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World Series Game 7: How many pitchers will we see?

By Jeff Fogle  ( 

The Clash of the Titans goes the distance! Los Angeles defeats Houston 3-1 to force a Game 7 in the 2017 World Series. Details ahead…plus our college football “market” Power Ratings and how they compare to the formal debut of the Playoff Rankings.

World Series: Dodgers win Game 6 pitcher’s duel…how many pitchers will we see in Game 7?!

Stunning how Game 6 traced the footsteps of Game 2 on the same field…down to Rich Hill leaving in the fifth inning…the Astros wasting opportunities…Justin Verlander staying later but showing why it’s dangerous for even a dominant starter to see the top of a great lineup a third time through…all the way to Kenley Jansen going for the two-inning save. Both Verlander/Hill showdowns were 3-1 after seven innings! The difference here…Jansen pitched a spotless final two innings to slam the door shut before any heck could break lose in extra frames. 

LA Dodgers (-130) 3, Houston 1

  • Totals Bases Plus Walks Drawn: Houston 12, LA Dodgers 10
  • Verlander: 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 K, 0 BB, 0 HR’s
  • Hill: 4.2 IP, 1ER, 5 K, 1 BB, 1 HR

There’s another similarity to G2, as Houston’s offense won TB plus W in regulation but didn’t have the lead after nine. Credit LAD’s pitchers for getting every out they needed when they needed them. Verlander was untouchable until the sixth…when he allowed a leadoff single to Austin Barnes, hit pinch-hitter Chase Utley with a pitch, allowed an RBI double to Chris Taylor (starting the third time through), and then a sac fly to Corey Seager. That quickly, 1-0 Houston turned to 2-1 the other way…as Houston gradually slid from series favorite to series underdog. 

Updating our game-by-game TB plus Walk summary…

Game 1: LA Dodgers 14, Houston 6

Game 2: Houston 34, LA Dodgers 20

Game 2: Houston 20, LA Dodgers 10 (in regulation)

Game 3: Houston 23, LA Dodgers 11

Game 4: LA Dodgers 14, Houston 10

Game 5: Houston 37, LA Dodgers 33

Game 5: Houston 35, LA Dodgers 32 (in regulation)

Game 6: Houston 12, LA Dodgers 10

The Dodgers STILL have only had one good offensive game in regulation, with a 9-inning line of 14-10-11-10-33-10. Houston hit several balls hard early in Tuesday action, but couldn’t break through.

Wednesday’s Game 7: Houston at the LA Dodgers (8:15 p.m. ET, 5:15 p.m. PT on FOX)

  • Money line: LA Dodgers -140, Houston plus 130
  • Run Line: LA Dodgers -1.5 runs (plus 160), Houston plus 1.5 runs (-180)
  • Over/Under: 7.5 (Under -120)

The G7 lines went up offshore and in Las Vegas not long after G6 ended. What we’re showing above captures the consensus after first moves toward the Dodgers off the openers that were around -125. By the time you read this Wednesday morning, things may have changed dramatically. And, given the tendency for this series to bring out HUGE money on game day, who knows what will happen in the marketplace between now and the first pitch. Be sure you watch VSiN programming throughout the day for all the latest developments. 

All the recent talk about Yu Darvish not being able to throw his slider is going to loom large over this finale. If he really can’t perform to his norms…then the Astros will light him up (as they did in G3). If he can, it’s possible that the starting pitchers cancel out before an “all hands on deck” mentality brings in a slew of arms.

Pitching “Three True Outcomes” from Regular Season

  • L. McCullers Jr.: 3.17 xFIP, 25.8 K%, 7.8 BB%, 0.61 HR’s per 9 IP
  • Yu Darvish: 3.65 xFIP, 27.3 K%, 7.6 BB%, 1.30 HR’s per 9 IP

McCullers has been sharp, but this is LAD’s second look at him. It’s possible both starters will only go about 5 innings (or less), which creates all sort of havoc for handicappers. Clayton Kershaw can throw an inning or two. When will that be? Dallas Keuchel is anxious to get back on the mound. Will the fact that LAD’s top relievers may be asked to carry some load two nights in a row? 


College Football: Estimated “market” Power Ratings in the Power 5 conferences

On Wednesdays we update our estimated “market” Power Ratings for the major college football conferences and Notre Dame. These aren’t quite as solid as the NFL because college athletes are inconsistent, college schedules are spotty, and teams are known to soar or sink at midseason with little warning (a lot of that this season). 

Let’s start with major independent Notre Dame. We’re going to keep the Irish at 83 this week. They’re currently -14 at home against Wake Forest…which equates to 11 better on a neutral field once you adjust three points for home field advantage. We had Wake Forest at 72 last week. No reason to change either team. You’ll see in the next section that Notre Dame’s 83 has them about a field goal or more below the other top Final Four contenders. 

SEC West: Alabama 96 vs. teams at 76 or more, 100 vs. teams at 75 or less; Auburn 85, LSU 77, Mississippi State 76, Texas A&M 67, Ole Miss 67, Arkansas 66.

SEC East: Georgia 87 vs. teams at 73 or better, 92 vs. teams at 72 or less, South Carolina 71, Missouri 71, Florida 70, Kentucky 68, Tennessee 67, Vanderbilt 67.

We finally get Alabama against a team that’s not a doormat (relative to 'Bama). The Tide is -21.5 vs. LSU at home…which is -18.5 on a neutral field. We put them at 96 and kept LSU at 77 where they had been before. Auburn continues to get huge respect, laying 15 points in College Station against the Texas Aggies. A&M is one of those mid-season sinkers we just referenced. Awful performance last week when steam was fading them hard. Missouri jumps way up after a recent surge. The market now sees them as better than falling Florida with the Tigers laying -3.5 at home. We’re looking forward to Georgia-Auburn and Alabama-Auburn down the road so we can get a better read on how ‘Bama and the Bulldogs compare to each other in a liquid market (rather than with soft oddsmaker estimates for future meetings). 

