Specialization on just one team when it comes to handicapping MLB games can be a viable betting strategy, and to help prove my point I have been focusing all my attention this season on the Washington Nationals. With the use of Doc's Sports Unit Betting System, I have also been releasing free weekly picks for select Nationals games with the goal of building a profitable MLB bankroll by cashing in on these unit plays.
Doc's has been posting these free MLB picks on its homepage, so you can follow along to chart my progress. The Nationals will try and head into next week's MLB All-Star Break atop the NL East, and I will try and cut my first-half losses with a winning pick for Friday night.
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Washington Nationals Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Friday, July 10, 7:05 p.m. EST (Camden Yards)
The Battle of the Beltway comes to Camden Yards this weekend when Washington squares off against Baltimore in a three-game set starting this Friday night. Game 1 of this highly-anticipated interleague showdown is set for 7:05 (ET), and it will be available on MLB Extra Innings.
Washington heads into this series with 3-4 record in its last seven games, but it still holds a three-game lead over New York in the NL East as of Wednesday's action. The Nationals are 46-38 on the year but below .500 on the road at 21-22. The total has stayed "under" in six of their last seven games.
The Orioles return home a bit banged up from a recent six-game road trip in which they went just 1-5. After dropping two of three to the Chicago White Sox this past weekend, they were swept in a three-game series against Minnesota. This slide has dropped them to 43-42 on the year and 2.5 games in back of the New York Yankees in the AL East. The total has stayed under in five of their last eight games.
Washington at Baltimore Betting Storylines
Washington has been a feast-or-famine team all season long, but its overall play has remained solid enough to lead the way in the NL East. Scoring runs has not been too much of an issue with an average of 4.3 runs a game, but over its last seven games this average has dropped to just 2.6 runs a game. Pitching has been a bit hit or miss all season long as compared to last season with a team ERA of 3.58, which is ranked fifth in the National League.
The Nationals will turn to Gio Gonzalez as their starter to try and gain the early edge on their I95 Beltway rivals after Wednesday's scheduled start was rained out. The left-hander is 6-4 on the year with a 4.16 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. He is coming off a quality start against San Francisco last Friday in which he allowed just one earned run on five hits to pick up the win. Prior to that, on June 21, Gonzalez shut out Pittsburgh in seven innings while allowing just four hits.
Baltimore's recent slide with just two wins in its last 10 games can be attributed to a meltdown in almost every phase of the game. The Orioles' lineup has generated a grand total of 30 runs during this stretch as opposed to a season average of 4.5 runs a game. Their pitching staff has a 3.74 ERA on the year, but opponents have tallied an average of 4.2 runs in the last 10 games. One thing in Baltimore's favor in this series is a solid 26-16 record at Camden Yards this year.
Look for Chris Tillman to get the start on Friday night for Baltimore. He is 6-7 this season through 16 previous starts with a 5.57 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP. The right-hander posted one of his best starts of the season against Cleveland on June 28 by pitching seven innings of shutout ball to get the win. Last Saturday against the White Sox he lasted just 4 2/3 innings after giving up two earned runs on 10 hits.
Washington at Baltimore MLB Betting Odds and Key Trends
BetOnline has opened Washington as a slight -107 road favorite for Friday's interleague series opener against the Orioles, who have been listed as -103 home underdogs. The total for the Game 1 clash has been set at 8.
The Nationals are 5-1 in Game 1 of their last six series, but they are just 2-6 in their last eight games against the AL East. The total has gone over in six of their last eight interleague games on the road.
The Orioles are 23-7 in their last 30 interleague games and 5-2 in their last seven games played on Friday. The total has gone over in six of their last eight interleague games at home.
Baltimore holds 5-1 edge in the last six meetings, and it is 4-1 at home in the last five games against Washington. The total has stayed under in seven of the last eight meetings in Baltimore.
Washington at Baltimore Free MLB Picks and Betting Predictions
Both of these starters have been throwing their best stuff lately, and both of these lineups have been struggling to drive in runs. This sets up a perfect opportunity to ride the total line trends in this Battle of the Beltway with a 3-Unit play of the under for Friday night.
3-Unit Play: Take Washington at Baltimore UNDER 8
YTD Record: 5-7 (-$694)
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