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Nationals’ World Series Odds Continue to Fall Despite Winning 9 of 11

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in MLB Baseball

Updated Apr 6, 2020 · 6:06 PM PDT

Max Scherzer
The Washington Nationals are finally starting to heat up after a disappointing first two months of the season. Photo by Arturo Pardavila III (flickr) [CC License].
  • The Washington Nationals’ average World Series odds have been lengthened to +4300
  • The Nats were a huge disappointment in the first two months of the season, but are starting to turn things around
  • Is now the time to jump back on Washington?

The Washington Nationals are  finally starting to play up to their potential. They’ve reeled off wins in 9 of their last 11 games, including a walk-off victory over the White Sox on Wednesday afternoon.

The Nats have won four straight series for the first time in over a year, but despite the improved play, their average World Series Odds continue to get worse.

2019 World Series Odds Among NL East Teams

Team Odds at Sportsbook 1 Odds at Sportsbook 2 Odds at Sportsbook 3
Philadelphia Phillies +1300 +850 +1200
Atlanta Braves +1800 +1400 +2200
New York Mets +5000 +2800 +5000
Washington Nationals +5500 +3500 +4000
Miami Marlins +200000 +400000 +100000

*Odds taken 06/06/19

As you can see their price varies wildly across different online sportsbooks, but no matter where you look their odds are nowhere near the +1500 they were back in January. They dug themselves a huge hole by starting the season 19-31, but there are plenty of reasons to believe this recent hot streak could continue.

The Nats’ Stars are Starting to Shine

Washington is finally getting elite production from their starting rotation and their offense. The Nationals bats have averaged over seven runs a game in their last 10, while Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez have returned to their dominant selves after slow starts.

Sanchez has allowed just one run in his last two outings, while striking out 14, and Scherzer is fresh off 15 punch outs in his most impressive start of the season.

The three-time Cy Young winner has surrendered just two runs in his last three outings, and has now allowed two runs or fewer in five of his past six starts.

He ranks second in the NL in WAR among pitchers, and is one of three Nats starters to rank inside the top six, along with Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin. Washington’s starting rotation is the strongest unit on the team, and if weren’t for a lousy bullpen their record would be significantly better.

Bullpen Woes

The Nationals bullpen has a 6.68 ERA this season, while no other team in baseball has an ERA above 6.00. They have a minuscule 63.2% strand rate, and are surrendering 1.62 home runs per nine innings.

They’ve blown 12 saves already in 2019 and have given up 37 runs this season to the New York Mets alone. They’re in desperate need of some fresh talent to solidify the unit, and if they don’t get some soon there’s no chance they can compete for a title. No team in MLB history has won a World Series with a bullpen this bad and there’s no reason to think Washington can change that this season.

Resist Betting the Nats for Now

As tempting as Washington’s long odds are, I cannot justify pulling the trigger until their bullpen is improved. They were a perfect candidate to pay up for Craig Kimbrel before he was signed by the Cubs, but unless they acquire a top end arm their World Series prospects seem slim. I’d rather continue to hammer the Astros odds, which still seem like a bargain at +300.

They have an embarrassment of riches on offense and two legit Cy Young candidates at the top of their rotation. Their +94 run differential is the best in the AL and they haven’t lost a series in over a month.

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