- The Nationals and Dodgers play a winner-take-all Game 5 in LA on Wednesday
- Two front-line starters, Stephen Strasburg and Walker Buehler, toe the rubber
- Is the better bet the Dodgers at home or surging Nationals?
On Monday night, the Nationals won more than a simple Game 4 elimination contest. Trailing the Dodgers 2-1 in the best-of-five National League Division Series, Washington would do anything it took to keep its season alive. However, with a comfortable 5-1 lead after five innings, they were able to resist using Stephen Strasburg out of the bullpen, and now he is fresh to start the winner-take-all Game 5 on Wednesday (8:37 PM ET).
Let’s take a look look at the opening odds for the Nationals and Dodgers Game 5 and see where we might find a betting edge.
Dodgers vs. Nationals NLDS Game 5 Odds
|Nationals (S. Strasburg, RHP)||+137||+1.5 (-170)||Over 7 (-125)|
|Dodgers (W. Buehler, RHP)||-147||-1.5 (+150)||Under 7 (+105)|
*Odds taken 10/07/19.
The two teams split the opening two contests in LA, each won a game in DC, and now the decisive game returns to Hollywood. Strasburg, who won Game 2, will meet Walker Buehler, who captured Game 1 for LA. Want more drama? Clayton Kershaw will be available in the LA bullpen, and don’t count an inning in relief for Nats top dog Max Scherzer, even though he went seven innings (109 pitches) on Monday.
The Nationals have never won a playoff series. When the franchise was still in Montreal (1969-2004), it only managed to win one (1981 NLDS). In four playoff appearances as the Nationals, Washington has lost in Game 5 three times.
As for the Dodgers, they are trying to reach the World Series for a third straight season, and this time get over the hump and win the Fall Classic. They have not celebrated a title since 1988 despite reaching the playoffs each of the last six seasons, and 12 times since beating the A’s three decades ago.
There is a strong argument to be made that the Nationals were the second-best team in the National League this year, only behind LA. They started the season poorly, but finished very strong. going 35-16 to close the regular season. They have an elite offense, and good starting pitching, though the bullpen is extremely weak.
Not having a good bullpen shouldn’t be a huge factor on Wednesday. Strasburg will be asked to give everything he has, and the bullpen will consist of anybody they want, including two-time All Star starter Patrick Corbin, Aníbal Sánchez, and perhaps Scherzer.
It should not be surprising that Strasburg was terrific in Game 2. He fired six innings of one-run ball, allowing three hits and no walks while striking out 10. That continues a trend of outstanding postseason work. Strasburg has worked in five career postseason games and yielded two earned runs on 19 hits in 28 innings while fanning 38 batters.
In 11 career starts against LA, Strasburg has a 2.54 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. Despite even better numbers in four starts at Dodger Stadium, 2.08 ERA and 0.85 WHIP, Strasburg is 0-3 in those games.
Los Angeles Dodgers
There is no disputing LA was the top dog on the Senior Circuit from the start to the end. They won nine more games than any NL team, and led the league in scoring while giving up the fewest runs. Offense, defense, starters, bullpen, depth, veterans, and young guys: the Dodgers have it all.
One of the young guys, 25-year-old former first-round pick Walker Buehler gets the ball for LA. He was dominant in Game 1, firing six innings of one-hit shutout ball while walking three and striking out seven.
Buehler was mediocre in one Division Series start last year, and two NLCS appearances didn’t go well, but he was tremendous over seven shutout innings in the World Series against the Red Sox.
During the regular season this year, Buehler went 14-4 with a 3.26 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. He has allowed five earned runs on 13 hits over 13.1 career innings against Washington.
At any sign of weakness, LA manager Dave Roberts could use Clayton Kershaw in relief. Like Scherzer for Washington, he is a great ace in the hole, but unlike the Nats’ bulldog, Kershaw is well rested.
The Dodgers are the most likely winner, but do they have a 60% chance of doing so? That is what their -147 price suggests. The odds seem about right, but the total may be vulnerable.
You are getting +105 that this is an extremely low scoring affair. However, when the likely pitchers are the best of the best, one elite starter followed by another, that seems pretty likely. Also, Dodger Stadium is a great pitcher’s park; it was the seventh-lowest scoring ballpark in the majors this year and was bottom-five last year.
Let’s take the under and hope the great arms keep the bats at bay.
Pick: Under 7.0 (+105)
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