Now that we’ve pared Major League Baseball to two teams, it’s time to dig into the systems and trends you’ll want to keep an eye on as we handicap the World Series. It should be interesting, with teams known for their incredible pitching rotations squaring off. The Astros have arguably the best 1-2 punch in baseball with Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander, but the Nationals certainly aren’t far behind with their duo of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Although Houston was a No. 1 seed in the American League and Washington advanced as an NL wild card, most experts are expecting a competitive series. Here are the trends heading into the series and before the Nationals’ 5-4 victory in Game 1 on Tuesday night.
WORLD SERIES System 1
Home- field advantage hasn’t meant a lot in recent World Series, with hosts on a 9- 12 slide in the last 21 opportunities dating to 2015 (42.8%, -6.35 Units, -30.2% R.O.I., Grade 56).
Analysis: Home-field advantage was a much bigger deal in earlier rounds of the playoffs. Be careful not to overvalue this factor in the World Series, as the best teams in the league know how to win on the road as well.
WORLD SERIES System 2
Dating to 2005, only one of the L7 World Series home underdogs of 120 or more has won (16.7%, -4.45 Units, -63.5% R.O.I., Grade 54).
Analysis: Teams become large road favorites in the World Series when they are dominant or have an elite starting pitcher going. In games with the biggest stakes, it hasn’t been fruitful to fade either.
WORLD SERIES System 3
Strangely, the most profitable home teams in the World Series recently have been those in the -105 to -115 range, or the very short favorites, as those teams are on a 9-2 run since 2000 (81.8%, 6.8 Units, 61.8% R.O.I., Grade 65).
Analysis: It seems that home-field advantage has been the deciding factor in games that are expected to be tight. There could be one or two of these in the games the Nationals host.
WORLD SERIES System 4
Overall, on totals, there has been a 53.4% lean to the under in World Series games over the L22 years. However, in games with totals of 7 or less, over is on a 25-14-1 run (64.1%, 9.6 Units, 24.6% R.O.I., Grade 54).
Analysis: It is always risky to play very low totals when good teams are playing, as they typically make it to the World Series by having good offenses too.
WORLD SERIES System 5
World Series teams have struggled putting together back-to-back wins recently, going 8-15 in the game following a victory (34.7%, -9.25 Units, -40.2% R.O.I., Grade 62).
Analysis: With a lot of back-and -forth in the World Series recently, teams that can string together wins wind up having a huge advantage in the series.
WORLD SERIES System 6
World Series Game 4s have been the most clearly dominated by the road teams, 11-4 since ‘04
(73.3%, 7.9 Units, 52.7% R.O.I., Grade 65).
Analysis: Game 4 is usually a definitive contest, as the better team, or the one with home-field advantage in the series, is playing on the road, and the lesser team often has its fourth starter going.
WORLD SERIES System 7
World Series home teams that scored 7 or more runs in the previous game have surged to a 15-4 run since 1998 (78.9%, 9.85 Units, 51.8% R.O.I., Grade 65).
Analysis: Offensive momentum has proved a huge factor for home teams’ continuing success in World Series play.
WORLD SERIES System 8
World Series road teams that scored 2 or fewer runs in the previous game are on an incredible 13-3 surge since ’10. (81.3%, 13.3 Units, 83.1% R.O.I., Grade 80).
Analysis: These road teams would tend to be the least attractive wagers in the betting public’s eyes, but they have been quality teams highly capable of bouncing back.
WORLD SERIES System 9
World Series home teams that allowed 6 or more runs in the previous game are on a 12-3 run since ‘09 (80%, 8.5 Units, 56.7% R.O.I., Grade 65).
Analysis: Again, a system that defies public bettors’ logic. World Series teams have shown resilience, being able to bounce back well from lesser performances.
WORLD SERIES System 10
World Series road underdogs that hit 3 or more home runs in the previous game have lost nine straight games (0%, -9 Units, 100% R.O.I., Grade 65).
Analysis: A current losing streak for road teams that had a nice power surge last game, be careful not to assume this pattern will continue.