By Charles Jay
This is it for the Washington Nationals, as they can go back home if they don’t win on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park. In this rather unpredictable World Series, the road team has won every game. And that means at this point that the Houston Astros will clinch their second world title in three years if one of the best pitchers of our time can come through with a strong effort.
It starts at 8:07 PM ET on Fox Network, and BetAnySports can watch the game and place wagers on it in progress as they access what is available at Live Betting Ultra.
The Nats lost Game 5 by a 7-1 score, and they had to deal with some unpleasant news right before the start, as Max Scherzer had to bow out with a big problem in his right trapezius, which resulted in him not being able to move his right arm. As he explained it, he woke up on Sunday and had to help himself up with his left arm only, and otherwise was pretty much helpless. He may be able to contribute tomorrow, having taken a cortisone shot, but this team has to get there.
And the Nats will have to get past Justin Verlander, who at least for a while was neck-and-neck with teammate Gerrit Cole as an American League Cy Young candidate.
But Washington, amazingly, has scored just one run in each of the three home games they have just played. So the offense needs to wake up. Strangely, they had success in the first two at Minute Maid, beating an Astros team that had gone 60-21 on their home field in the regular season. It was the tail end of a great run from the Nats, who had eight consecutive post-season wins before that fateful trip back to the nation’s capital.
In the MLB odds posted for World Series Game 6, the Astros and Verlander are big favorites:
Houston Astros (Verlander) -173
Washington Nationals (Strasburg) +163
Under 7.5 Runs -120
Over 7.5 Runs +100
Nats +1.5 Runs -135
Astros -1.5 Runs +115
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If it’s a go-or-die situation, there really couldn’t be a better guy for the Nationals to have on the mound than Stephen Strasburg, who has been very stingy as far as putting runner on base, not to mention a trooper who will make himself available for work out of the bullpen if necessary.
It’s not so much that Strasburg has been unhittable, but he has had amazing control in the post-season, walking just two batters against 40 strikeouts. This comes in 28 innings. And he’s really been consistent in the post-season during his career, with a 1.34 ERA over the course of his career.
Strasburg has gone six innings three times in his four playoff starts and seven inning since. The Nats won all four of these games. What we’re thinking about right now is how the bullpen might be managed by Dave Martinez, or if Strasburg is going to be asked to go seven innings or even longer.
Remember that the Washington bullpen has not been the strongest, and Scherzer probably wouldn’t be of much use unless it was a dire emergency, because the cortisone shot hasn’t taken full effect yet.
Somehow you can feel less confidence in the Nats’ bullpen that that of the Astros, because they had to burn some people the other night.
Verlander has not been an untouchable commodity on baseball’s biggest stage. In fact, he is now 0-5 in the World Series with a 5.73 ERA. Since a brilliant effort in Game 1 of the ALDS against Tampa Bay, in which he gave up one hit in seven innings, Verlander has given up 14 earned runs in 23-1/3 innings. So if you like Verlander at this price, you are looking for him, after 253 innings this year, to regain his dominant form.
If I’m looking for more value with this WagerWAR play, I am looking at Strasburg. When I see this price, it looks good, and in fact a lot better than the five-inning price, which is +130. I can’t see Strasburg going less than seven innings, unless he gets knocked out of the game. So it’s going to be the Nats in this one.
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