Tracking the Nationals: Season-Long MLB Picks and Handicapping for Washington Baseball
by Dave Schwab - 5/1/2014
Doc's Sports has decided to provide free MLB picks each week for the Washington Nationals during the entire MLB regular season to demonstrate the value of specialization when it comes to wagering on baseball. Concentrating your handicapping efforts on just one team can be an effective betting strategy that many experts regularly employ to successfully build their bankroll. My goal is to prove the validity of this approach in an effort to earn a long-term profit on these free MLB picks involving select Nationals' games.
Another important part of the puzzle is proper money management, so I will also be utilizing Doc's Sports Unit Betting System for all of my picks. Doc's will publish these articles 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, May 2, 7:05 p.m. EST (Citizens Bank Park)
Washington at Philadelphia MLB Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
The Washington Nationals kick off a three-game weekend set against the NL East rival Philadelphia Phillies this Friday night, with both teams chasing down Atlanta for the early lead in the division. This will be the first meeting between these two in this season's series.
The Nationals are coming off a 7-0 whitewash of Houston this past Wednesday night as -137 road favorites to improve to 5-1 in their last six games. They are 16-12 overall, which is just two games in back of the Braves. The total has now stayed "under" in their last four outings.
Philadelphia has enjoyed an extended break from the action after Wednesday's game against the Mets was rained out. The Phillies come into this series with a 6-3 record in their last nine games, including series victories over the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona on the road. They are four games back in the East with an even record of 13-13.
Washington at Philadelphia Betting Storylines
Washington was dealt some bad news earlier this week when left field phenom Bryce Harper was lost for the next two months with a thumb injury. Fortunately, the biggest bats in this lineup have been Anthony Rendon and Adam LaRoche. Rendon is hitting .316 and he has already knocked in 20 RBIs. LaRoche is second on the team in RBIs with 17, and he is one of four players (including Rendon) to belt four home runs. The current injury report has him listed as "questionable" for Friday after missing Wednesday's game with a sore quad. The Nationals are ranked second in the National League in total runs (126).
It looks like Washington will go with ace Stephen Strasburg for Friday night after some shuffling in the starting rotation. The right-hander got off to a slow start out of the gate, but he returned to Cy Young form his last time out by blanking San Diego in seven strong innings of work. He is now 2-2 on the year with a 4.24 ERA and a WHIP of 1.41.
The Phillies are averaging a healthy 4.12 runs per game, but they have needed every single one of them just to get to .500 behind a bullpen that is ranked last in the NL with an ERA of 4.84. There have been a number of bats leading the way in this lineup, with four different players tallying at least 14 RBIs heading into this game. Marlon Byrd has knocked in 17 runs, and Ryan Howard has returned to shades of old with 14 RBIs and a team-high five home runs. Two other veterans, Chase Utley and Jimmie Rollins, have also been productive with a combined 29 RBIs.
Cliff Lee is expected to get the start for Philadelphia in Game 1. The left-hander got bounced around his last time out after allowing five runs in his first three innings on the mound. He settled down from there to go six innings and get the win. Lee currently leads the team with three wins in five previous starts, and he has a 3.29 ERA in 41 innings pitched.
Washington at Philadelphia MLB Betting Odds and Key Trends
BetOnline has opened the Nationals as slight +102 road underdogs against the Phillies, who are listed as -112 favorites for this series opener. The total for the game has been set at 6.5.
The Nationals are 4-1 in their last five road games, and they are 22-9 in their last 31 games against the NL East. The total has gone "over" in seven of their last nine games on the road.
The Phillies are just 4-10 in their last 14 games at home and 3-7 in Lee's last 10 starts against a division opponent. The total has gone over in 12 of the Phillies last 17 home games.
Head-to-head in this matchup, Washington is 4-1 in the final five meetings in last year's series, and the total has stayed "under" in Lee's last five home starts against the Nationals.
Washington at Philadelphia Free MLB Picks and Betting Predictions
The Nationals are starting to gain some traction over their past few games, and despite some injury concerns in the lineup, I like their chances to start this season's series against an inconsistent Phillies ball club with a win. Seeing that this is still the first meeting this year between these two, I am keeping it to a 2-Unit play.
Year-to-Date Betting Record: 2-2 (+$14)
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