Tracking the Nationals: MLB Picks and Handicapping for Washington Baseball
by Dave Schwab - 7/17/2015
One viable betting strategy when it comes to successfully wagering on MLB games is to concentrate all of your handicapping efforts on just one team. To help validate this theory, I have been focusing all my attention this season on the Washington Nationals. And with the use of Doc's Sports Unit Betting System, I have also been releasing free weekly picks for select Nationals' games. My bottom line goal is to build a profitable MLB bankroll by season's end.
Doc's will continue to post these free MLB picks on its homepage, so you can follow along to chart my progress. The Nationals are gearing up for another run to the postseason, and I am ready to go along for the ride.
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Washington Nationals Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Friday, July 17, 7:05 p.m. EST (Nationals Park)
The best in the NL West clashes with the NL East-leading Washington Nationals when the Los Angeles Dodgers come to town for a three-game weekend set at Nationals Park. The first pitch for Friday night's Game 1 is set for 7:05 (ET), and the game will be broadcast nationally on the MLB Network.
The Dodgers will kick off the second half of their season with a 4.5-game lead over San Francisco in that division race after winning five of their last seven games. They are now 51-39 overall, but they have had their issues on the road this season with a losing record of 18-22. The total has stayed "under" in three of their last five games.
Washington closed out the first half of the regular season with a 2-1 interleague series victory over Beltway rival Baltimore on the road. It is now 48-39 on the year and two games up in the division on the New York Mets. The Nationals have gone 25-16 in their home park this season, and the total has stayed under in nine of their last 11 home games.
Los Angeles at Washington Betting Storylines
The Dodgers continue to be one of the higher-scoring teams in the National League with an average of 4.2 runs through their first 90 games, and over their past seven games they have tallied a total of 28 runs in five victories. Joc Pederson and Adrian Gonzalez have had the biggest bats so far, but Los Angeles has seven players with at least 30 RBIs on the year. The Dodgers' pitching staff is ranked fourth in the NL with a team ERA of 3.30.
Look for Mike Bolsinger to get the start for Los Angeles on Friday night. The hard-throwing right-hander is 4-3 this season in 13 previous starts with a 3.08 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. He held Milwaukee to two earned runs on four hits in six innings in his last start after getting bounced around against the New York Mets on July 5.
Washington has also done a good job knocking in runs this season with an average of 4.3 a game, but the overall health of this lineup has been an issue all year long. The latest player to hit the DL was outfielder Denard Span with back spasms. Fortunately for the Nationals, Bryce Harper has played in 81 of their first 87 games, and he has been a force with 61 RBI and 26 home runs. This pitching staff has not quite lived up to expectations with a 3.56 team ERA.
The Nationals will turn to Jordan Zimmermann as their starter in this series opener. Through 18 starts the right-hander is 8-5 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. He closed out the first half of the season with his third straight victory despite allowing four earned runs on nine hits in just five innings of work against Baltimore. Prior to that he only allowed a total of one earned run in 22 2/3 innings.
Los Angeles at Washington MLB Betting Odds and Key Trends
The sportsbook 5Dimes has opened Washington as a slight -102 home underdog for Friday's series opener, and the betting odds for the Dodgers have been set at -108. The total for this Game 1 clash has been set at 6.
The Dodgers are 6-2 in their last eight road games, and the total has stayed under in 11 of their last 14 games played on the road.
The Nationals are 14-8 over their last 22 games, and they have won nine of their last 11 games at home. The total has stayed under in seven of their last eight home games.
This will be the first meeting this season, and the road team has won six of the last nine games between these two. Washington had the 4-2 edge in last season's series, with the total evenly split 3-3.
Los Angeles at Washington Free MLB Picks and Betting Predictions
The pitching matchup in this game alone points to a potentially very low-scoring affair, and the recent betting trends for both teams favor the under on the total line. I am going to bite with a 3-Unit play on the under for Friday night's series opener despite the low total.
3-Unit Play: Take Los Angeles at Washington UNDER 6
YTD Record: 6-7 (-$394)
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