2019 National League Division Series Betting Odds and Preview: Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
The National League Division Series matchup is set following the miraculous win by the Washington Nationals in the NL Wild Card game. Their prize for winning that heart-stopping contest is a date with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The NLDS kicks off this Thursday at Dodger Stadium. Who will advance to the NLCS? Nitrogen Sports Blog provides an in-depth look at both the Nats and the Dodgers.
Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 2019 NLDS Betting Preview
Game 1: Nationals at Dodgers | Thursday, October 3, 8:37 PM
Game 2: Nationals at Dodgers | Friday, October 4, 8:37 PM
Game 3: Dodgers at Nationals | Saturday, October 5, 8:37 PM
*Game 4: Dodgers at Nationals | Sunday, October 6, 8:37 PM
*Game 5: Nationals at Dodgers | Tuesday, October 8, 8:37 PM
Betting on the Washington Nationals
The Nationals were not supposed to be here, as they were a dead team walking heading late in their Wild Card game against the Milwaukee Brewers. But they pulled off the improbable and scored three runs in the 8th inning to complete a 4-3 come-from-behind victory.
Now, they face an even more imposing task of defeating the Dodgers in the NLDS. Here’s what the Nationals have in their war chest heading into their Best-of-5 showdown with Clayton Kershaw in company.
Despite the manner they were rescued by their offense in the Wild Card round, the Nationals will go as far as where their starting rotation brings them. The Nationals entered the postseason with a collective 3.53 ERA among its starters, with Max Scherzer leading the group with a 2.92 ERA.
Scherzer, however, is not going to start Game 1 on a short rest. Scherzer had a rough Wild-Card performance, going five innings and giving up three earned runs on four hits. Stephen Strasburg had reliever work in that game, too, so that leaves the Nationals with Patrick Corbin as their NLDS Game 1 starter.
Corbin went 14-7 in the regular season with a 3.25 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. He’s been solid last September in which he had a 4-1 record and a 3.78 ERA. Corbin also held the Dodgers scoreless in six innings of work in a 6-0 road win back in May. He is 5-9 with a 3.36 ERA in 19 career starts against the Dodgers.
Scherzer is unlikely to start Game 2, as he would only have three full days of rest by then, so the Nats could gamble on giving the ball to Strasburg, who pitched for only three innings (34 pitches) against the Brewers. He is 1-1 this year against the Dodgers, but he limited them to just an earned run on two hits in seven innings of an 11-4 home win last July.
Relief pitching isn’t a strength of the Nats. In fact, it’s been one of the worst aspects of their game. They finished the regular season 29th in the majors with a bullpen that brandished a 5.68 ERA along with a 4.94 FIP. Sean Doolittle led the team with 29 saves, but he had a 4.05 ERA and a 4.25 FIP, while Daniel Hudson offers some stability after recording a 1.44 ERA this year.
The Nationals are one of the best in the majors in generating runs. They averaged 5.39 runs per game and were sixth in the regular season in hitting with a .265 clip. Washington boasts plenty of power, too, with a .454 slugging percentage.
Anthony Rendon is the MVP of the Nationals, thanks to his incredible work at the plate. He led his team in the regular season with a triple slash line of .319/.412/.598. Rendon has hit relatively well in his career against the Dodgers top-three starters. He is hitting .500 against Walker Buehler, .273 versus Hyun-Jin Ryu, and .263 opposite Kershaw. Rendon and Howie Kendrick also hit .321 and .316 on the road, respectively.
Betting on the Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have returned to the postseason for the seventh straight year, thanks to them topping the NL West with a 106-56 record — the best in the NL and second-best in the majors. They own the home-field advantage in this series against the Nationals. Moreover, the Dodgers won four of their seven meetings with Washington back in the regular season and were the favorites in all those games.
The Dodgers have the hurlers to matchup with the Nationals’ elite rotation. In fact, they own the best starters ERA in the MLB with Buehler and company combining for a 3.11 ERA. It’s fair to speculate that the Dodgers could go for Buehler in Game 1 because of his strong numbers at home. This year, the 25-year-old right-hander owns a 6-1 record and a 2.86 ERA in 14 starts at Dodger Stadium.
If Buehler will open the series for the Dodgers, then Ryu could get on the mound in Game 2. Ryu is 14-5 this season with a 2.32 ERA — the best among all qualified Dodgers starters. Of course, the Dodgers have Kershaw, who’s been notorious for his shortcomings in the postseason, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is still CLAYTON KERSHAW.
The lefty is 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA and is coming off a September stretch in which he went 3-1 (3.47 ERA). Kershaw allowed just two earned runs on three hits with nine strikeouts in 6.0 innings of a 9-3 road win over the Nationals back in July.
The Dodgers have their share of concerns with regards to their bullpen that still managed to end the regular season fifth overall with a 3.85 ERA, albeit also having a higher 4.06 FIP. The issue has always been about their closers. The Dodgers had the fourth-most blown saves count in the regular season with 29. The biggest culprit is Kyle Jansen, who led the team with 33 saves but also had eight blown saves.
Cody Bellinger is the leader of the Dodgers’ offense that averaged 5.47 runs per game prior to the postseason. Bellinger slashed .305/.406/.629 and had a 1.035 OPS in the regular season. However, Bellinger could have a frustrating series ahead of him, considering the anemic state of his bat when up against the Nationals’ top three starters.
He is only 5 for 34 in his career against Scherzer, Strasburg, and Corbin. In any case, the Dodgers’ offense is a whole lot more than just what Bellinger can produce. Corey Seager, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, and Joc Pederson are all problems for opposing hitters at the plate. The Dodgers posted a .338 and a 111 wRC+ this year –both top-five numbers in the majors.