The Houston Astros are just nine innings away from winning the World Series title and are favored to do so tonight in Houston.  Let’s take a look at tonight’s matchup, props and sides to find some betting value in Game 6.

Word Series Game 6
Washington Nationals (+160) vs Houston Astros (-170)
Tuesday, Minute Maid Park | 8:08 PM ET on FOX

So far in this World Series, in a very odd turn of events, the home team has yet to win a single game. With the current format, this leaves tonight’s home team with a 3-2 lead in the Series, and the Astros are poised to break their home losing trend.  So, the question is, can the Astros make good and finally get a win at home?  The Series is staying in Houston so no matter what, a World Series win would be at home for the Astros, which is a big deal. So is losing a World Series on home turf, however.
Game 5 saw rookie Yordan Alvarez getting things started for the Astros with a two-run bomb in the second inning.  The Astros continued to smack three multi-run long balls in their 7-1 rout of Washington.  Unfortunately for the Nationals, Max Scherzer was a late scratch due to neck spasms which forced Joe Ross to step up and pitch on short notice.  This did not go well for Washington as the score indicates and they now find themselves teetering on the edge of elimination.
Game 6 is a pitching rematch of Game 2, which saw Stephen Strasburg get the win over Justin Verlander to give the Nationals an improbable 2-0 lead.  They turn to Strasburg again tonight to stave off elimination and give the Nationals a shot to win it all in a Game 7 while Verlander looks to earn his first win in a World Series game.  Much like in Game 2, the Astros are chalky favorites at -170 to end it all tonight with the total hanging at 7.

Nationals Need Another Gem from Strasburg

It’s no secret that Stephen Strasburg has been on another level this postseason for the Washington Nationals. He is 4 for 4 with wins in each oh is starts, including last weekend’s Game 2 win against the Astros as a +160 underdog. Strasburg’s bonkers play in the postseason has pushed his career stats in October to 5-2 with a 1.34 ERA in 47 innings pitched.

The Nationals will need another epic performance from their ace to snap a three-game skid and essentially save the season for the team that drafted him No. 1 a decade ago.  No matter what happens, with 47 innings pitched and such dominant numbers, Strasburg has to be in the conversation of the best postseason pitchers of all time.  It sounds weird I know, but it’s true.

Can Verlander put away the Nationals?

Justin Verlander (1-3, 4.15 ERA in postseason) makes the 483rd start of his Hall of Fame career, but this might be the biggest game he’s yet to pitch.  He has a chance to propel his team to their second World Series title in just three seasons and will redeem his previous performances during this year’s playoffs.

In very un-Verlander fashion, Justin has given up four earned runs in three of his last four starts and won just a single game in that stretch.

Verlander is now a very ugly 0-5 with a 5.73 ERA in six career starts in the World Series.  I don’t mean to suggest he cracks under pressure, but those numbers speak volumes about his results come crunch time.  And what could be more of a pressure-filled game than this?  Well, game seven I suppose, but you get my point.  This is a huge spot for Verlander to prove his detractors wrong and toss a gem to snag another ring for the Astros. Or, of course, to continue his postseason struggles and force the Astros to a Game-7 and possible elimination.

World Series Game 6 Best Bets

The first thing is first, I like a low scoring contest tonight but both pitchers are prone to getting off to shaky starts in these games.  They each gave up a pair of runs in the first inning last time out and are under even more pressure tonight under the lights in Houston.

The top of each order contain a trio of dangerous batters on both sides.  Trea Turner, Adam Eaton andd Anthony Rendon for the Nationals and George Springer, Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley for the Astros. Both teams also are very good at putting early hits into play, especially the Nationals who had a team batting average of .300 in the regular season during the first inning.

While a run being scored in the first inning is available at (+115) I prefer to play it a bit safer here and wager that there will be a hit by either team in the first inning (-120).  With nerves as high as they are, I think at least one of our early hitters draws first blood early.

Despite the faith I have in an early hit or two, I like each pitcher to settle in nicely tonight and keep things tight.  I am willing to bet that Verlander bucks his recent skid and keeps the Astros off the board for the most part.  I don’t worry about Strasburg getting lit up too much with his 0.96 WHIP and 1.93 ERA so far this postseason.  Even though these two combined to give up four runs their last time out, I’m willing to bet that doesn’t happen again tonight and be the UNDER first five innings total which is 4 (-120).

Finally, we need to pick a winner, right?  That’s what y’all want to hear after all.  I will say when I started my research on this game, I was pretty sure I was team Astros tonight.  But, having looked over Verlander’s stats and video from the last couple of weeks, I can say he genuinely concerns me.  It’s crazy to have such doubt in such an established legend of the game, and yet I do.  Combine that with zero wins coming from a team at home this series, and my arguments began to unfold in front of my eyes.  Verlander struggled against the Rays, Yankees, and Nationals and while I don’t expect any sort of implosion, I like Strasburg more.  We’re talking about two starting pitchers at either end of the postseason stats.  Strasburg has been the best pitcher working over the last 3 weeks while Verlander has certainly not been on his game.

Taking into account the chalky ML odds of -170 for Houston and a bet on them just stopped making sense.  I don’t expect this game to see many runs on either side, but I can see Strasburg tossing a 7 inning shutout and handing the ball to the bullpen with a 2 or 3 run lead.  With the Nationals 7-0 in his last seven starts and good underdog odds, and for the first time this postseason, I will be betting on the Washington Nationals to extend this series to Game 7.

Best Bet: Washington Nationals to win +160