Tracking the Nationals: Season-Long MLB Picks and Handicapping for Washington Baseball
by Dave Schwab - 9/11/2014
The 2014 MLB Playoff picture is starting to shape, and a team near and dear to my heart this season is right in the thick of things. I have spent the entire MLB regular season strictly handicapping the Washington Nationals as part of a betting strategy that relies heavily on specialization. Using Doc's Unit Betting System as part of every free pick I make for Washington games, my ultimate goal is to earn a positive return on investment for the year.
Doc's has been posting these free picks on a weekly basis, so be sure to check their homepage to follow along with my progress over these final few weeks of the MLB regular season.
Washington Nationals Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Friday, Sept. 12, 7:10 p.m. EST (Citi Field)
The Nationals will embark on their longest road trip of the season, with 11 games in 11 days, starting this Thursday with a four-game set against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Game 2 of this NL East Division matchup from Citi Field is set for a 7:10 p.m. start this Friday night.
Washington wrapped up a six-game home stand on Wednesday night with a 6-2 loss to Atlanta as a heavy -192 favorite, with the total going "over" the 7-run closing line. The Nationals went an even 3-3 in the six games, but they still have a comfortable eight-game lead over the Braves in the NL East title race.
The Mets continue to ride out the string of another disappointing season, but they come into this series with a four-game winning streak and an 8-2 record in their last 10 outings. They swept Colorado this week in three games at home after taking two of three from Cincinnati this past weekend on the road. The total has stayed "under" in four of their last five games.
Washington at New York Betting Storylines
Washington continues to be the second-favorite on most futures odds to win the NL Pennant this season behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Nationals have the top pitching staff in the league with a team ERA of 3.12, but they still suffer from a lack of consistency at the plate despite having a lineup filled with a number of big bats. Overall, they are averaging 4.3 runs a game, but these tend to come in bunches. Washington has actually scored three or fewer runs in five of their last eight games. It does not help that both Anthony Rendon and Ian Desmond are both nicked up a bit heading into this series.
Gio Gonzalez is slated to get the start on Friday night for the Nationals. He will be going for his third consecutive win in as many starts after allowing just four earned runs on eight hits in the first two contests. The left-hander is 8-9 on the year in 24 previous starts with a 3.78 ERA and a WHIP of 1.28. He allowed four earned runs on six hits in a loss to the Mets on Aug. 5.
New York has gotten some solid production from its pitching staff this season with a 3.52 team ERA, but it has struggled with steady run support with an average of 3.9 runs per game that is ranked ninth in the NL. Lucas Duda remains the biggest bat in this lineup with a team-high 81 RBI and 27 home runs. Run leader Daniel Murphy remains on the 15-day DL.
Look for the Mets to send Dillon Gee to the mound as their starter for Game 2 of this series. The right-hander spent an extended two-month stretch on the DL this season, but he has slowly returned to form with a 3.68 ERA since the beginning of August. He has allowed just seven earned runs in his last three starts to improve to 6-7 overall with an ERA of 3.74. Gee was tagged for four earned runs in six innings of work in a Aug. 14 start against Washington.
Washington at New York MLB Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Nationals are 1-5 in their last six games against a team with a losing record, but they are 8-3 in Game 2 of their last 11 series. The total has gone over in five of their last eight road games.
The Mets are just 13-27 in the second game of their last 40 series and 3-7 in Gee's last 10 starts. The total has stayed under in 20 of Gee's last 28 starts at home.
Head-to-head in this NL East matchup, Washington is 25-4 in its last 29 road games against New York, with the total going over in 11 of the last 18 meetings. The Nationals have won the last five meetings, with the total going over in three of those games.
Washington at New York Free MLB Picks and Betting Predictions
The Nationals have had their issues in the first game of a new series, but Game 2 has been a different story. I am going to ride that trend with a play on the run line to take advantage of their favorable (-1.5) +115 betting odds with a 4-Unit play they beat the Mets by more than one run on Friday night.
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