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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:56 PM

World Series Game 7 - Best Bet

World Series Game 7 (FOX, 8:07 p.m. ET)
Washington Nationals at Houston Astros

For the third time in the last four years we've got a Game 7 in the World Series, and the route that the 2019 edition took to get here was anything but conventional. Through six games the home team has yet to win a single one, something that's never happened before, and we've got the visiting Nationals as underdogs again with their best starter on the hill in Max Scherzer.

Scratching Scherzer from his Game 5 start appeared to be a horrible break at the time for Washington, but had you told them at the beginning of the series that they'd have him on what is essentially extended rest and ready to go for Game 7, they'd take that in a heartbeat. Scherzer will also have Games 3 and 4 starters Anibal Sanchez and Patrick Corbin at the ready in the bullpen should he need them, which isn't an all together bad back up plan either.

For Houston, they've been in this spot before as they needed seven games to get past the Dodgers two years ago, and did that in LA. That is a plus in the sense that the core of this team has felt the exact pressure of what a Game 7 in the World Series feels like and it will be interesting to see how it plays out tonight.

However, in terms of a negative similarity for Houston, it was in 2017 when they beat LA's prized trade deadline acquisition in Game 7 with the Dodgers starting Yu Darvish, and two years later, it's the Astros who are starting their big deadline get in Zack Greinke.

Greinke wasn't stellar for Houston in his Game 3 win, but he did more then enough as his history against this Nationals team suggested in this preview prior to that game. This Astros team will be hoping for a repeat performance tonight, and if they get it, chances are they will be celebrating their second title in three years.

So the only question that remains is: Who you got?

Game 7 MLB Betting Odds

Washington (+126) vs Houston (-136); Total set at 7.5

At this point of the series, there isn't a lot of new information to invest in, nor are there many surprises. We've all seen these teams go at it for six games, and with all hands on deck in a Game 7, the only thing that will really be out of the ordinary is how many starters end up coming into the game in a relief role. Chances are Washington is the more likely team to do so with Sanchez and Corbin rested, and with Scherzer's health still a bit of a question mark in terms of longevity on the mound tonight, I would venture we see at least one of them.

And while it's worked in the past for other teams – most notably Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants in 2014 – I've never been a big fan of it. Yes, you get a more quality arm coming into a higher leverage spot, but you are also putting guys in a position that's well out of their comfort zone. Winning is everything no doubt, but given the pressure of the situation already, having guys somewhat uncomfortable in a relatively new role for them may not be the best way to go about it.

Yes, Patrick Corbin has pitched well in relief since he blew up vs the LA Dodgers in the NLDS, but he still blew up in that situation. That was loaded with pressure too given that the team didn't exactly prefer to go down 2-1 in that series, and now the extent of the pressure is ramped up even more. I'm not a big fan of that at all, and let's just say that if Corbin (or even Sanchez) end up coming into the game tonight in a close game that's tied of has the Nationals up by a run, live betting Houston is something I almost assuredly will be doing.

In terms of a market outlook perspective, winner-take-all games like this are always going to see support for the underdog, especially one with their ace on the hill. That's not to say that's a bad betting option, but there really isn't much to glean from market moves and/or support. Remember, Washington action tonight could simply be bettors with Houston futures hedging their action (or vice versa really), which makes handicapping the market almost irrelevant.

The fact that historically we've never had a World Series that went the distance where the home team didn't win a single game is also something that I'm sure gets mentioned too. For some, it might be as simple as riding the road team again because it's paid off in this series, as there has got to be a first time for everything right. Maybe this is the World Series that a home team fails to win a game.

After all, road teams winning titles has been the theme this year in professional sports as it started with the Patriots/Rams Super Bowl back in February. New England was the designated road team there and won, the NBA Finals saw the road team go 5-1 SU -including winning the final five games, and the Stanley Cup Finals saw the visitors go 5-2 SU in that seven-game series.

The Nats would love to cap it off with a perfect 7-0 SU mark for the visiting side in the 2019 World Series and at plus-money with Scherzer starting it's not like there won't be plenty of support from them in the market. However, you won't find me as one of them, as I prefer to take a more personal approach to this contest.

Individually, I had a pretty successful year capping MLB at the site this year, but what I noticed early on in the summer through my handicapping process that plenty of my losses tended to come a day early. What I mean by that is the result I was looking for one day (that lost) tended to come in with ease in the following game for those teams (during the same series), so I started to not be shy about going back to the well. Couldn't explain why it happened that way, but handicapping the handicapper is another approach that can present a different viewpoint on a game, and it's always important to autopsy your own results during a given season.

So after getting my clock cleaned in Game 6 with Houston and the 'under', it would be those sides that I'd be interested in again here. Yet, I'm not screwing around with the total after coming up short with it yesterday thanks to all the 9th inning damage Washington caused began when there were 2 outs and nobody on. That's not the main reason I'm staying off this total, but it does play a part, but really it's more about the uncharacteristic ways this game could play out – ie with starters coming out of the bullpen in relief – that makes handicapping the total feel much more like trying to handicap a coin flip.

It does have me on the Astros though, as Greinke's history this year against this Washington lineup can't be ignored (2-0 SU with the Nats scoring a grand total of 1 run) and the fact that the Astros are at home and have a core who's been in this Game 7 in the World Series scenario before does count for something.

And while it's always hard to see something coming that's never happened before, the road team going a perfect 7-0 in the World Series is something I have a tough time seeing as a reality. Yes, road teams have been great in championship games across all sports this year, but in those other two sports that involved series play, the home team did manage to win at least once. I believe Houston keeps that trend alive with a win tonight.

Best Bet: Houston ML

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