Specialization on just one team when it comes to betting on MLB games can be a lucrative betting strategy when it is done on a long-term basis. That is why I am spending the entire season exclusively handicapping the Washington Nationals and releasing free picks for select games with the use of Doc's Sports Unit Betting System. The ultimate goal to help prove this betting theory is to build a profitable bankroll with these unit plays.
Doc's has been posting these free picks for select Washington games on its homepage, so be sure to follow along to chart my progress. The Nationals have worked their way to the top of the NL East after a slow start, and the early returns on my free picks are also moving in the right direction.
Washington Nationals Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Friday, May 22, 7:05 p.m. EST (Nationals Park)
The Nationals will welcome the NL East rival Philadelphia Phillies to town for a three-game Memorial Day Weekend series starting this Friday night. Game time for the series opener is set for 7:05 p.m. (ET), and you catch this matchup on MLB Extra Innings.
Philadelphia has made a slight move in the NL East standings with seven wins in its last eight games, but it's still just 18-24 on the year and 6.5 games off the pace entering Thursday's action. The total has stayed "under" in six of the eight games during this current run.
The Nationals have worked their way to the top of the standings in the division with an 11-2 record in their last 13 games, and their current winning streak stands at five games following Wednesday's 3-2 victory against the New York Yankees as -147 favorite at home. Washington is 12-6 at home this season, and the total has gone over in six of their last eight games at Nationals Park.
Philadelphia at Washington Betting Storylines
The Phillies are ranked dead last in the National League in total runs with 133 in their first 42 games, but over their past eight games they have scored an average of 4.6 runs a game. Veteran first baseman Ryan Howard is off to a hot start with a team-high 20 RBI and eight home runs, and shortstop Freddy Galvis leads the team in hitting with a .324 batting average. Pitching has been suspect the entire season so far with a staff ERA of 4.01 that is ranked eighth in the NL.
Philadelphia will go with Sean O'Sullivan as its starter for Friday night. The right-hander is 1-2 through his first four starts with a 3.68 ERA. He picked up his first win of the season by shutting out Arizona in six full innings of work his last time out. In two previous starts against the Nationals in mid-April, he allowed six earned runs on 10 hits over the course of 11 innings pitched.
Washington opened the season as the odds-on favorite to repeat as NL East champs, and following a very shaky start it is finally starting to play the part. Everything is clicking right now from a pitching staff that has worked its way to sixth in the NL with an ERA of 3.75 to a lineup that has scored a NL-best 205 runs through 41 games. Bryce Harper has always been one of the Nationals' top power hitters in a potent batting order, but he has been on fire lately with 11 RBI and four home runs in his last 10 games. On the year, he leads the team with 38 RBI and 15 homers.
Max Scherzer is expected to get to get the call as Washington's starter for this series opener. After coming over from Detroit in the offseason, the right-hander was part of that shaky start with a 1-3 record in his first four starts, but he has found his form in his last two outings by allowing just one earned run on nine hits to lower his ERA on the year to just 1.75 with a 0.92 WHIP. In two previous starts against the Phillies this season, Scherzer allowed two earned runs on 10 hits over 14 innings of work.
Philadelphia at Washington MLB Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Phillies are 4-1 in Game 1 of their last five series, but they are just 1-6 in their last seven road games against a team with a winning record. The total has stayed under in Game 1 in seven of their last eight series.
The Nationals have won the first game in five of their last six series, and they are 5-1 in their last six games against a team with a losing record. The total has gone over in the first game of their last seven series.
Washington has a slight 4-3 edge in this season's series with a 3-1 record in four games played at home. The total has gone an even 3-3-1 in the seven games.
Philadelphia at Washington Free MLB Picks and Betting Predictions
The Phillies have been hitting the ball pretty well lately, but they have already struggled against Scherzer twice this season. Couple this with the fact that Washington has been hitting the ball all over the park and it has already roughed up O'Sullivan in his two previous starts, and this sets the stage for a 3-Unit play on the Nationals using the more favorable run line odds.
YTD Record: 3-2 (+$258)
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Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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