World Series – Game 7

Houston Astros vs Washington Nationals, 11:08 am
Astros $1.70

Houston Astros

In yet another twist in this series, the home side failed to win for the 6th time in a row. Houston were thoroughly outclassed in a 7-2 defeat, with a glaring lack of offensive production. Alex Bregman looked solid with 2 hits and an RBI, but his teammates couldn’t follow suit with Strasburg’s strong pitching. Justin Verlander was somewhat poor in his start, striking out just 3 and allowing 3 runs in his 5 innings. Zack Greinke is slated to pitch here, coming off an excellent regular season but an inconsistent post-season.

Washington Nationals

A gutsy 7-2 road win in game 6 means Washington are still well and truly in this series. Anthony Rendon should take a bow after his performance, putting this team on his back with 3 hits and 5 RBI. Stephen Strasburg was excellent as a starting pitcher, going just over 8 innings and striking out 7. Despite being unfit to start game 5, Max Scherzer is going to give it a go as the starting pitcher here. He’s been excellent when called upon all year, but I’d definitely be concerned about his injury.

Prediction: Astros $1.70

I’ve backed both sides at times during this series, although I’ve never wavered from the thought that Houston would win it all. I think they’ve got the more talented roster and a very strong home field advantage. Although their lineup has been somewhat inconsistent of late, they’ve got so many clutch big hitters that should thrive in the game 7 crucible. Greinke’s also had a storied career to date and you’d struggle to find many better options than him with your season on the line. Given that he was unfit to start literally 2 days ago, I’m also unsure how effective Scherzer will be here. If he can only go a few innings, Washington will be heavily reliant on a bullpen that has done a ton of work over the post-season. Overall, I think Houston has the talent edge, health edge, and home field advantage to get them over the line and win the World Series tonight.

World Series – Game 6

Houston Astros vs Washington Nationals, Wednesday, 11:07 am
Astros

Houston Astros

The Astros did the unthinkable; winning all 3 in Washington and turning this series on its head. They put in another professional road performance in game 5, winning by a convincing 7-1 scoreline. The offensive contributions came from a number of different players, with Springer, Alvarez, and Correa all managing 2 RBI each. They get to return home to Minute Maid Park here, where they’re an outstanding 65-24 overall this season. Ace Justin Verlander gets the start here, coming off a strong 22-9 season while also enjoying a flourishing romance with Kate Upton.

Washington Nationals

Despite being heavy underdogs coming into the series, Washington roared out of the gate with 2 impressive road wins. Unfortunately, they’ve looked incredibly ordinary in their 3 home games since, losing by an aggregate score of 19-3. The offence just can’t seem to find a rhythm, with Juan Soto the only batter to get an RBI. Their pitching hasn’t been great either, in large part due to a neck injury for Max Scherzer just before Monday’s game. At least they’ll get Stephen Strasburg back pitching for this one, who is 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA during his confident post-season run.

Prediction: Astros

Despite picking Washington last time out, I thought they had little chance after the Max Scherzer injury. I think they’ll be very deflated for this one and very much favour Houston in game 6 and a potential game 7. Verlander is as cool as the other side of the pillow in these situations, having seen and done it all before. I’m also much more trusting in the Astros offence, who have shown their depth and quality of late. Combine a strong home field advantage, an elite starting pitcher, a deep and versatile hitting lineup and the motivation from 3 straight road wins and I like Houston to claim their second world series in 3 years in this spot.

World Series – Game 5

Washington Nationals vs Houston Astros, 11:07 am
Nationals $2.35

Washington Nationals

The Nats just weren’t good enough last time out, getting thoroughly outplayed in an 8-1 defeat. They just couldn’t get anything going offensively, managing just 4 hits as a team. I was surprised to see Patrick Corbin start as pitcher and he allowed 4 runs during his 6 innings on the mound. The 2-3-2 format means they get this game at home, which means they absolutely need a win here. Fortunately for Washington, ace Max Scherzer will take the mound in this one, relatively fresh off of a dominant display in game 1.