Big Ten East: Ohio State 91, Penn State 87, Michigan 80, Michigan State 76, Indiana 70, Maryland 64, Rutgers 59.

Big Ten West: Wisconsin 84, Iowa 71, Purdue 70, Northwestern 70, Minnesota 68, Nebraska 68, Illinois 59.

We’ll have to see if the market reacts in the future to Ohio State’s big stat edge over Penn State (the yardage of a blowout), or the misleadingly tight final score. Wisconsin is still well clear of the weaklings in its division. We’ll learn more when they face Michigan, and then the East winner in the conference title tilt. 

Big 12: Oklahoma 84, Oklahoma State 84, TCU 82, Texas 78, Iowa State 74, West Virginia 73, Texas Tech 72, Kansas State 71, Baylor 61, Kansas 50.

For now, Bedlam has settled at Okie State -3…which means a neutral field dead heat for the two best teams in the league. TCU looks to be overrated in the Playoff Rankings…because somebody that’s just -6.5 at home against Texas isn’t Final Four caliber. Horns finally climbing the ladder after a 6-0-1 ATS run that included covers vs. both OU and Okie State (and a road win at Iowa State that looks better now than it did at the time).

ACC Atlantic: Clemson 88, NC State 78, Florida State 75, Louisville 75, Syracuse 74, Wake Forest 72, Boston College 72.

ACC Coastal: Virginia Tech 83, Miami 78, Georgia Tech 75, Virginia 68, Duke 66, Pittsburgh 65, North Carolina 62.

A very messy conference all season. The big news this week is that Virginia Tech just flew past Miami in the Coastal Division, laying -2.5 points on the road against an undefeated “perceived” national power. Tech has covered a couple in a row…but it feels like a reach to say they’re equal to Notre Dame. We had to make that reach to figure out where to put that couplet. Miami’s been underachieving expectations the past few weeks. Will be interesting to see what that new market perception means for Notre Dame/Miami in two weeks…and now a projected Clemson/Virginia Tech rematch in the ACC Championship game. 

Pac 12 North: Washington 86, Stanford 80, Washington State 79, California 70, Oregon 68, Oregon State 65.

Pac 12 South: USC 79, Utah 75, Arizona 74, Arizona State 72, UCLA 72, Colorado 71.

Another messy group. A few teams have dropped from over-ranked spots in earlier polls. Washington still has time to do that if they don’t impress vs. Stanford and Washington State. Stanford drops at least a field goal without their star running back (they needed a miracle to beat lousy Oregon State last week). 

College Football: The debut Playoff Rankings are out! Let’s see how they compare to estimated “market” Power Ratings

With the prior numbers as a backdrop, we now zoom in the top 10 teams in the Playoff Rankings that were unveiled for the first time this season on ESPN Tuesday evening. How “Vegas” sees the teams is starting to become a more prominent factor in national media discussions. Let’s take a look. 

College Playoff Rankings (estimated “market” Power Rating in parenthesis)

1…Georgia (87)

2…Alabama (96)

3…Notre Dame (83)

4…Clemson (88)

5…Oklahoma (84)

6…Ohio State (91)

7…Penn State (87)

8…TCU (82)

9…Wisconsin (84)

10…Miami (78)

ESPN mentioned that “Vegas” would have Alabama at -10 over Georgia on a neutral field, which isn’t far off what we’re showing. So, their source is in synch with our current perception. Tough to make a reasonable case that Georgia should be #1 over Alabama unless you’re placing an inordinate amount of weight on schedule strength. Good to know that a collision course will answer some questions. 

Notre Dame and Clemson are easy to compare, because one played NC State last week, and the other does this week. Notre Dame was -7.5 at home last week…and crushed the Wolfpack. Clemson is -7.5 this week on the road. So, the value of the home/road split (plus a drop in appreciation for NC State) leaves Clemson well clear of Notre Dame. If the Irish win out…it looks like the committee is going to put them in over teams the market respects much more. “Winning out” would mean road victories at Miami and Stanford, which doesn’t seem as difficult now as it did a couple of weeks ago.  

Miami in the top 10? If you’re #10…and you’re a home dog to Virginia Tech…shouldn’t Virginia Tech be in the Top 10? 

Some connectivity ahead all over that listing (except for Penn State). There’s a good chance that “Vegas” will have a very clear sense of what the Final Four should be come tournament time. 

VSiN City: Answering a Question 

Last week we mentioned that we’ll answer reader questions on Wednesdays. Another one to respond to this week. If you have any questions or comments about anything in the VSiN universe, please drop us a note!

“On Friday, Monday, and Tuesday, in the daily write up of the previous day’s NFL games, there are always the box scores with the numbers that VSiN uses, which are little different than the regular box score than you see in a newspaper or online at various sites. I was wondering if it's possible to put them in a format team by team vs. ALL opponents with their stats, for all games played so far through the season…and continue it through the rest of the season, receiving it weekly, that could be downloaded into Excel.”

Thanks very much for your interest in those NFL stat recaps. We don’t have a way to pull off something like that with our current framework. For now, that’s something readers can do on their own if they’re Excel savvy and have the patience to go week-by-week through all the recaps. Hopefully, as VSiN grows, we can pull off that kind of undertaking in the future for hardcore handicappers.  

Back tomorrow to recap Wednesday’s World Series finale, and to preview the NFL Thursday nighter featuring the Buffalo Bills and the NY Jets. We’ll also have updated NBA “market” Power Ratings in time for TNT’s doubleheader featuring Golden State at San Antonio at the LA Lakers at Portland. 

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