6 World Series Bets to Back: From Winner to MVP to 1st Steal
The Washington Nationals were four outs away from having their season end in the wild-card game against the Milwaukee Brewers, six outs away from the golf course in Game 5 of the division series at Dodger Stadium, and then led at the end of 31 out of the 36 innings of the National League Championship Series, never once trailing the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Houston Astros needed three tries to finish off the Rays in the division series, then took two attempts to seize the pennant from a New York Yankees team that held Houston to a .179 batting average in the ALCS. Had New York not gone an egregious 6-for-35 with runners in scoring position (some credit needs to go to Houston pitchers, but yikes), that series could have been a whole lot different.
The Nationals are hitting .308/.437/.477 with only 16 strikeouts in the postseason with runners in scoring position. The Yankees fanned 13 times with runners in scoring position just in the ALCS.
6 Best World Series 2019 Bets
1. Series winner: Nationals
The Nationals’ long layoff is a concern. Since Atlanta swept Cincinnati in the 1995 NLCS and went on to beat Cleveland in the Fall Classic, every team that swept its way to the pennant has gone down in the Fall Classic: the 2006 Tigers, 2007 Rockies, 2012 Tigers, 2014 Royals and 2015 Mets. But Washington also has a historically great starting rotation with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin, and those three getting rest may be able to offset the hitters losing a bit of timing. For the first time, the Astros enter a series without a decided edge in starting pitching.
The Astros won 14 more games than the Nationals this year. Houston is 65-22 at home, including the playoffs, and has home-field advantage for the World Series, looking for a second title in three years as the Nationals seek their first ever. It makes perfect sense that Houston would be -233 at Resorts and Washington +200 at FanDuel. But the Nationals were the pick here at the start of the playoffs, and they’re the pick here now with all of the ingredients to pull off the upset. You can make the bet at FanDuel.
2. Series outcome: Nationals to win 4-2
As good as Justin Verlander is, he’s been touched up in his second start of both the division series and LCS. In the World Series, that lines up to be Game 6. It’s not too hard to see the way it could play out leading up to this: a split of the first two games in Houston, then the Nationals taking two of three in D.C. You can make the bet at Resorts.
3. First player to steal a base: Adam Eaton
Washington led the National League in stolen bases this season, but the Nationals haven’t swiped a bag in the playoffs. That should change against a Houston team that allowed 82% of base stealers to succeed this year, better than only the Twins and Mets. Eaton has the speed to do it, the veteran savvy to pick his spot, and the last name to make a good pun with the annual Taco Bell promotion for the first steal of the Series. You can make the bet at BetMGM.
World Series MVP: Anthony Rendon
The only better position player in this series than Anthony Rendon, by wins above replacement this season, is Alex Bregman. The bar is ludicrously high for a pitcher to be World Series MVP, to the point that the only times it’s happened this century are Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling as co-MVPs in 2001, Josh Beckett in 2003, Cole Hamels in 2008 and Madison Bumgarner in 2014.
All were historic types of performances except for Hamels, who probably should’ve been edged out by Ryan Howard’s three homers, but the point is it’s generally an award for someone who features in every game of the series. Rendon already is 12-for-32 with a homer in these playoffs, and is less likely to fall victim to a barrage of strikeouts than Juan Soto, his co-ninth choice in the betting for MVP. You can make the bet at FanDuel.
Score after Game 3: Astros 2-1
If the Nationals get a split on the road, they come home and face Zack Greinke, who back in June went to Washington and threw 7.1 innings of two-hit shutout ball for the Diamondbacks. This is a bit of a hedge against being so bullish on the Nationals, and Nationals 2-1 at +200 could be a fine play here, too. You can make the bet at bet365.
Complete Game: Yes
The last complete game in the World Series was four years ago, when Johnny Cueto held the Mets to a run on two hits in Game 2 in Kansas City. Verlander went the distance twice this season, including his no-hitter, Corbin once.
Each team has three starters who are capable of doing it, especially in an empty-the-tank game late in the series, and the bullpens for these teams aren’t deep, so being able to save the top arms – Will Harris and Roberto Osuna for Houston, Sean Doolittle and Daniel Hudson for Washington – could be worth pushing a starter to finish. You can make the bet at FanDuel.