Houston Astros

The Astros have put in real championship performances in the last two games, emerging victorious 8-1 last time out. Alex Bregman made headlines again offensively, going for 3 hits, 5 RBI, and one epic grand slam. Jose Urquidy was also very solid as a starting pitcher, striking out 4 and allowing 0 earned runs in his 5 innings. Ace Gerrit Cole is slated to return here, having been a pillar of consistency all season.

Prediction: Nationals $2.35

Regular readers of these MLB tips will know that I rarely bet against Houston, who’ve consistently been the best side in the league this season. However, after two straight losses, I think Washington enters this one with a sense of urgency that gives them a slight edge. Especially with this being Scherzer’s last start of the season, I think this series is all but over if they don’t win here. Scherzer has been dominant all post-season and his unique pitching style caused issues for Houston in game 1. Gerrit Cole looks like he may be wearing down after a long season and may not be 100% for this one. I expect Washington to lay it all on the line in this one, making it essentially a coinflip type of game. Getting $2.35 in the coinflip scenario, I’m happy to roll the dice with the underdog here.

World Series – Game 4

Washington Nationals vs Houston Astros, 11:07 am
Astros to Win $2

Washington Nationals

After 2 impressive road wins, the Nats just couldn’t keep it rolling at home, falling 4-1 in game 3. Anibal Sanchez was a noticeable drop-off at pitcher, allowing 10 hits and 4 earned runs in just over 5 innings. The offence just couldn’t finish either, racking up a few hits but ultimately scoring just a single run. It makes sense for ace Max Scherzer to start in this one, building off a truly elite post-season thus far.

Houston Astros

The Astros entered game 3 absolutely needing a win and they dug deep to get it. Zack Greinke did just enough under Center, striking out 6 and allowing 1 earned run during 4.2 innings. Left Fielder Michael Brantley had another of his clutch offensive days, going for 2 hits and 2 RBI in the close win. I’d also expect Houston ace Gerrit Cole to pitch in this one, having been elite all year despite a minor blip in game 1.

Prediction: Astros $2

While it isn’t set in stone, I think both managers would be smart to let their best pitchers go for it here. This seems to be built into the early line, with Houston actually underdogs here with an expectation of Scherzer starting. Even so, I think he is evenly matched by the outstanding Cole, who also has an exemplary bullpen behind him. I also give Houston the offensive edge here, largely due to their strength in depth and experience. It’d be an absolute mountain to climb down 3-1, so I expect a complete performance from Houston here as they steal a second in Washington.

World Series – Game 3

Washington Nationals vs Houston Astros, 11:08 am
Astros to Win

Washington Nationals

The Nationals became the front-runner to win the World Series after a dominant game 2 win in Houston. Stephen Strasburg was predictably solid on the mound, allowing just 2 runs while striking out 7 in 6 innings. Their offensive production was definitely the main story, scoring 12 total runs and having 3 players register multiple RBI’s. They now get to return home where they’ve been a much better team this season, needing only 2 wins in 3 to claim the title. I’d expect Patrick Corbin to start here, who went 14-7 with a 3.25 ERA through 202 innings in the regular season.

Houston Astros

Houston are in absolute disarray and will now require 2 wins from 3 away games just to stay alive. While Verlander put in an average display during his 6 innings, the bullpen had an absolute mare and conceded 8 runs in the final 3. The offence hasn’t found a spark of late either, getting held to an abysmal 2 runs through the first 8 innings last time out. Fortunately, they’ve got another elite arm on deck, with Zack Greinke being tasked with getting them back in this series.

Prediction: Astros

I’ve rode with the Astros all season and I’ll now die with them if I have to. Washington are playing with a ton of momentum right now, but I still think Houston is the better of these two sides. Corbin is a step down from Scherzer and Strasburg and isn’t as accomplished as Greinke in the post-season. I’m also expecting Houston’s depth and talent offensively to finally come through with a high-scoring performance. This team has a chance at winning 2 of 3 games in Washington, but it’s pretty much over if they can’t win game 3.

