Against All MLB Odds - The Ultimate Slam

Profile Picture: Adam Spradling

August 14th, 2018

by Fairway Jay
The Washington Nationals carried a sense of urgency into Sunday night’s nationally televised game with the Chicago Cubs on ESPN. For eight innings the game couldn’t have gone better for Washington, as ace Max Scherzer threw 7 innings of 3 hits baseball with 11 strikeouts. The Nationals led 3-0 into the bottom of the 9thinning before a dramatic pinch hit ultimate slam by Cubs rookie David Bote sent the Wrigley Field fans into a frenzy.

Yes, when a walk-off grand slam is hit to steal a win when a team is down by at least three points, it's called an ultimate slam.

That loss dropped the Nationals to 60-58 SU and 6.0 games behind the first place Atlanta Braves (65-51) in an NL East. The Philadelphia Phillies (65-52) are just a half game behind the Braves. The National League has the most competitive division races in baseball. But of all the teams in the MLB playoff chase, the Nationals own the worst 1-run record at 11-20 SU after losing a pair of 1-run games to the Cubs over the weekend.

A little correction to the mean or even a .500 record in 1-run games would have the Nationals perhaps leading the NL East, which is where they were projected to be prior to the season. Washington was one of seven MLB teams that had season win totals of more than 90. Bookmakers posted a season over/under win total of 92.5 for Washington. So the Nationals are not only underachieving, but costing bettors lots of money.

Washington is down nearly 20-units if you made a straight money-line wager on all their games. While the betting lines fluctuate and move based on the market and betting action, that 20-units in the red is an accurate and close enough barometer based on closing lines.

"...if Washington is still in range, the next six road games starting September 10th will determine their division hopes..."

Market influences still show Washington getting respect by bettors, and if a correction in those close games and 1-run losses improves in the final seven weeks of the season, then perhaps the Nationals may be able to overcome the division deficit. But Washington is still just 7-5 SU in August and split a four-game series at home last week with the division-leading Braves. The Nats lost a key games in that series as a -205 favorite with Scherzer on the mound.

Washington still plays the Phillies six more times this month and have nine home games to start September but all against winning teams: Milwaukee, St. Louis and the division-leading Chicago Cubs (68-49) – the top three teams battling it out in the NL Central. Then if Washington is still in range, the next six road games starting September 10th will determine their division hopes as they go to bat against the Phillies and Braves for the last time this season.

If Washington can be within a few games of the division lead or potentially get out front, then the schedule is favorable to close the season with nine games against bottom-feeders NY Mets and Miami, before finishing the regular season at Colorado (63-55), who is currently just 1.5 games behind NL West leader Arizona and a half game behind the LA Dodgers.

The odds are against Washington making the playoffs, but bettors are not giving up on the Nationals, nor their MLB odds, just yet. Not even after suffering the ultimate slam.