Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:56 PM
Game 6 - Best Bet
World Series Game 6 (FOX, 8:07 p.m. ET)
Washington Nationals at Houston Astros
Had you said prior to this World Series beginning that the series would be at 3-2 for Houston with the Astros coming home, I don't think anyone would be surprised at all. Yet, the way it's gotten to 3-2 is the oddity here, as a home team has yet to win a game in this series and have been outscored 36-10 in the five games so far. Four of those five wins for the visiting side have come by at least three runs, so even run line and reverse run line bettors have had a nice go of it.
It might have been a roundabout way to get the series to 3-2 in Houston's favor, the Astros winning in six games was the most favored outcome in terms of pre-series futures in that regard and here we are. Houston's got a chance to do it with one of their guys in Justin Verlander on the hill.
Verlander is still winless in World Series starts in his career though after Game 2 didn't exactly go as planned, and up against Stephen Strasburg again, he won't win this game with anything less than his best stuff. Will that be the case, or will Washington find away to put their home failures behind them and force a decisive Game 7?
Game 6 MLB Betting Odds
Washington (+160) vs Houston (-170); Total set at 7.5
Verlander's goose egg in terms of wins in World Series games will undoubtedly be referenced numerous times in Game 6, especially if he finds himself in some trouble early. And while I'm sure hearing about those past issues for the next 24 hours does nothing good for his confidence and preparation, he's also a guy who I believe you can count on to ignore things like that and focus on the task at hand. He's obviously got the stuff to make it happen, and it was just a couple of mistakes he made in that Game 2 start that was the beginning of the end for Houston that day.
At the same time, Strasburg is a guy that's got the weight of the world on his shoulders for this start as his teammates don't have a shred of confidence in this series anymore. It has to feel like forever ago that they were up 2-0 in the World Series after just beating Cole and Verlander, as their return home was one that this Nats team won't ever forget; and for all the wrong reasons. The first two games they got a slumping Houston team, and the past three they've faced the juggernaut version of Houston that torched MLB this year. Going into that juggernaut's house to try and force a Game 7 is no easy task and we might simply be looking at a Washington team that's rank out of gas. Maybe that “15 minutes of fame” has run it's course with them as it did with their Baby Shark theme song months ago.
Furthermore, this is also the first time in this series that we get a pitching rematch after Scherzer pulled out of Game 5 with an injury. That's always a scenario where I prefer to lean towards flip-flopping the results from the first outing if it makes sense. That's not to say if this makes it to a Game 7 and it's Greinke/Sanchez again it would be an automatic play on Washington, but it's a decent enough starting point in my view, and for this Game 6, it's hard not to like Houston ML and/or the 'under' as betting options after Washington ML and 'over' cashed back in Game 2.
Regarding Houston ML, it's the Astros who are playing the much better baseball right now, are brimming with confidence and do get a chance to clinch this thing at home. When you've got the better team playing the better baseball, that's a steep hill to climb for the opponent, even if some will look at +160 with Strasburg and shout “value” over and over again. Remember, this Astros team won the 2017 World Series out in LA, so doing it in front of their home fans – who've been supportive through the thick (recent years) and thin (beginning of the decade while in tank mode) with this organization – would have to be extra special.
Houston also gets to use their best possible lineup with the return of the DH, and given how they were able to get contributions from basically everyone in their order out in Washington – as the Nats did in Houston for Games 1 and 2 – I do think this series comes to an end on Tuesday night.
At the same time, going 'under' this total is just as strong a play in my eyes, because I do think both starters bring their best stuff in an attempt to either extend or close out this series. They've both got the stuff to do so, and Game 2 was a 2-2 game in the 6th inning before the wheels fell off for Verlander and Houston and they basically packed it in from there.
Historically speaking, non-Game 7 close out games in the World Series this century have also been ones where the 'under' tends to do well. Obviously this goes hand-in-hand with the line of thought that Houston does win this Game 6, but in the 13 World Series that didn't go the distance during this century, only two of them had close out games finishing with more than 7 total runs – the 2015 Kansas City Royals in Game 5 (7-2 game in extra innings no less) and the 2009 New York Yankees in Game 6 (10 total runs).
The average runs scored in those games clocks in at just 5.76, so if you are of a similar mindset in thinking the Astros do indeed close up shop on the 2019 MLB season in Game 6, 'under' should be on your card as well.
It's going to be hard for Washington to mentally and emotionally pick up the pieces after what happened to them at home, as winning two more games in Houston is too steep of a hill to climb for this team that's been a great story in 2019. So, sorry kids, Baby Shark dies once and for all in the MLB world on Tuesday night.