Tracking the Nationals: Season-Long MLB Picks and Handicapping for Washington Baseball
by Dave Schwab - 7/30/2014
Specialization on a single team when it comes to wagering on MLB games can be a viable betting strategy. It stands to reason that the more you know about a particular team the better you will be able to predict the results of its games. Doc's Sports has put this theory to the test this season by having me focus my handicapping efforts on just the Washington Nationals. Doc's has been releasing my free picks for the team on a weekly basis with the use of their Unit Betting System, with the ultimate goal of earning a respectable profit over the course of the year.
As the MLB regular season heads into its stretch run, be sure to check Doc's homepage for these free Nationals picks to follow along with my progress.
Washington Nationals Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Thursday, July 31, 7:05 p.m. EST (Nationals Park)
Washington finally returns home from a grueling nine-game road trip to face the NL-East rival Phillies for four games starting this Thursday night. Game 1 of this extended weekend clash is set to get underway at 7:05 p.m. (ET) from Nationals Park.
The biggest news in Philadelphia these days revolves around Thursday's MLB trade deadline as once again the Phillies find themselves as 'sellers' after another disappointing season. Heading into Wednesday's game against the New York Mets, they are 11.5 games in back of Washington in the division with an overall record of 47-60. Philadelphia is 4-2 in its last six games, and the total has gone "over" is six of its last 10 contests.
The Nationals have to be thrilled to be back in the friendly confines of their home ball park. Heading into Wednesday's series finale against Miami, they had gone 4-4 during this trip, but they are just 1-3 in their last four outings. They dropped the first two games of this week's series against the Marlins as healthy road favorites for each game. The total has stayed "under" in four of their last five outings.
Philadelphia at Washington Betting Storylines
There is widespread speculation that the Phillies could move a few key pieces of their roster as part of the rebuilding process, but nothing is definite as of Wednesday morning. While there is still some solid individual talent on this team, it has not come together on the field with a pitching staff that is ranked 13th in the National League behind a team ERA of 4.00 and a lineup that is ranked eighth in total runs scored.
Cliff Lee's name has come up as possible trade bait, but for now he is scheduled to get the start for Philadelphia on Thursday night. The left-hander has made two starts since coming off the DL, and he has been tagged for nine earned runs on 21 hits in 10 2/3 innings of work. The last time he faced Washington was on May 2, and he held the Nationals to just one earned run on four hits in seven full innings.
The Nationals' lead over Atlanta in the division is down to just a half a game as of Tuesday night's results, so every win is like gold from here on in. Washington's lineup is averaging 4.2 runs a game, but it continues to struggle against the better pitchers it faces. This past Saturday it was blanked against Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto in a 1-0 loss, and this Tuesday it came up empty against the Marlins' Henderson Alvarez in a 3-0 loss. Fortunately, the team still has the best pitching staff in the NL with a 3.11 team ERA.
Washington will go with Gio Gonzalez as its starter for Game 1. He went a full seven innings his last time out and held the Reds to one earned run on four hits. With no run support he still got tagged with the loss to fall to 6-6 on the year. The left-hander has not allowed more than three earned runs in his last six starts, and on the year he has an ERA of 3.56 in 16 trips to the mound. He last faced the Phillies on May 4 and allowed just one earned run on four hits in 7 1/3 innings.
Philadelphia at Washington MLB Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Phillies are 4-11 in their last 15 division games and 2-7 in their last nine games as an underdog. The total has gone over in nine of their last 11 games as underdogs.
The Nationals are 6-2 in their last eight games against a left-handed starter and 4-2 in their last six games at home. The total has stayed under in four of their last six games as favorites.
Washington swept the Phillies 3-0 in their last trip to Nationals Park, and it holds a 6-3 edge in this season's series. The total has gone over in six of the nine games.
Philadelphia at Washington Free MLB Picks and Betting Predictions
The Phillies have already had their issues at Nationals Park this season, but they will have the added distraction of all these trade rumors floating around headed into Thursday night's game.
I normally do not jump all that heavy on the home team when the moneyline is set as high as it is for this game, but with Lee still trying to find his form and the Nationals in desperate need of a win, I am going with a 3-Unit play on Washington in the series opener.
Year-to-Date Betting Record: 9-9 (+298)
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