Tracking the Nationals: Season-Long MLB Picks and Handicapping for Washington Baseball
by Dave Schwab - 9/4/2014
The 2014 MLB regular season is starting to wind down, with the calendar turning the page to September. Since opening day way back in April, I have been strictly handicapping the Washington Nationals and releasing weekly picks for their games with the use of Doc's Sports Unit Betting System. By utilizing the betting strategy of specialization, my overall goal has been to generate a positive return on investment with these free picks.
Doc's has been posting my picks 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. 5, 7:05 p.m. EST (Nationals Park)
The Nationals return home from a five-game West Coast swing to begin a six-game home stand starting this Friday night against NL East rival Philadelphia. Game 1 of this three-game weekend series gets underway at 7:05 at Nationals Park.
Philadelphia has been out of serious contention for the playoffs since the All-Star break, but it has been making life tough for a few contenders lately, including a three-game sweep over the Nationals last week at its home park. The Phillies are 8-4 in their last 12 games, and the total has gone "over" in their last four outings.
Washington returns home from a nine-game road trip that started in Philadelphia with a 4-5 mark, but it is coming off a 2-1 series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers with Wednesday's 8-5 victory as a -146 favorite. The total has gone over in five of its last seven games. The Nationals have to be happy to be back in town after posting an 11-1 record in their last 12 home games.
Philadelphia at Washington Betting Storylines
The Phillies are well on their way to last-place finish in the NL East at 64-75 overall, and they have gone 31-37 on the road this year. There have been some obvious issues with a pitching staff that is ranked 12th in the National League with a 3.85 team ERA. They have also lacked the necessary punch in their lineup with an average of 3.9 runs per game, but this has not been the case in their last seven games with a combined total of 36 runs.
Jerome Williams has been penciled in as Philadelphia's starter for Friday night. The right-hander has posted a 2.03 ERA in his last four starts with the team. He has started a total of six games for the Phillies since joining the team in August after getting claimed off waivers. His overall ERA this season is 5.23 with a 1.46 WHIP in a total of 84 innings of work.
The Nationals did not play their best baseball during the recent road trip, but overall they are still one of the most complete teams in the NL. Their pitching staff remains at the top of the list with a staff ERA of 3.13, and with a couple of solid sluggers littered throughout the lineup they are ranked second in the league in runs (592), which averages out to 4.3 a game. One of their biggest bats, Adam LaRoche, has been hampered with some back issues, but he is expected to be in the lineup for this game.
Washington will send Stephen Strasburg to the mound as its starter. He is coming off one of his best starts of the season after holding Seattle to one run on six hits in 7 2/3 innings of work. Overall, the right-hander is 11-10 in 29 starts with an ERA of 3.49 and a 1.19 WHIP. The last time he faced the Phillies at home, he did not allow an earned run in seven full innings.
Philadelphia at Washington MLB Betting Odds and Key Trends
BetOnline has opened the Nationals as prohibitive -230 home favorites for Friday night's series opener. Philadelphia comes into the NL East clash as a +212 road underdog, and the total for the game has been set at 7.
The Phillies are 4-9 in their last 13 road games but 5-1 in Game 1 of their last six series. The total has gone over in four of their last five games on the road.
The Nationals are 22-8 in their last 30 games at home and 9-3 in their last 12 games against a team with a losing record. The total has gone over in 16 of their last 22 games against a right-handed starter.
Head-to-head in this NL East matchup, Philadelphia has won five of the last seven meetings overall, but it is just 3-11 in its last 14 trips to Nationals Park. The total has stayed "under" in four of the last seven games played in Washington.
Philadelphia at Washington Free MLB Picks and Betting Predictions
The Nationals should win this game with the clear advantage on the mound and a return to their home park, but a play on this moneyline is not worth the risk. Instead, I am going with a 3-unit play on the over 7 on the total line in this game. Both team's bats have been clicking lately and, even with Strasburg on the mound, they will combine for enough runs to cash in.
Year-to-Date Betting Record: 11-12-1 (-$214)
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Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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