 

World Series – Game 2

Houston Astros vs Washington Nationals, 11:07 am
Astros

Houston Astros

To the surprise of many, Houston lost game 1 at home to Washington by a score of 5-4. Despite 6 strikeouts, allowing 8 hits and 5 runs through 7 represents a poor day for pitcher Gerrit Cole. George Springer and Yuli Gurriel provided some resistance offensively, combining for all 4 of the team’s RBI. The good news is that they stay at Minute Maid Park for game 2, where they’ve won roughly 60% of games this season. Gun Justin Verlander is also expected to start, looking to build off of another outstanding season so far.

Washington Nationals

There were certainly some factors against Washington in game 1, yet they still came up with the clutch road win. Max Scherzer was solid without being spectacular, striking out 7 and allowing 2 runs in 5 innings. Left Fielder Juan Soto continued his excellent form leading the team with 3 hits and 3 RBI. The well-rested Stephen Strasburg is slated to pitch here, consistently one of the better pitchers in the league on high volume.

Prediction: Astros

With 3 games in Washington on deck, this very much looks like a must-win for Houston. Minute Maid Park provides an elite home field advantage that this side has taken full advantage of. Despite coming up against Strasburg, I’d still give them a strong edge in the starting pitcher department with JV. The top 5 in their batting lineup is also as deep and versatile as you’ll find anywhere, and I expect them to break out of this minor funk. Expect a super talented team playing with maximum motivation as they take this one to Washington tied 1-1.

World Series – Game 1

Houston Astros vs Washington Nationals, 11:08 am
Astros

Houston Astros

As many expected during the pre-season, Houston have come through the American League and made the World Series. They were an elite side throughout the regular season, picking up 107 wins and earning home field throughout. Their divisional series was definitely entertaining, but a 6-1 win in game 5 ultimately allowed them to prevail over Tampa. This set up a grudge match with the Yankees in the ALCS, one which they ultimately secured 4-2 on Sunday afternoon. After surprisingly resting him in game 6, stud pitcher Gerrit Cole will start here, in theory setting him up to also start game 4 and a potential game 7.

Washington Nationals

The Nationals have definitely faced an interesting path to get here, but they’ve set themselves up with a great chance to win. Despite some struggles to start, an excellent mid-season run saw them finish a respectable 93-69. This allowed them to host the NL Wild Card game, where they ultimately edged Milwaukee 4-3. Many thought they’d fall to the Dodgers in the divisional round, but an epic game 5 road win saw them advance. The Cardinals were no match for them in the NLCS as they cruised to a 4-game sweep. They’ve also got their ace starting this one, with Max Scherzer fresh and raring to go.

Prediction: Astros

I don’t think I’ve faded Gerrit Cole all season and I’m not about to start doing so now. He was 20-5 in the regular season with a 2.5 ERA and has looked even more flawless in the playoffs so far. The rest advantage could work against Washington to start with, as they’ve had a full week without any in-game action. I can see their offence struggling against Cole here in what should be a low-scoring affair. While this could be an emotional letdown for Houston in theory, I think they’re so locked in to right last year’s wrong.

Under 7 Runs

With two of the best pitchers in the league on display, runs will be at a premium in this one. Washington’s offence has been inconsistent throughout the playoffs and they definitely struggled to start the ALCS. Houston didn’t put on a great showing against the Yankees pitchers either, none of which are as accomplished as Max Scherzer. While I generally prefer the hook and under 7.5, I’m comfortable taking just 7 with these pitchers, especially with a potential push. My ultimate prediction for this one is 3-1 Houston.

