Tracking the Nationals: Season-Long MLB Picks and Handicapping for Washington Baseball
by Dave Schwab - 5/21/2014
One of the best betting strategies when it comes to wagering on MLB games is specialization on one particular team. To help prove this point, Doc's Sports has decided to release free MLB picks each week for the Washington Nationals during the entire MLB regular season. By concentrating your handicapping efforts on a single team, you build familiarity, which only works to make that team all the more predictable. The goal is to earn a long-term profit using this strategy through my free Washington Nationals' picks.
Proper money management is another important piece of long-term success in wagering on sports, so I will also be utilizing Doc's Unit Betting System 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
Thursday, May 22, 7:05 p.m. EST (PNC Park)
Washington at Pittsburgh MLB Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
The Washington Nationals will kick off the Memorial Day Holiday weekend early with a four-game road trip to Pittsburgh to face the NL Central Pirates starting this Thursday night. Game 1 of this series from PNC Park is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start, and it will be broadcast nationally on the MLB Network.
Washington (24-21) will first have to wrap up a three-game homestand against Cincinnati this Wednesday afternoon as a -142 favorite. It split the first two games against the Reds starting with a 4-3 loss in extra innings in Game 1 as a -180 favorite followed by a 9-4 victory as a slight +105 underdog on Tuesday.
Pittsburgh will be coming off a quick two-game interleague series against Baltimore. It lost the first game 9-2 as a -150 home favorite, and it has been opened as a slight -110 favorite for Wednesday's Game 2. The Pirates are currently eight games in back of Milwaukee in the NL Central Division race at 18-26, which includes a 12-12 record at home this season.
Washington at Pittsburgh Betting Storylines
The Nationals are 14-11 at home this season, but on the road they are an even 10-10. It has been an up-and-down ride over the past 10 games with a record of 5-5. Injuries have been a concern, with Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Bryce Harper all on the DL battling various ailments. The two constants in the lineup have been Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth. This duo has combined for 45 RBIs and 10 home runs to help keep Washington ranked fifth in the National League in total runs (184).
Look for Blake Treinen to get the start for the Nationals on Thursday night. The right-hander has pitched as both a reliever out of the bullpen and as a starter for Washington this season. He comes into this game with a 0.77 ERA in 11.2 innings of work. His last start came on May 6 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He did not allow an earned run in five innings of work, but he still got tagged with the loss on three unearned runs.
Pittsburgh has been a middle-of-the-road team in the NL this season at the plate with a team batting average of .247, and this lack of consistent production has the Pirates ranked 12th in scoring with an average of 3.84 runs per game. The two biggest bats in this lineup have been Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez. Walker leads the team in RBI with 25, and he has belted nine home runs while Alvarez is a close second with 24 RBIs and eight homers. Andrew McCutchen has been one of the better overall hitters with a batting average of 3.08.
Pitching has been a major issue with a 4.03 team ERA. The Pirates will turn to Edinson Volquez as their starter for the series opener. He has had his own issues at PNC Park lately with a 5.94 ERA in his last three home starts. Overall, the right-hander is 1-4 this season with an ERA of 4.71. He has allowed 20 earned runs in his last four starts, and he has been tagged with eight home runs in his last 21 2/3 innings pitched.
Washington at Pittsburgh MLB Betting Odds and Key Trends
BetOnline has opened the Nationals as +118 road underdogs in this series opener, with the total set at 8.
The Nationals are 5-2 in Game 1 of their last seven series and 22-8 in their last 30 games against a team with a losing record. The total has gone "over" in 12 of their last 18 road games.
The Pirates are 1-4 in the opener of their last five series but 4-1 in their last five games against the NL East. The total has gone over in seven of their last 10 games at home.
Head-to-head in this matchup, the road team has won seven of the last 10 meetings, and the total has gone over in four of the last six games.
Washington at Pittsburgh Free MLB Picks and Betting Predictions
The Nationals have done a good job at jumping out to an early lead in the majority of their series this season, and this one should be no exception. I am going to go with a conservative 2-Unit play on Washington in this game simply because this will be the first meeting between the two this year.
Year-to-Date Betting Record: 5-3 (+$614)
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