The Washington Nationals forced Game 7 of the 2019 World Series with a 7-2 victory in Tuesday’s Game 6. RHP Stephen Strasburg was the star, going 8 1/3 innings with five hits, two walks and two earned runs allowed while striking out seven. The 31-year-old gave up two runs in the bottom of the first inning as the Astros quickly erased an early 1-0 Nationals lead, but he quickly settled in and nearly went the distance. Now, it’s the Astros’ worst nightmare. Nationals RHP Max Scherzer will start the decisive Game 7 after being scratched from his projected Game 5 start due to neck spasms. RHP Zack Greinke gets the ball for Houston. Here, we make our Astros vs. Nationals World Series Game 7 picks for the moneyline, spread (run line) and over/under. We’ll shop the lines at DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook in order to find the best values.
Nationals 3B Anthony Rendon played the hero Tuesday, driving in a total of five runs. OFs Adam Eaton and Juan Soto gave the Nats a 3-2 lead with solo homers in the top of the fifth inning. Rendon took care of the rest. Washington manager Dave Martinez said before Game 6 that Scherzer will be clear to pitch “until his neck tells him he can’t anymore.” The Astros enter Game 7 with the home team not having won a game all series. The Nationals are trying to become the first National League team to win the World Series since the Chicago Cubs in 2016. They’re also looking to become just the sixth wild-card team – and first since the San Francisco Giants in 2014 – to win the world title.
Be sure to check out TheLines for a full breakdown of Wednesday’s pitching matchup and notes on both teams.
Astros vs. Nationals moneyline
The Astros remain moderate favorites on the moneyline with odds of -138 at FanDuel and -141 at DraftKings. The Nationals continue to receive plus money (+125 at DK, +120 at FD) despite their 3-0 road record and the return of their No. 1 ace. Both starters made one appearance in the first six games of the World Series. Scherzer allowed two runs over five innings in the Nats’ 5-4 Game 1 victory. He struck out seven against three walks and five hits. Greinke got the Astros their first win of the series while on the road in Game 3. He allowed just one earned run with six strikeouts and three walks over 4 2/3 innings, but wasn’t credited with the win himself.
The Nationals offense came back to life on Tuesday. Their seven-run outburst ended a skid of being held to a single marker in each of their three home games. The Astros enter the series finale with a 28-27 advantage in total runs through six games.
Outside of the win, Washington’s greatest achievement Tuesday (thanks to Strasburg) was the ability to preserve the bullpen. LHP Sean Doolittle entered the game in the bottom of the ninth for the final two outs. This means Daniel Hudson, Tanner Rainey and Fernando Rodney are all fresh and able to come in behind Scherzer. The Astros used Brad Peacock, Will Harris, Ryan Pressly and Chris Devenski over the final four innings after Verlander’s disappointing start in the loss.
It’s rare to find Scherzer with plus money. We need to take advantage of the opportunity as the Nationals win their first World Series in franchise history.
The Pick: Nationals +125 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Astros vs. Nationals run line
With the possible exception of Harris, the Astros still have plenty of available talent in their bullpen Wednesday. Jose Urquidy, Roberto Osuna, Joe Smith and Josh James will all be available in relief of Greinke. The Astros’ marquee trade-deadline acquisition lost each of his first two starts of the postseason before having his usage cut back in two shorter outrings both won by Houston. Scherzer has won three consecutive starts with Game 1 being the shortest of the three, but his 112 pitches were the most he’s thrown in a postseason appearance this year. In fact, Scherzer’s 112 pitches in Game 1 were his most in a single game since June 30 (115).
Greinke’s leash seems to have been shortened as a likely result of his struggles this year in his second pass through a batting order. He pitched to a 2.19 ERA the first time through during the regular season. That number rose to 4.44 on the second go-around before dropping to 2.08 on his third pass. Scherzer pitched to a 2.92 rate his first time against a batting order and a 3.53 mark his second time through.
The last five games of the series have each been decided by multiple runs. The visitors covered each time in victory. While backing the Nationals to win outright, double down with the spread for some added insurance, but the moneyline is much more profitable.
Astros vs. Nationals over/under
A series initially billed as one of the greatest rotation battles of all-time has gone 4-1-1 against the Over/Under. The lone Under of the series came in Greinke’s Game 3 start against Nationals RHP Anibal Sanchez. Both teams are now 6-3-1 against the O/U across their respective last 10 games.
The Over is 5-1-1 in the Astros’ last seven games against a right-handed starter and 6-1-1 in the Nationals’ last eight against a righty starter. It is 6-1-1 in the Nats’ last eight games overall and 5-1-1 in the ‘Stros’ last seven. The Over is also 35-17-6 in umpire Jim Wolf’s last 58 games behind home plate. This has been the easiest trend to follow in the World Series and the value remains on the higher number at both books.
The Pick: OVER 7.5 (+100 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
World Series Game 7 best bet
First to 5 Runs: WAS Nationals (+230 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
The Nationals scored five or more runs in each of their first three road victories in the series. More importantly for this prop, the Astros failed to score five runs in four of the first six games overall and each of their three home games. The Nationals scored at least five runs in two of Scherzer’s first four starts while the opponent scored at least five times in Greinke’s first three starts of the postseason.