HOUSTON - We're on a roll.
How much of a roll depends on what Kyle Schwarber you might have placed in Game 5 of the NLCS. I said I loved Schwarber and Harper and listed all their props. Harper went over everything, thanks to his series-winning home run in the bottom of the eighth. Schwarber was 0 for 1 with three walks and a run scored. That means we hit the run prop but missed anything else. Is that a win? I'm fine with calling it a loss. And if we do call it a loss, I went 6-1 in picks in the final two days of LCS action. If anyone bet only the run scored prop on Schwarber and followed everything else on Saturday and Sunday, they went 7-0.
As I said, we're on a roll.
Let's keep those good times rolling here with Game 1 of the Phillies-Astros World Series here in Minute Maid Park.
Bryce Harper, OVER 1.5 total bases (+100)
We hardly have any useful data on the Phillies vs. Justin Verlander or the Astros vs. Aaron Nola. It's just all tiny samples and some of it is so long ago it just doesn't matter (for example, Harper got two hits off Verlander in 2013).
What we can go on here is Harper is as locked in as he's ever been in meaningful games. He has a 10-game hitting streak, during which he's hit .450 with a .975 slugging percentage. He has six doubles, five homers, 11 RBI and nine runs scored in those 10 games. His production has not been buoyed by one or two outrageous games (like a 5 for 5 with three homers or something). No, it's been almost perfectly spread out. He's been insanely reliable to gamblers riding the wave, as we have here.
We'll do it again.
Kyle Schwarber, OVER 0.5 runs scored (+111)
In two playoff starts so far, Verlander has had poor command in the early innings. Schwarber was brutal in the first two rounds of the playoffs, but he was 6 for 15 with six walks in the NLCS, good for a .571 on-base percentage. In general, he's a patient hitter with a good eye who also punishes mistakes. If Verlander has command issues again, it's a good formula for Schwarber to either get on base multiple times (via something like a walk or single) or hit a home run. If he doesn't homer but does get on base, he's got some boppers behind him in Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto and Harper.
The Phillies could get shut out, but they haven't so far in the playoffs against a group of opponents that has included several ace-type pitchers. If they put any runs on the board, Schwarber feels the most likely to score.
Justin Verlander, OVER 5.5 strikeouts (-164)
Heavy odds here, but I'm pretty certain he goes over. The Phillies aren't incredibly difficult to strikeout, sitting around the middle of the pack in the regular season, even if they aren't a strikeout machine. Verlander can be, though. Even if he's missing his command like he was early in Game 1 of the ALCS, the strikeouts will come. He punched out 11 that time, going into double digits in the playoffs for the eighth time in his career, an all-time record.
The Phillies struck out 45 times in the NLCS, an average of nine times per game. Verlander probably only needs to go five innings to get close to that mark. I think he'll do something like pitch six innings and strike eight out. That gets us home without having to break a sweat.