World Series Odds for the 2019 Fall Classic
With one blast off the bat of Jose Altuve, the Houston Astros launched their way into the 2019 Fall Classic and dispatched the New York Yankees in dramatic fashion. The 2019 MLB season was one defined by home runs and relievers having trouble closing out games, and the ACLS was pitch perfect. The Astros went from heartbreak to heaven in the span of one inning as Roberto Osuna gave up a game-tying two-run homer to DJ Lemahieu in the top of the ninth. It was a flyball just out of the reach of a leaping George Springer, who lent credence to his well-suited last name; the rightfielder skied several feet over the short porch in right but came up just short of snagging one of the best catches in baseball history. It only set the stage for the Lilliputian terror.
After a two-out walk by Springer, Altuve got ahead in the count 2-0 and took a beautiful slider for strike one. He then sat on the same slider 2-1, got a hanger, and sent it screaming out to right to finish off the Yankees. Now the Astros will look to claim their second World Series title in the last three years when they take on the upstart Washington Nationals beginning in Houston on Tuesday night.
World Series Odds and How the Pitching Power Will Decide the World Series
In a season defined by a drastic shift in pitching philosophy—one that saw the normalization of The Opener—the 2019 World Series looks to be a throwback to yesteryear. The 2019 World Series will feature workhorses that would look as comfortable on the mountainous mounds of the 1960s as they are in the juiced ball (or is it not-juiced ball) of 2019.
The collection of starting pitching for this series is something out of a video game: one of the greatest pitching prospects of all-time? Check. 300+ strikeout pitchers? Double Check. Cy Young Award Winners? Triple Check. This series will come down to some of the most dominant pitchers in the game today: Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, and Zach Greinke for the Astros, and Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg for the Nationals.
When looking at which one of these teams might have the advantage, the online sportsbooks—as they have almost all season long—are leaning towards the Astros. The Astros odds to win the World Series currently sit at -190. They can throw Verlander, Cole and Greinke and expect that triumvirate to start six of the possible seven games. Even though all three had their troubles in the ALCS (against the panic-inducing lineup of the Yankees), most sportsbooks put the World Series odds for the Astros as the clear favorites.
Bu the Nationals are a team nobody is sleeping on at this point of the playoffs. The Nationals swept the St. Louis Cardinals out of the NLCS and barely let the Cardinals think—for even a second—that scoring runs, much less winning a game or series, was remotely possible. Yes, the Astros lineup will have its hands full with Scherzer and Strasburg, both fireballers who can pelt changes in the high 80s, but Anibal Sanchez put together one of the best starts of his career in Game One of the NLCS and Patrick Corbin was smoking fastballs by the Cardinals in Game Four. The Nationals odds to win the World Series are a comfortable +164 with some sportsbooks putting the World Series odds for the Nationals as high as +180.
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Deciding Factors, Lineups and a Fun World Series Prop Bet
On paper, the Houston Astros lineup is much better than the Washington Nationals: with Springer, Altuve, and Carlos Correa leading the way, the Astros lineup is about as scary as it gets 1-9. However, as the NL playoffs showed, the Nationals are playing like a team of destiny at the moment. Mr. National, Ryan Zimmerman, is at the end of his stellar career, but still has enough power to pick up four extra base knocks in the playoffs. However, it is guys like Anthony Rendon and Howie Kendrick who might make bettors doubt putting money against the Nationals.
Rendon has been superb throughout the playoffs and was a one-man wrecking crew against the Los Angeles Dodgers; he went 7-for-17 with three doubles, five RBI, five runs scored and a game changing solo shot off of Clayton Kershaw in Game Five of the NLDS. Rendon’s home run cut the lead to deficit to 4-3 in the eighth inning and one pitch later Juan Soto tied the game with a blast of his own. But it was in extras when things were decided, and the Nationals found their hero.
Howie Kendrick—who was porous in the field and left a small tribe of runners on the basepaths all series long—crushed a grand slam to center field in extra innings to give the Nationals a 7-3 lead and eventual win. That propelled Kendrick. After being the lowercase goat for most of the NLDS, Kendrick lit up the Cardinals in the NLCS and was eventually named the NLCS MVP.
Now with the Nationals rested thanks to sweeping the Cardinals and the Astros coming off of a grueling series against the Yankees, is there any of these teams that can completely take advantage of the other? Can the Astros ride their momentum and drop the Nationals, or will the rested Nationals have everything set up perfectly against the ‘Stros. For those thinking about a World Series Prop Bet on a sweep, the option is available at +600 for a sweep with a non-sweep coming in at -1100. No matter what, the 2019 Fall Classic is sure to live up to the hype. Power pitching, power hitting, and maybe divine power to decide baseball’s best team in 2019.