ shortest World Series correct score odds are to win their second championship in seven games (+570), which is longer than any of the Rangers’ correct score odds except a four-game sweep (+880).

Let us all underestimate the Diamondbacks at our own peril — and focus instead on three Arizona-centered prop bets for Friday’s World Series opener. All odds as of Oct. 26 from FanDuel.

1+ Hit and 1+ Stolen Base in the Top of the First Inning (+880)

It’s no surprise that the potent Rangers — who out-homered the Diamondbacks 233-166 during the regular season and 22-18 thus far in the playoffs — have shorter odds to hit a homer (+440) or collect at least one extra-base hit (+205) in the first inning than the Diamondbacks, whose odds there are +630 and +235, respectively.

But after stealing eight bases in the final two games in Philadelphia — as many as the Diamondbacks swiped in their first 11 postseason contests combined — Arizona’s odds to collect at least one hit and one stolen base in its first World Series inning in 22 years dwarf the Rangers’ +1200 odds.

The top four batters in the Diamondbacks’ lineup — Ketel Marte, Corbin Carroll, Gabriel Moreno and Christian Walker — were 13-of-32 with four stolen bases in the last two games of the NLCS. All caveats apply about how a couple days off might slow down either team. But it’s hard to see Arizona easing off the gas pedal if someone reaches in the first against Nathan Eovaldi.

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Zac Gallen Over 4.5 Strikeouts (-112)

The Diamondbacks have gotten to the World Series despite middling performances from Gallen, a likely Cy Young finalist who is 2-2 with a 5.24 ERA in four starts. He’s whiffed just 13 batters in 22 innings and hasn’t recorded more than four strikeouts in any outing, so the oddsmakers, as usual, have a pretty good idea what they’re doing in setting this number.

But Gallen had at least five strikeouts in 25 of his 34 regular season starts. More importantly, Game 1 World Series starters generally rack up the strikeouts.

Both starters in four of the last five World Series openers have exceeded five strikeouts. The only exception was in 2021, when the Atlanta Braves’ Charlie Morton whiffed three batters before departing due to a broken leg after 2 1/3 innings and the Houston Astros’ Framber Valdez exited after allowing five runs and striking out two in two innings.

Gallen’s inconsistency this month makes chasing his alt strikeouts a bit of a risk, but sticking around long enough to get five strikeouts seems like a solid enough bet.

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Evan Longoria Double (+550)

Nothing wrong with a small sentimental wager now and then. Longoria, who reached the World Series as a rookie with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, is the first MLB position player to ever go at least 15 years in between World Series appearances. The last person to do it was Dennis Martinez, who pitched for the Baltimore Orioles in the 1979 World Series and then again with Cleveland in 1995.

Evan Longoria being the modern equivalent to Dennis Martinez is a little jarring for those of us with countless Dennis Martinez baseball cards residing somewhere in our old bedroom at our Dad’s house.

Anyway, with the injuries piling up and his performance declining at age 38 — he’s missed 242 out of a possible 486 regular season games since 2021 and hit just .223 with 11 homers in 74 games this year — there’s a chance Longoria is seeking his John Elway/Jerome Bettis moment over the next 10 days.

Longoria is hitting .135 with two extra-base hits, both doubles, in 37 at-bats in the playoffs. But hoping the old guy finds a little bit of magic in Game 1 of the World Series feels like the appropriate thing to do at the end of a month filled with magical moments for the Diamondbacks.

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