The Boston Red Sox had baseball‘s best record (108-54). The Los Angeles Dodgers are looking for their first title in 30 years. Who is going to come out on top?
With the series starting Tuesday in Boston (8:09 p.m. ET, Fox), we asked 24 of our experts to give their predictions: World Series winner, how many games and MVP.
Here’s a breakdown of their answers along with some more insights on why some of them made their picks.
Complete coverage of the 2018 playoffs
World Series winner
Red Sox: 20 votes
Dodgers: 5 votes
Red Sox in 7 (3 votes)
Red Sox in 6 (12 votes)
Red Sox in 5 (5 votes)
Dodgers in 7 (2 votes)
Dodgers in 6 (3 votes)
What is your pick and why?
Red Sox in seven. A matchup between a 108-win team and a 92-win team shouldn’t be this hard to decide, but a lot of circumstantial evidence suggests that the Dodgers are also an exceptionally good, maybe even elite, team: the fact that they won 104 games last year and mostly upgraded their roster, their 102-win run differential, the savvy improvements they made to their roster late in the season, and the tautological fact that they’ve beaten two playoff opponents and made it to the World Series. With all that said, I can’t pick against the 108-win Red Sox, who dispatched two powerhouses on the way to this point and get the benefit of the doubt until they’ve lost. Red Sox in (for purely selfish reasons) seven. — Sam Miller, ESPN writer
Red Sox in six. It makes sense, but this Red Sox team looks stronger today than it did before the playoffs. Five of the 23 World Series champions in the wild-card era have had the best record in baseball — but those five include two Red Sox teams (2007 and 2013). It appears it’ll be six of 24 by the end of the month. — Sarah Langs, ESPN Stats & Information
Red Sox in six. They have a much more complete lineup, as well as better overall pitching than the Dodgers. The Red Sox also have a better defense, and I think that will play a big factor in this series, as it did against the Astros. — Marly Rivera, ESPN writer
Dodgers in six. This one is all about the matchups. The Red Sox hit much better against right-handed pitching this year, so L.A.’s lefty starters — not to mention the plus-plus stuff of Walker Buehler — could be an advantage for the Dodgers. Likewise, all the right-handed relievers for Boston matched up well against the right-handed lineup of Houston, but the Dodgers have more quality left-handed hitters to present some problems. Chris Sale’s health is also a question mark, another reason to lean toward the Dodgers. — David Schoenfield, ESPN senior writer
Dodgers in seven. I think this will be another tight series, possibly a classic, with runs hard to come by. It may take seven games for the difference to become clear, but I like the way Kenley Jansen is throwing right now more than Craig Kimbrel, and I like the Dodgers’ bench for the games in L.A. — Bradford Doolittle, ESPN writer
Mookie Betts (8 votes)
J.D. Martinez (5)
Xander Bogaerts (2)
Chris Sale (2)
Craig Kimbrel (1)
David Price (1)
Andrew Benintendi (1)
Clayton Kershaw (3)
Justin Turner (1)
Yasiel Puig (1)
Who did you pick for MVP and why?
Mookie Betts. Betts is the best position player in this postseason, and Sale is the best pitcher in this postseason. Most World Series MVPs are position players, so I picked Betts. Sale can now tell reporters, after he wins it, that he was motivated by nobody believing in him. — Miller, ESPN writer
David Price. How great would this be for the narrative? To go from the pitcher with the most starts without a team win entering the postseason, to an outstanding performance in ALCS Game 5 as the team clinches, to two more dominating starts in the World Series en route to a series MVP? Or perhaps a bullpen renaissance, getting the save in the final game? In a season that has given us so many storylines — just like every MLB season before it — this just feels like a fitting way to cap it off. Price induced more swings and misses in his ALCS Game 5 start than he did in any other postseason game of his career. He’s ready. — Langs, ESPN Stats & Information
Betts. The pre-emptive AL MVP was one of the best players, if not the best, all season. But aside from some incredible defensive plays, we haven’t really seen the Betts we all expected this postseason. Betts crushed lefties all season (batting .368) so I expect him to perform well against Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu. I think he’s a sleeping giant who will finally wake up on the biggest stage of them all. — Rivera, ESPN writer
Justin Turner. Turner has been swinging the bat well even though his playoff production doesn’t entirely reflect that. I love his swing versus the Green Monster, and I think he matches up well with the way Chris Sale and David Price are throwing right now. — Doolittle, ESPN writer
Clayton Kershaw. He’s had two great starts this postseason and one terrible one. He has two great ones in the World Series and finally gets a ring as he walks away with MVP honors as well. — Schoenfield, ESPN senior writer