ALCS – Game 6

Houston Astros vs New York Yankees, 11:08 am
Astros

Houston Astros

A horror first inning saw Houston fall 4-1 last time out in their potential close-out game. They just couldn’t get anything going offensively and found themselves trailing from the 1st onwards. After getting 2 out of 3 in New York, they now get to return home, where they’ve been outstanding all year. Gerrit Cole is scheduled to pitch here, which should give them a huge boost as they look to close this one out.

New York Yankees

This Yankees team is a group of fighters and they proved that last time out with an impressive 4-1 road win in an elimination game. Center Fielder Aaron Hicks had the key hit, securing 3 RBI in a 1st-inning onslaught. James Paxton also deserves credit for an elite pitching performance, striking out 9 and allowing just 1 earned run. The Yankees pitching rotation has been somewhat in flux of late, although I’d expect Severino to get another start here.

Prediction: Astros

I think Houston have proven themselves to be the better of these two sides throughout both the regular season and these first 5 games. They now get the chance to secure home field in the World Series, with one of the best pitchers in the league on the mound. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with Cole’s performances of late, especially during the biggest of moments. New York just can’t provide the same level of consistency at pitcher for this one, making me think Houston’s offence could have a resurgent day. Combine all of these factors and I love the Astros in this home close-out spot.

ALCS – Game 5

Houston Astros vs New York Yankees
Astros

Houston Astros

The Astros did what they needed to do on the road, winning both matches to take control of this series. George Springer and Carlos Correa were particularly solid last time out, both registering 3 RBI in the comfortable win. They return home here for a potential close-out game at a place where they’ve won 75% of games this season. Justin Verlander is slated to pitch here, having built on his 20-5 regular season with some excellent post-season games so far.

New York Yankees

While things looked bright for the Yankees after game 1, 3 straight losses mean it looks like they’ll fall short yet again. Although their pitching hasn’t been great this series, the real problem has been their ineptitude on offence. This won’t be helped by playing on the road, where they’ve been noticeably worse this season. James Paxton has been one of their better pitchers this season and he at least gives them a fighting chance here.

Prediction: Astros

Having won 3 straight, the Astros can certainly taste another trip to the World Series. They’ve been an outstanding home side this season and have one of the league’s best pitchers on their side. I’ve also been impressed by their offence throughout this series and think they’ve dramatically outperformed their counterparts. They definitely don’t want another trip to New York, making me think they leave it all on the line here.

Under 7.5 Runs

This series has tended to eb and flow offensively between games. In such a high stakes game, I’m expecting two consistent veteran pitchers to deliver here. Verlander rarely gets carted and Paxton needs a strong display for New York to have a chance. Throw in that Houston’s stadium lends itself to unders and that his should be a relatively close affair, under 7.5 starts to look mighty good.

ALCS – Game 4

New York Yankees vs Houston Astros, 11:08 am
Yankees

New York Yankees

The Yankees finally went behind in a playoff series, falling 4-1 to go down 2-1 on the series. The offence struggled against Gerrit Cole, managing just 5 hits and 1 run on the afternoon. While solid, the pitching department will need to be better here to match up with Houston’s. Although the pitching rotation is somewhat in flux, I’d expect Masahiro Tanaka to pitch here after 4 days of rest.

Houston Astros

The Astros have looked very impressive the last two games, taking control of the series with a 2-1 lead. Gerrit Cole was predictably excellent, striking out 7 batters and allowing 0 runs through 7 innings. Jose Altuve also continued his fine form with the bat, going for 2 hits, 2 runs, and an RBI for good measure. Having gone to essentially a 3-man rotation this post-season, I’d expect Zack Greinke to get the nod here.

Prediction: Yankees

While New York haven’t looked great the past two games, a lot of that has to do with coming up against Verlander and Cole. Although also a very capable pitcher, Greinke has looked like the weak link of that 3 since being acquired mid-season. The Yankees are also an elite home side, winning roughly 75% of games at Yankee Stadium this season. Especially with a game 5 against Verlander in Houston on deck, I think their season is very much on the line here. As such, I expect a highly motivated and professional display where they ultimately get the job done.