Red Sox vs Nationals Picks and Predictions: Boston Gets Much Needed Victory With Sale vs O's Rookie

We're down to game No. 162, and the AL Wild Card standings are still quite murky. What we do know is that for the Red Sox, it's win and they're in. And as massive MLB betting chalk with their ace on the mound against the Orioles, the Sox do just that.

Last Updated: Oct 3, 2021 9:02 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Chris Sale Boston Red Sox MLB
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It's the final day of the regular season... unless we have some exciting tie-breaker madness tomorrow — and it's exactly that type of scenario the Boston Red Sox are trying to avoid as they face off against the Washington Nationals.

With a win, the Red Sox would book their ticket to the Wild Card round and oddsmakers are expecting the BoSox to clinch this afternoon with MLB betting lines installing them as -240 road favorites.

Here are our best free Red Sox vs. Nationals picks and predictions for Sunday, October 3, with the first pitch scheduled for 3:05 p.m. ET. 

Red Sox vs Nationals odds

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Red Sox vs Nationals picks

Picks made on 10/03/2021 at 8:15 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Red Sox vs Nationals game info

Location: Nationals Park, Washington, DC
Date: Sunday, October 3, 2021
Time: 3:05 p.m. ET

Red Sox vs Nationals betting preview

Starting pitchers

Chris Sale (5-1, 2.90 ERA): Sale returned to Boston's rotation in August after recovering from Tommy John surgery and the lefty has slid back into his role as the Red Sox top pitcher. In eight starts, Sale has fanned 45 batters across 40 1-3 innings with a 1.24 WHIP and an opponent batting average of .264. He's fresh off a start last Tuesday when he surrendered three runs on four hits across 5 1-3 innings against the Orioles.

Joan Adon (0-0, -.-- ERA): The 23-year-old will make his major league debut in the Nationals season finale in a year that has seen him pitch at the High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A levels. The majority of Adon's work came at High-A where he pitched to a 4.97 ERA in 17 starts for the Wilmington Blue Rocks. In his most recent outing, Adon threw four scoreless innings while striking out seven in his only start with Triple-A Rochester.


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Key injuries

Red Sox: Danny Santana CF (Out), Josh Taylor RP (Out), Phillips Valdez RP (Out), Garrett Whitlock RP (Out).
Nationals: Luis Garcia SS (Questionable), Yadiel Hernandez LF (Questionable), Kyle McGowin RP (Out).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Red Sox are 40-11 in their last 51 interleague road games. Find more MLB betting trends for Red Sox vs. Nationals.

Red Sox vs Nationals predictions

For the Boston Red Sox, the mission is clear: win and you advance to the wild card game. To that end, they're sending their ace Chris Sale to the mound for today's crucial contest. The lefty has been reliable in his comeback season, going 5-1 with a 2.90 ERA.

He will be facing off against a Nationals team that has been surprisingly solid at the plate, despite trading away Trea Turner at the trade deadline. Led by Juan Soto, Washington ranks ninth in the majors with an OPS of .754.

That said, as solid as the Nats have been at the dish the Red Sox have been better — Boston has one of the most loaded lineups around and ranks third in the majors with an OPS of .777, with that number bumping up to .821 over the last 30 days. 

That could make for a rude welcoming for Washington's starter Joan Adon who, with just four innings logged at the Triple-A level and 14 career innings in Double-A, will be making a huge jump up in competition. Adon has a good fastball that tops out at 94-96 mph but the rest of his offerings need to be rounded out and his control has been iffy.

Look for the youngster to get worked by a Red Sox lineup that should be extremely motivated. With the Nats going just 7-20 in their last 27 games at home, take Boston on the run line. 

We mentioned that the Nats are batting well this season and they've been even more productive against southpaws like Sale, ranking second in the majors with an OBP of .353 against left-handed pitchers. And as solid as Sale has been, his opponent on-base percentage of .320 is a bit worrying. 

Adon could be in for a rough afternoon and things won't get any better for the Nats after him, with their relievers ranking 28th in the majors in ERA (5.05) and 27th in WHIP (1.44).

That should mean plenty of scoring from a Red Sox squad that ranks fourth in the majors by plating 5.11 runs per game, with that number increasing to 5.6 runs/game over the last 30 days. Take the Over. 

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