Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#915 Washington Nationals 7 vs.
#916 Los Angeles Dodgers -160
Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at 8:37pm EDT
Written by Sporty Jordy

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When and where: October 9, 2019, Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA, 8:37 PM ET

A trip to the National League Championship Series is on the line in Wednesday’s Game 5 of the NLDS between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers. With their backs against the ropes, the Nationals came out swinging in Sunday’s 6-1 shellacking of the Dodgers. However, they’ll face even longer odds in a closeout game slated to take place at Dodger Stadium. Do they have what it takes to upend the Dodgers in a massive upset? A pitching duel between Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg and Los Angeles’ Walker Buehler takes center stage in the series finale.

Can Strasburg pull off another upset?

Who better to take another slingshot at the moon than Stephen Strasburg?

He hit his mark as a starting pitcher in Game 2 of the series, when he threw 10 strikeouts in six innings, while only allowing one earned run. A repeat performance would instantly be remembered as one of the greatest moments in Nationals’ franchise history. Imagine the Wild Card Nationals bursting onto the scene and knocking off the No. 1-ranked Dodgers—a team most expected to advance all the way to the World Series.

Pitching has been key in this series considering both wins have come in games where the Nationals have held the Dodgers to no more than two runs. It’ll be interesting to see if they can muster that sort of dominant performance in a high-profile closeout game.

“I mean, for me, I think it just comes down to execution,” Strasburg said on Monday, via ESPN.com. “I try and focus on the things I can control, and good pitching is supposed to get good hitting out most of the time. They always say a guy that gets a hit three out of 10 times is in the Hall of Fame, so I’m trying to get him out those seven other times.”

There’s no questioning Strasburg being up for the task. The three-time MLB All-Star is throwing a 3.32 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP with an 18-6 record on the season. He averaged a 2.08 ERA in two games played against the Dodgers this year.

Are the Dodgers in trouble?

Welcome to playoff baseball.

This has been nothing like the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins series, where the Yankees rolled over the opposition with three consecutive wins and punched their ticket to the championship series. The Dodgers are in real trouble against the Nationals, who haven’t backed down since getting shut out 6-0 in the series opener.

A trip to the World Series isn’t promised for the Dodgers, and if they come up short on offense again on Wednesday, they’ll be watching another team representing the National League on the big stage. After crushing the Nationals with a 10-run effort on Sunday, they were held to only one run at the plate in Monday’s loss to the Dodgers. That isn’t going to cut it against a well-rounded opponent like the Nationals.

Buehler carries the pride of Los Angeles on his shoulders when he gets the green light to start on Wednesday. The 25-year-old right-handed pitcher is throwing a 3.26 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP with a 14-4 record on the season. His last postseason appearance ended in a six-inning shutout against the Nationals in the series opener.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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An image of the Nationals celebrating an NLDS victory in the middle of Dodger Stadium would make for quite the money shot for Thursday’s newspapers. Everyone loves a great underdog story, and it would be surprising to see the Wild Card Nationals eliminate the No. 1-ranked Dodgers and move on to the NLCS.

But the likelihood of that happening falls into the pipe dream category.

The Nationals got their one win of the series at Dodger Stadium, which is second only to Minute Maid Park as the toughest place to play at this season. They’ll be facing a Dodgers team that is 59-22 when playing at home. Not to mention Buehler is 6-1 on the season with a 2.86 ERA at Dodger Stadium. The odds of upstaging him after his flawless Game 1 performance aren’t in the Nationals’ favor.

Even with Strasburg on the mound, it’s hard to envision the Nationals holding the Dodgers to two runs or less in back-to-back games. The Dodgers have been a team that has consistently responded well in bounce-back performances. Wednesday will be no different as they turn up the heat on the Nationals in another high-stakes game. The magic carpet ride has run its course for the Nationals. I’m taking the Dodgers to close things out with a win to clinch a spot in the NLCS.

Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers (-161)

Full-Game Total Pick

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A strong defensive effort is to be expected in a game between the Nationals and Dodgers with Strasburg and Buehler on the mound. The Nationals couldn’t even score a run against the Dodgers the last time Buehler was the starting pitcher. Given their ability to rattle teams at home, I’m banking on there being plenty of similarities between this game and the first in the series, when the Nationals couldn’t get anything going at the plate. The combination of nerves, great defense and even better pitching will ensure the under is the winning betting total here.

Prediction: Under (7)

First Five Innings Side Pick

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The Dodgers are at home and they are the better team. That helps when the pitching matchup is so close. Even though the pressure is on the Dodgers, they have too many good hitters not to be productive. At least productive enough to lead after seven innings in a tight one.

Prediction: LA Dodgers -1.50 (+165) after first seven innings

First Five Innings Total Bet

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This should be a quick game, at least when Buehler and Strasburg pitch. That may change after the bullpen comes in, if they do because both starters will want to go at least seven. Buehler was nearly unhittable in his first start against the Nats and Strasburg allowed just one run in his first outing. This should be a 1-0 or 1-1 game after five innings. Go under.

Prediction: Total first five innings Under 3.50 (-110)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.