Tracking the Nationals: Season-Long MLB Picks and Handicapping for Washington Baseball
by Dave Schwab - 6/13/2014
Once the dog days of summer start to roll around, MLB games will make up the majority of the action on the betting boards, so this is the perfect time of the year to hone your baseball handicapping skills. Doc's Sports has decided to release free MLB picks each week for the Washington Nationals during the entire MLB regular season to validate the betting strategy of specialization. By concentrating your handicapping efforts on a single team, you can develop a high level of familiarity, which over the course of time should help to make that team more predictable. My goal with these free MLB picks is to earn a long-term profit by betting on only Washington's games.
Proper money management goes hand-in-hand with any betting strategy, so I will be employing Doc's Unit Betting System by providing a recommended play for all of my picks. Doc's will publish these free picks once or twice a week, so be sure to take advantage of this specialized betting approach by checking our homepage daily to follow along with my progress.
Washington Nationals Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Friday, June 13, 8:15 p.m. EST (Busch Stadium)
Washington at St. Louis MLB Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
The Washington Nationals continue an extended 10-game road trip with a three-game weekend set against the St. Louis Cardinals starting this Friday night. Game 1 from Busch Stadium is set to get underway at 8:15 p.m. (ET).
The Nationals will be going for the four-game sweep of San Francisco this Thursday after outscoring the best team in the majors 17-5 in the first three games. They are now 10-2 in their last 12 games and one game in front of Atlanta in the NL East with an overall record of 35-29.
St. Louis split a quick two-game set against Tampa Bay this week after taking two out of three from Toronto this past weekend. This was all part of a seven-game road trip in which it went 4-3. The Cardinals are currently five games in back of Milwaukee in the NL Central with a record of 34-32. They return home for this series with a 16-14 record at Busch Stadium this year.
Washington at St. Louis Betting Storylines
Washington has been clicking on all cylinders during this current 12-game run with solid pitching that is getting backed up with some superior run support. The Nationals are now ranked first in the National League in pitching with a team ERA of 2.94, and they have climbed to seventh in the league in scoring with an average of 4.27 runs per game. Their lineup boasts four players with at least 30 RBIs led by Ian Desmond's 42 runs batted in in 63 games.
Jordan Zimmermann is slated to be on the mound as Washington's starter for Friday night. The right-hander has looked sharp in his last two outings by blanking Philadelphia and San Diego in 17 innings pitched. He is now 5-2 on the year in 13 starts with an ERA of 3.17 and a 1.24 WHIP. Zimmermann held St. Louis to one earned run on seven hits back on April 19.
The Cardinals' season has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride so far. Going back to a 7-4 loss to the Yankees on May 28 as -131 home favorites, they are just 5-9 in their last 14 games. Their current form has been on a slight uptick lately after shutting out the red-hot Blue Jays in back-to-back 5-0 victories last Saturday and Sunday followed by a 1-0 victory against the Rays this past Tuesday as -128 road favorites. St. Louis is fourth in the NL in pitching with a 3.33 staff ERA and it is averaging 3.74 runs per game, which is ranked 10th. Jhonny Peralta leads the team in home runs with 10, and Allen Craig has a team-high 33 RBI.
Look for Lance Lynn to get the start for the Cardinals in this series opener. He lasted only five innings his last time out and St. Louis is just 4-5 in his last nine starts. On the year, the right-hander is 6-4 in 13 starts with a 3.49 ERA and a WHIP of 1.41. Lynn's record as of late has been hampered by a lack of run support after allowing two or less earned runs in four of his last five outings. His last start against the Nationals was also on April 19, and he gave up one earned run on five hits in 5 2/3 innings pitched.
Washington at St. Louis MLB Betting Odds and Key Trends
BetOnline has opened the Nationals as slight +101 road underdogs for Friday night's series opener with St. Louis listed as a -111 favorite. The total has been set at 7.
The Nationals are 4-1 in Zimmermann's last five starts on the road, and they are 4-0 in Game 1 of their last four series. The total has stayed "under" in seven of their last 12 road games.
The Cardinals are 1-6 in their last seven home games but 19-9 in Lynn's last 28 starts at home. The total has stayed under in five of their last seven games.
Washington is just 2-9 in its last 11 games against St. Louis, but both wins came this season when the two split a four-game series at Nationals Park. The total has stayed under in seven of the last 10 meetings.
Washington at St. Louis Free MLB Picks and Betting Predictions
While I like the Nationals' chances to get off to another fast start in a new series with Zimmermann on the mound, my top pick in this matchup is a 3-Unit play on the "under 7" total line. Lynn is coming off a rough outing, but his overall ability to keep Washington's lineup in check remains high.
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