World Series Game 5 Betting Picks, Predictions & Odds: Do Nationals Have a Prayer Without Scherzer?

World Series Game 5 Betting Picks, Predictions & Odds: Do Nationals Have a Prayer Without Scherzer? article feature image

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Alex Bregman.

  • The updated betting odds for Sunday's World Series Game 5 has the Houston Astros as a -215 moneyline favorite and the Washington Nationals as +192 underdogs.
  • The over/under sits at 8 after opening at 7.5.
  • Let's breakdown the best betting picks for Game 5, including how to play the over/under.

Editor’s note: Max Scherzer was scratched from Sunday’s Game 5; Joe Ross will start in his place. Washington is reportedly hoping to get 75-80 pitches out of Ross. Any bets placed on the game should be “No Action” if you used the “Listed Pitcher” option. The odds shifted from the Astros being a -150 favorite and the Nationals being a +140 underdog to Houston -225 and Washington +201. The over/under is now 7.5, with it trending toward 8. 

Astros vs. Nationals Betting Picks, Odds & Predictions for World Series Game 5

Probable starters: Gerrit Cole (2052.50 ERA) vs. Joe Ross (3-4, 5.90 ERA)

  • Astros odds: -225
  • Nationals odds: +201
  • Over/Under: 7.5 (o-125)
  • First pitch: 8:07 p.m. ET on FOX

Odds as of Sunday morning and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

The Nationals continued to struggle with runners on base in Game 4, finishing 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position (RISP), putting them into a 1-for-19 hole with RISP over the past two nights.

It also marked the second time this season that the Nationals were held to one run or less in back-to-back games.

With the World Series now tied at two games apiece, Washington has to face Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander again in Games 5 and 6.

Despite struggling for the past two nights, the Nats will surely be confident after touching up Cole and Verlander for nine combined runs between Games 1 and 2.

And if they can beat that duo four times in the span of four starts, the Nats’ World Series victory would indeed be something special.

Can they continue to get to Cole, as so few teams have?

The Starters

In Game 1 of the World Series, Cole lost for the first time since May 22, allowing five runs on eight hits over seven innings (1 BB, 6 K). 

I have noted the following things about Cole during these playoffs:

  • Led the American League in FIP (2.68), xFIP (2.48), WAR (7.4) and strikeouts (326) in 2019
  • Led MLB starters in 2019 with a 16.8% swinging-strike rate and a 49.1% contact rate on pitches outside of the zone
  • Owns the second-fastest fastball in MLB, which was the most valuable pitch of the 2019 season
  • Eliminated his sinker usage since joining the Astros, partially leading to an uptick in performance

He was dominant in the ALDS and ALCS, but Cole wasn’t sharp in Game 1 of the World Series falling behind 14 of the 29 batters he faced.

The home run he allowed to Ryan Zimmerman was a 97 mph fastball, middle-middle:

Cole knew it was gone the moment the pitch left his hand:

He still recorded eight swinging strikes with his fastball in Game 1 and has 35 in total with the fastball during the postseason.

Cole throws absolute gas, but he needs to locate appropriately to be effective.

He remains the pitcher that posted a 1.73 ERA (2.45 FIP) without losing a game from June through mid-October and seems primed for a bounceback effort in Game 4.

Joe Ross spent much of 2018 recovering from Tommy John Surgery, and his 2019 performance has been up and down.

For his career, Ross owns pretty staggering splits, allowing a .286 wOBA to lefties, and a .367 wOBA to righties:

That being said, the Astros lineup is mostly right-handed, but bats like Yordan Alvarez, Josh Reddick, and Kyle Tucker could present a real problem.

The slider is Ross’s most useful pitch, but it has returned a negative pitch value over each of the past two seasons.

The Bullpens

On the season, the Astros bullpen ranks 11th in FIP, first in xFIP and first in K-BB%. By the same metrics, the Nationals rank 26th, 29th, and 23rd.

The Nationals fell behind and used only Tanner Rainey (13 pitches) among their group of three key relievers (which includes Sean Doolittle and Daniel Hudson) in Game 4.

Fernando Rodney pitched his third consecutive game in this series and has now tossed 61 pitches in the past four days — he is likely unavailable on Sunday.

For the Astros, Josh James pitched for the third consecutive game, while Will Harris pitched for the third time in four days.

The pair have each thrown 50 pitches in those outings, and it remains to be seen if the Astros would use either one for a third consecutive day.

Additionally, Brad Peacock pitched the past two days for the Astros (53 pitches combined), and it seems unlikely that he would pitch again on Sunday.

Projected Lineups

(Data per FantasyLabs)

Umpire and Weather Report

(Data per Sports Insights)

Lance Barksdale will be the plate umpire for Game 5. He is the second-most profitable umpire for under bettors in our database, generating +$3,754 for a consistent $100 bettor (246-196-26, 55.7%).

Unders are 2-0-2 in Barksdale’s four postseason games.

He is also the most profitable umpire for home teams at 284-183 (60.8%), suitable for a profit of +$2,139 for favorites and +$3,692 for underdogs.

Home underdogs are 80-63 (55.9%) straight-up under Barksdale’s watch.

Series Moneyline Corner

With the series tied 2-2, and Scherzer scratched from Game 5, I now project the Astros to win the World Series 69% of the time — implied odds of -223.

As a point of comparison, I projected the Astros as a -186 World Series favorite (implied 65%) before Game 1.

Oddsmakers have re-listed the Astros as a -275 series favorite (implied 73.3%) before Game 4, with the Nationals listed as a +230 underdog. 


I see a 0.7% gap in expected value between the Nationals’ series price (+230, implied 30.3%) and my projection (+223, implied 31%).

Model Projected Odds: World Series Game 5

Favorite Bets

I projected the Astros as a -187 favorite in Game 5 against Joe Ross, and I set the total at 9.64 runs.

Therefore, I see actionable value on the over, and slight value on the Nationals. 

I would play the Nationals down to +219 (implied 31.3%) on the full game moneyline — a 3.5% percent edge compared to my projection.

However, I would need a price closer to +315 (implied 24.1%) to play the Nats on the F5 moneyline.

I played over 7.5 (-115) for a half-unit at an 8.8% edge and would set the cutoff at 8 (-125) or 8.5 (-110), a 3.8% edge for either.

I played the Astros team total over 4.5 (-120) for a full unit (a 6.5% edge) and would play that number to -138 (a 4% edge).

[In New Jersey? Bet Game 5 of the World Series at PointsBet]

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