For the bulk of the regular season, the Houston Astros were favored to win the World Series. Even as their offense slumped and their pitchers under-performed, they remained the favorites throughout the postseason.
That is until they dropped Games One and Two at home, prompting the odds to shift in favor of the Washington Nationals. But then the Astros swept the Nationals in Washington, giving them a 3-2 Series lead heading into Game Six Tuesday night back in Houston.
Do the Nationals have what it takes to shut the Astros down and force a Game Seven, or will this be it?
The odds to win the Series are certainly in Houston’s favor now. PointsBet.com has Houston at -800 and Washington at +525; FanDuel has the Astros at -900 and the Nationals at +600; DraftKings has Houston at -1000 and Washington at +650.
Should the Nationals win Game Six, those odds will likely shrink but still favor Houston (so Washington fans that still believe may want to put their money down now). Houston will, of course, try to close the Series out Tuesday night, and the odds are in their favor.
With Stephen Strasburg taking the mound for Washington and Justin Verlander for Houston, DraftKings (-180 to +155), and PointsBet.com (-186 to +155) favor the Astros. FanDuel has the Nationals at +156 and Houston at -180.
The margin not significant, which means there is a good chance the outcome could go either way. With momentum apparently all on Houston’s side, the only thing the Nationals have going for them is Strasburg’s performance in the postseason to date (1.93 ERA; .234 BAA) and Verlander’s World Series record (he is 0-5 in five starts).
However, after sleepwalking through the ALDS, ALCS, and Games One and Two of the Series, it appears that the Astros offense has finally woken up. After hitting just .257 and slugging .432 at home (with an OPS of .753), Houston hit .312 in Washington and slugged .523 (with an OPS of .913).
Washington, on the other hand, went from hitting .307 and slugging .547 (with an OPS of .913) in Houston to hitting .175/.258/.524 in the last three.
So, the question you will have to ask yourself before putting money down on Game Six or the Series is whether you think the Astros can keep it going when they head home or if the Nationals will regain their once-dominant form.
One thing to keep in mind while pondering that question is the regular-season record of each. Throughout the season, Houston was one of the best offensive teams in baseball; the Nationals were more of a middle of the pack offense. The same can really be said of the pitching for both sides.
Stephen Strasburg was an excellent regular season pitcher (3.32 ERA), but Verlander was better (2.58 ERA).
Washington has been riding an incredible hot streak throughout the postseason, but it appears that streak has ended, and we are seeing a return to the norm. Factor in the desire the Astros are going to have to close out the World Series Tuesday night, and it becomes clear how you should bet.
Take Houston to win Game Six and the Series.