Tracking the Nationals: Season-Long MLB Picks and Handicapping for Washington Baseball
by Dave Schwab - 9/18/2014
All season long I have been handicapping the Washington Nationals as part of a betting strategy of specialization. The better you know a team, the better you should be able to predict future results. I have put this theory to the test with weekly picks utilizing Doc's Sports Unit Betting System, and my ultimate goal is to earn a positive return on investment with these free picks.
Doc's has been posting these free picks for the Nationals on a weekly basis, so be sure to check their homepage to follow along with my progress over the final few weeks of the MLB regular season.
Washington Nationals Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Friday, Sept. 19, 7:10 p.m. EST (Marlins Park)
The Nationals continue their final road trip of the regular season with a four-game weekend series against Miami starting this Thursday at Marlins Park. Game 2 of this NL East Division matchup set to get underway at 7:10 p.m. (ET) this Friday night.
Washington finally clinched the NL East Division title with Tuesday's 3-0 victory over Atlanta as a -125 road favorite, but they left town on Wednesday with a 3-1 loss to the Braves as a heavy +175 underdog. The Nationals are now 8-3 in their last 11 games, and the total has stayed "under" in their last four games.
The Marlins will start this series with a 3-1 record in their last four games after beating the Mets 4-3 on Wednesday night as +120 road underdogs. They return to Marlins Park with a 6-4 record in their last 10 home games and a 40-34 record at home on the year. The total has gone "over" in their last four games overall.
Washington at Miami Betting Storylines
The Nationals have been one of the hottest teams in the majors over the second half of the season, and despite the fact they have already clinched their division they still need to keep the gas pedal to the floor to secure home-field advantage in the playoffs by ending the season with best record in the National League. That should not be too hard to achieve behind the top pitching staff in the NL (3.06 ERA) and a lineup that is ranked third in the NL in scoring (644 runs).
Look for Doug Fister to get the start for Washington on Friday night. The right-hander has won his last two starts to improve to 14-6 on the year, and overall he has a 2.55 ERA and a WHIP of 1.13 in 23 starts. This will be his first start this season against the Marlins, but he is 6-2 against the NL East this season.
Miami's offense suffered a major setback when its best player, Giancarlo Stanton, was lost for the season after taking a pitch to face last Thursday. He led the team in RBIs (105), home runs (37) and runs scored (89). The Marlins had been averaging 4.1 runs per game, but since he went down this number has dropped to just three runs a game in their last six outings.
Tom Koehler is expected to be on the mound on Friday night as Miami's starter. He has had a very productive season with 19 quality starts in a total of 30 outings. The right-hander is 1-1 against the Nationals this season, and he has only allowed two runs in 13 innings pitched. On the year Koehler is an even 9-9 with an ERA of 3.71 and a 1.28 WHIP.
Washington at Miami MLB Betting Odds and Key Trends
BetOnline has opened the Nationals as -140 road favorites for Game 2 of this series on Friday night, with Miami listed as a +130 home underdog. The total for the game has been set at 7.
The Nationals are 9-4 in Game 2 of their last 13 series and 9-3 in Fister's last 12 starts against a team with a losing record. The total has gone over in six of Fister's last eight starts.
The Marlins are 8-3 in their last 11 games against a team with a winning record, but they are just 2-8 in Game 2 of their last 10 series. The total has gone over in four of Koehler's last five starts in Game 2 of a series.
Head-to-head in this matchup, Washington is 1-4 in the last five meetings, and the total has gone over in seven of the last 10 meetings.
Washington at Miami Free MLB Picks and Betting Predictions
While the recent betting trends for this series tend to favor the over, I am going in the other direction in this matchup with a 4-Unit play on the under. The loss of Giancarlo has taken a major chunk of production out of Miami's lineup, and both starters' current form should keep the overall scoring down.
Year-to-Date Betting Record: 12-13-1 (- $314)
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Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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