One viable betting strategy for MLB games can be specializing on just one team. To put this theory to the test, I have been exclusively handicapping the Washington Nationals all season long and releasing free picks for select games with the use of Doc's Sports Unit Betting System. The ultimate goal is to build a profitable MLB bankroll with these unit plays.
Doc's has been posting these free MLB picks on its homepage, so be sure to follow along to chart my progress. The Nationals find themselves in a heated three-team battle for the lead in the NL East while I am trying to cash in on their success this season at the betting window.
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Washington Nationals Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Tuesday, June 23, 7:05 p.m. EST (Nationals Park)
First-place Washington will wrap up its current eight-game homestand this week with a three-game series against the rival Atlanta Braves, who are just two games back in the NL East standings. Game 1 of this series is set for Tuesday night at Nationals Park with a 7:05 p.m. (ET) start. The game will be available on MLB Extra Innings.
The Braves' three-game sweep of the New York Mets this past weekend at home improved their record on the year to an even 35-35. Atlanta is still below .500 on the road this season at 16-20 after losing five of their last seven games away from home. It comes into this series with a 6-4 record in its last 10 games overall.
Washington was also hot this past weekend with three straight victories against Pittsburgh by a combined score of 19-3. It was its sixth win in the last nine outings to move to 37-33 overall. The Nationals are 19-14 at home this season and 3-2 in the first five games of this current homestand. They are 5-1 against Atlanta this season, including a three-game sweep the last time they met at Nationals Park in early May.
Atlanta at Washington Betting Storylines
The Braves continue to hold up pretty well in this tight NL East race behind a lineup that is averaging 4.2 runs a game, which is ranked sixth in the National League. Freddie Freeman has had the hottest bat so far this season with a team-high 41 RBI and 12 home runs, but he has missed his last four games with a wrist injury. All told, Atlanta has seven different players with at least 20 RBI this year. Pitching has been a whole other issue at times this season with a staff ERA of 4.06 that is ranked 10th in the NL.
Look for Alex Wood to get the start for Atlanta in the series opener. The left-hander is an even 4-4 on the year through 13 previous starts with an ERA of 3.40 and a 1.42 WHIP. In his last start against Boston, he went six full innings and allowed just one earned run on five hits. Earlier this season against the Nationals, Wood was shelled for five earned runs on six hits in just five innings of work.
Washington caught a major break when Bryce Harper went down this past Thursday with a hamstring injury. He missed Friday's series opener against the Pirates but returned to the lineup on Saturday and in his next two games he belted two home runs while knocking in four runs to raise his total RBI on the year to 57 to go along with his 24 home runs. The Nationals are ranked first in the NL in total runs with 311. Their pitching staff falls to seventh in the league with a team ERA of 3.83.
Stephen Strasburg will make his much-anticipated return to the starting rotation on Tuesday night after a recent stint on the DL. The right-hander is 3-5 this season through 10 previous starts, and he has had some control issues with an ERA of 6.55 and a 1.72 WHIP. Strasburg has only lasted more than seven full innings in one start this season, and he has only lasted a total of 9 2/3 innings in his last three starts combined.
Atlanta at Washington MLB Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Braves are 7-20 in their last 27 road games against a team with a winning record, and they are 6-13 in Wood's last 19 starts on the road. The total has gone "over" in eight of their last 10 road games.
The Nationals are 8-2 in their last 10 games against a left-handed starter, and they are 6-1 in their last seven division games. The total has stayed "under" in the first game of seven of their last nine series.
The home team has won five of the last seven meetings, and the total has gone over in all six meetings this season. Washington is 7-1 against the Braves in the last eight meetings at Nationals Park.
Atlanta at Washington Free MLB Picks and Betting Predictions
There is still a good chance that Strasburg could get bounced around a bit by the Braves on Tuesday night as he tries to shake off the rust, but I remain confident that the Nationals' bats will stay hot enough to grab the early lead in this NL East Division clash with the win. I am going with a 3-Unit play on Washington over the Braves.
3-Unit Play: Take Washington OVER Atlanta
YTD Record: 4-6 (-$594)
Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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