The Washington Nationals left the Houston Astros shell shocked after taking Game 2 in a devastating fashion on Wednesday night. Now, the series transitions to the nation’s capital where the Nats look to take a commanding 3-0 lead when they host the Astros on Friday.
To do so, they’ll have to get past the Astros third ace in Zack Greinke, who has owned the Nationals in the past. But don’t overlook Washington starter Anibal Sanchez. The veteran makes his first start in the Fall Classic since 2012 and is pitching as well as anyone. From the first pitch to the final out, we break down the best ways to wager Game 3 of the World Series.
HOUSTON ASTROS AT WASHINGTON NATIONALS (+130, 8 @ BETAMERICA)
Sanchez has been an added bonus for Dave Martinez and his already excellent rotation. The right-hander has pitched to 1.86 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP over his last six starts, which includes allowing just one runs on five hits over 12.2 innings pitched.
Sanchez now goes up against an Astros lineup that has been underachieving this postseason. Houston is hitting just .216 this postseason and are hitting just .175 with runners in scoring position. The right-hander also does some of his best work in the opening frame, pitching to a 2.40 ERA and limiting opponents to a .195 batting average in the first inning this season.
With Greinke going in a must-win spot for the Astros, we like the opening frame to be scoreless.
Pick: Run in the First Inning - No (-120)
FIRST FIVE INNINGS
Speaking of Greinke, while his postseason hasn’t been as smooth as he would like, he’s allowed four runs on 10 hits over his last 10.1 postseason innings and he has pitched extremely well against the Nats over the course of his career.
In nine career starts against the Nationals, Greinke owns a 1.27 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP, which includes a 7.1 inning, two-hit, shutout performance back in June when he was still a member of the Diamondbacks. In fact, he has allowed just one run in his last 28.1 innings of work against the Nationals. This type of situation is exactly why the Astros acquired Greinke. We think he’ll be up to the task in Game 3.
Pick: Under 4.5 First Five Innings (-120)
FULL GAME TOTAL
Under bettors were probably pretty happy in Game 2, that is, until the seventh inning happened. Heck, it was still only 3-2 with two outs before the wheels came off. Then some walks, an infield single, a wild pitch and an error and it was all over. And Over for that matter. But we’re not expecting that to continue in Game 3.
Both starters are well rested and, in a position, to succeed. And neither team had to use their top end relievers in Game 2 and have now had an extra day of rest, so they’ll be ready to go heading into this one. With the Astros inconsistencies at the plate and maybe the Nats gripping the bats a little tighter with a World Series title just two wins away, Game 3 should be a low scoring one.
Pick: Under 8
FULL GAME SIDE
When this series began, not many people predicted that the Nationals would be heading home with a 2-0 series lead. But thanks to some stellar starting pitching, and a smart approach at the plate the Nationals have won eight straight games, joining the 2004 Boston Red Sox, the 2005 Chicago White Sox and the 2014 Kansas City Royals as the only clubs to accomplish that feat in a single postseason.
But the Astros won 107 games for a reason and they know what it takes to win it all. And they do have some past success against Sanchez. Jose Altuve, George Springer, Michael Brantley, and Robinson Chirinos are a combined 20-for-53 (a .377 batting average) against him in their careers.
The Astros are the more talented team with the more talented pitcher on the mound in this one. They may not come all the way back and win the World Series, but they’ll make the Nationals earn it.
Pick: Astros -140