Tracking the Nationals: Season-Long MLB Picks and Handicapping for Washington Baseball
by Dave Schwab - 7/28/2014
The betting theory that the more you know about a particular team the better you will be able to predict the results of its games has been put to the test all season long as part of an ongoing series for Doc's Sports. I have been focusing my handicapping efforts on the Washington Nationals, and Doc's has been releasing my free picks for the team on a weekly basis with the use of their Unit Betting System. The goal of this specialization is to earn a long-term profit over the course of the year.
As the MLB regular season churns into the dog days of summer, be sure to check Doc's homepage for these free Nationals' picks to follow along with my progress during the Nationals' stretch run towards the NL East title.
Washington Nationals Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Tuesday, July 29, 7:10 p.m. EST (Marlins Park)
The Washington Nationals will play the second of three games against Miami this week at Marlins Park this Tuesday night as they continue an extended nine-game stay on the road. Game time is set for 7:10 p.m. (ET).
The Nationals continue to set the pace in the NL East with 6-3 run since the all-star break. They have won all three series against Milwaukee, Colorado and Cincinnati to hold a game and half lead over Atlanta and a full seven-game lead over Miami heading into Monday's series opener. Washington is 4-2 in the first six games of this road trip, and the total has gone "over" in four of the games.
The Marlins fully realize the importance of this series as far as staying in this division title race. They are 51-53 overall, with a solid 7-3 record since the break. Miami is coming off a three-game sweep of Houston this past weekend on the road by a combined score of 13-5, and it returns home where it is 28-24 this year. The total has gone over in four of its last six home games.
Washington at Miami Betting Storylines
Washington has made its living this season behind a pitching staff that has the best team ERA in the National League at 3.07. While its lineup has been filled with holes all year long due to a rash of injuries, the Nationals are still knocking in a respectable 4.2 runs a game, which is ranked sixth in the NL. Ian Desmond has led the way with 62 RBI and 17 home runs.
Stephen Strasburg could still be considered the ace of this starting rotation, but it would be hard to back that up given his overall numbers on the year. The right-hander is scheduled to get the start this Tuesday night after getting tagged for three runs in the first inning of his last outing. He is 7-8 on the year with a 3.67 ERA, and in two previous starts against Miami this season he has an inflated ERA of 5.91.
Miami has had little trouble scoring runs this season behind a lineup that has pounded out an average of 4.1 a game, but this number continues to slide downward as the year wears on. Giancarlo Stanton has been the exception as clearly the team's best player with 69 RBI and 23 home runs. The Marlins' pitching staff has been less than consistent at times with a 3.92 team ERA.
One starter that has been fairly consistent all season long for the Marlins has been Henderson Alvarez. The right-hander will get the start on Tuesday night after dispelling any lingering issues about a bruised shin with a strong eight-inning performance against Atlanta last Thursday. He is 7-5 overall with an ERA of 2.62 and a 1.23 WHIP in 21 starts. Alvarez has faced Washington twice this season and has allowed just one earned run on 11 hits in 10 2/3 innings of work.
Washington at Miami MLB Betting Odds and Key Trends
BetOnline has opened the Nationals as -143 road favorites for Tuesday night's matchup, with the Marlins listed as +133 underdogs. The total for this game has been set at 7 runs.
The Nationals are 6-1 in Game 2 of their last seven series but just 2-5 in Strasburg's last seven starts on the road. The total has gone over in 17 of their last 26 NL East games.
The Marlins are 8-1 in Alvarez's last nine starts at home and 13-3 in his last 16 starts overall. The total has gone over in five of their last eight division games.
Head-to-head in this NL East clash, Miami is just 1-4 in Alvarez's last five starts, and the total has gone over in Strasburg's last four road starts against the Marlins. The total has also gone over in the last six meetings in Miami.
Washington at Miami Free MLB Picks and Betting Predictions
I have posted the majority of my wins this season playing the total line in the Nationals' games, and I am going in that direction again on Tuesday night with a 3-Unit play on the "over" seven runs. My confidence level in Strasburg is pretty low right now, and as good as Alvarez has looked lately I still see the Nationals tagging him with a few runs of their own.
Year-to-Date Betting Record: 9-8 (+598)
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