MLB playoffs: Houston Astros look for second World Series title in three years against Washington Nationals

MLB: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve hit a walk-off home run to send his team to the World Series. Photo credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals (+185) vs. Houston Astros (-228), Best of 7

World Series, Game 1: Tuesday, October 22 at 8:08 pm ET

The final Major League Baseball series of 2019 is set, with the Houston Astros looking for their second World Series title in three seasons. The Astros will face the Washington Nationals.

Since moving from Montreal to Washington, the Nationals are 36-27 against the Astros but have lost 14 of their last 16 games, most recently in 2017. These clubs battled much more frequently when the Astros were in the National League.

These teams got to the World Series in very different ways, as the Astros blazed through the American League, winning 107 regular season games.

Meanwhile, the Nationals started the season 19-31 and got red-hot over the summer to take a National League Wild Card spot.

The starting pitching is going to be the most fascinating aspect of this series as both teams have rotations that are truly special.

MLB 2019 World Series odds: Houston Astros vs. Washington Nationals

The Nationals’ trio of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin all finished within the top four in the National League in strikeouts. Only the New York Mets’ Jacob deGrom had more.

This will be the Nationals’ first World Series appearance; they were one of two MLB clubs to never appear in a World Series before (Seattle Mariners).

The Astros performed similarly with right-handers Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander leading the American League in strikeouts.

Cole is +400 to be named World Series MVP, the most likely player on either side, according to PointsBet. Verlander is at +900. This makes sense as with Cole already announced as the Game 1 starter, there is a better chance of him appearing in more games in the World Series than Verlander.

The LCS MVP’s, Howie Kendrick and Jose Altuve, are +5000 and +600, respectively, to win World Series MVP.

A big question for the Nationals in this series is whether will rust be a factor. After sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in four games during the National League Division Series, the Nationals have been off since Tuesday, Oct. 15.

Teams that have swept through the League Championship Series round have often lost the World Series. Since 2012, the 2015 Mets, 2014 Kansas City Royals and 2012 Detroit Tigers have all swept the LCS and then went on to lose the World Series. In fact, a few teams were eliminated quickly, with the Mets losing in five games and the Tigers getting swept.

There aren’t too many success stories for teams that have more rest entering the World Series.

On PointsBet, you can bet on the World Series winner and number of games the series will last. The expectation at the moment is the Astros have a chance to win the series, and potentially fairly quickly, with Astros winning in six or five games the two most expected outcomes.

World Series winner (with number of games)odds
Houston Astros win series 4-2+300
Houston Astros win series 4-1+380
Houston Astros win series 4-3+400
Washington Nationals win series 4-3+550
Washington Nationals win series 4-2+750
Houston Astros win series 4-0+800
Washington Nationals win series 4-0+2,000

Prediction: Houston Astros win series 4-2 (+300)

With the -228 for the Astros to win the series not super favorable, let’s instead consider betting on the number of games the series will go in addition to the World Series winner. 

MLB: Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals are playing in their first World Series in franchise history. Photo credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros won 14 more games during the regular season than the Nationals. They have the superior lineup and bullpen along with homefield advantage, with the series starting and potentially ending in Houston.

It was thought entering the playoffs that the Astros’ only weakness was the middle relief in their bullpen but even that area has looked strong in October, with the Astros clinching the pennant in Game 6 over the New York Yankees in a nine-inning bullpen game.

The rust factor for Washington says history is not on their side.

This Astros team is one of the deepest and most talented teams of all time, so there’s a very solid chance they finish off their season with a World Series championship and quickly.

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