If the 2021 Washington Nationals hope to reach the heights they did with a 2019 World Series championship, they’re going to need to surprise some folks.
Most notably? Oddsmakers and MLB bettors, who are a bit bearish on the Nats’ upcoming season.
The Nationals kick off the 2021 regular season on Thursday. After a pandemic-shortened letdown of a year in 2020, Washington hopes to return to the playoffs this season. And there are a number of betting opportunities available if you’re more bullish than other baseball fans.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are the odds of the Nats winning a World Series this year at least 4%?
- Are the chances of the Nationals making the playoffs this season better than 44%?
- Will Washington win at least 85 games in 2021?
- Will Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, or Stephen Strasburg lead the league in strikeouts?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, some of these 2021 Washington Nationals betting opportunities at Virginia sportsbooks may be worth your consideration.
1. 2021 Washington Nationals season opener
The 162-game grind kicks off with the season opener on Thursday. That’s when Nationals ace and three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer takes the mound against the New York Mets and starter Jacob deGrom.
The game takes place at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. However, despite home-field advantage, Washington is an underdog.
Scherzer struggled a bit in 2020, going 5-4 with a 3.74 ERA (his highest since 2012) and 1.381 WHIP (a career-worst). That’s one reason deGrom (4-2, 2.38 ERA, and NL-best 104 strikeouts) is favored on Opening Day.
But if you think Scherzer can find his ace form, and if the Nationals’ bats can get to deGrom, some plus-money odds await:
2. Washington’s season opener total
With two aces on the mound, Thursday’s Nationals-Mets game could be a low-scoring affair. That’s what oddsmakers think, anyway.
By Wedneday afternoon, VA sportsbooks had posted over-under lines for Thursday’s game. And it was a rather stingy total of 7 runs, with the “under” shaded up to -120 (and the “over” available at +100) at one sportsbook.
Of Thursday’s entire MLB Opening Day slate, only one game (Braves vs. Phillies) has a total as low as the one in the Nats’ opener.
3. 2021 Washington Nationals wins total
MLB bettors can also wager on season wins totals. Sportsbooks set a total for each team’s 2021 wins total, and bettors choose the over or under.
VA sportsbooks have set Washington’s total wins for the year at 84 to 84.5.
Prior to that disappointing 2020 season, Washington averaged 91 wins per year from 2012-2019. If you think they can reclaim some of that success from the past decade, a wins total bet could be the futures play for you.
4. Washington to make postseason
Since the current MLB playoffs system was implemented in 2012, no team has won 94 games during a full season and failed to make the postseason (excluding the shortened 2020 season). One team, the 2017 Minnesota Twins, even punched a ticket to the playoffs with just 85 wins.
A good theoretical cutoff is 87 wins. After all, since 2012, 78 of 96 (81.2%) of teams that won at least 87 games have made the postseason.
Do you think the Nats are likely to win at least 87 games? Can they win the NL East or claim a wild-card spot? If so, some plus money awaits. In fact, FanDuel is offering +160 odds that the Nationals will make the postseason. If you bet $100 and Washington reaches the playoffs, you’d get your $100 back plus another $160 in profit.
5. Nats to win World Series
Placing a small preseason bet on your team to win the World Series is a time-honored MLB betting tradition for many fans. But is it a good bet for the 2021 Washington Nationals?
We just need to do some simple napkin math. A few VA sportsbooks have the Nats’ World Series odds at +3000. That suggests the Nationals have a 3.23% chance of winning it all. At +3500 odds, the implied odds dip to 2.78%. And with WynnBET‘s +4000 odds, the number dips to 2.44%. If you’re confident Washington has at least a 5% chance of winning the Fall Classic, you’d theoretically come out ahead with any of the sportsbooks’ odds.
Of course, if at all possible, take the bigger number. After all, if you bet $10 at WynnBET (+4000 odds) and the Nats add a second World Series title in three years, you’d net $400 in profit. At FanDuel and William Hill sports betting app (+3000 odds), though, you’d get just $300.
6. WAS to win NL pennant
Like the Nationals’ chances to win the National League pennant but not so confident about the World Series? Or, worried about Washington coming up just a bit short in October?
Consider a bet on them to win the NL instead.
The odds start at +1800 at FanDuel and go to +2500 at both William Hill (thanks to special “odds boost“) and WynnBET.
7. Nationals to Win NL East
The Nationals emerging as World Series champions or NL Pennant winners is a bit of a longshot. Of course, those longs odds also mean a bigger potential payoff if you’re right.
But if you’re looking for a more conservative play, you can pick the Nationals to win the NL East. They’re available at most sportsbooks at odds of +600 to +650.
Those odds predict a third-place NL East finish for the Nationals, who are behind the Atlanta Braves (+120 to +140) and NY Mets (+130 to +150).
8. MLB home run leader
If you’d like to wager on the performances of individual Nationals hitters, you’ve got options.
Most sportsbooks allow you to bet on 2021 MLB stats leaders in a variety of categories. For example, Juan Soto, Josh Bell, and Kyle Schwarber make up the heart of the Washington batting order. You can bet on each one to lead MLB in home runs this season. Soto pays +1300 to +1500 while Schwarber is more of a long shot at +7000 odds.
Of course, you can choose some of your favorite Nationals to lead other offensive categories. They include:
- Batting average
Also, there’s another category that’s geared toward players who are fleet of foot. Let’s make that one its own section…
9. MLB stolen bases leader
When it comes to betting on the 2021 MLB leader for stolen bases, oddsmakers and bettors currently see it as a one-man race.
Kansas City Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi is an overwhelming favorite to win the SB crown with odds of up to -200. During the shortened 2020 season, the 25-year-old swiped 24 bases, which were eight more than a trio of second-place finishers.
However, a familiar name has the second-best odds to lead the majors in stolen bases this season: Trea Turner. The Washington shortstop, who led MLB in steals in 2018 (43), is available at odds of +350 to +470 this year.
Additionally, Nationals centerfielder Victor Robles, who swiped 28 bases in 2019, is available at 30-1 to 33-1 odds (+3000 to +3300).
10. MLB strikeout leader
The Nationals’ 2021 season will probably live and die with its starting pitchers. The offense clicked in 2020, and few expect it to be a major issue in 2021.
That means the pitching corps, especially the starters, will be under a microscope. And at least on paper, there’s plenty to like. Scherzer, Corbin, and Strasburg are proven inning-eaters and strikeout machines. So, as no surprise, they’re among the options to lead the MLB in strikeouts this season.
Scherzer is available at +1000, Cobin is available at up to +4900, and Strasburg can be had at +6500 odds.
Like the batting categories, though, there are additional opportunities for you to bet on the Nats’ pitchers. They include wins, as well saves, where Washington closer Brad Hand is available at +2200 to +2500.