Specialization when wagering on MLB games can be a viable betting strategy, and to help prove the point I am exclusively handicapping the Washington Nationals all season long. I will also be backing up my efforts with free picks for select Washington 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 will be posting these free MLB picks on its homepage, so be sure to follow along to chart my progress. The Nationals continue to battle to stay on top in the NL East in what is turning into a heated three-team race, and I am battling to get back on the plus side the ledger handicapping their games.
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Washington Nationals Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Thursday, June 4, 7:05 p.m. EST (Nationals Park)
Washington will remain at home for the first week of June with an extended four-game weekend set against the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park starting this Thursday night. The first pitch in the series opener is set for 7:05 p.m. (ET), and the game will be available on MLB Extra Innings.
The Cubs will wrap up a three-game series against Miami this Wednesday with the rubber match. They won the opener 5-1 as -123 road favorites, but they lost the next game 5-2 as -103 favorites on the road. Chicago is now six games in back of St. Louis in the NL Central race at 27-23 with an even 12-12 record on the road. The total has stayed "under" in seven of its last eight games.
Washington took the first game of Tuesday's interleague double-header against Toronto 2-0 as a -154 home favorite, but it dropped the nightcap 7-3 as even heavier -162 favorites at home. This series wraps up on Wednesday as well. The Nationals are now just 4-6 in their last 10 games, and the total has gone "over" in three of their last four contests.
Chicago at Washington Betting Storylines
The Cubs are keeping pace in their division race behind a pitching staff that is ranked fifth in the NL with a staff ERA of 3.64. Offensively, they have had their issues consistently producing runs with an average of 4.1 a game that falls all the way to 10th in the league. Kris Bryant has knocked in a team-high 33 runs this season, and Anthony Rizzo has led the way in home runs with nine. Rizzo also has the top batting average (.317) in this lineup.
Look for Chicago to go with Jake Arrieta as its starter for Thursday night. The right-hander is an even 4-4 this season through his first 10 starts, but he has been on the wrong end of three of his last four decisions. Against Kansas City last Friday, he allowed four earned runs on eight hits. While he did not get tagged with the loss, the Cubs still fell 8-4. On the year, Arrieta has a 3.18 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP.
Washington's bats went on a tear for much of May, and overall this lineup is ranked third in the NL in scoring with an average of 4.5 runs a game. The team's biggest bat has been Bryce Harper. While he has cooled a bit, he still leads the NL in home runs with 18 and is second in the league in RBI with 44. The Nationals' pitching staff has struggled to match last season's performance as the best in the majors in terms of earned runs allowed, but it's a respectable sixth in the NL right now with a team ERA of 3.75.
Gio Gonzalez will be on the mound in Thursday's series opener for Washington. The month of May was a bit rocky for the left-hander in terms of runs allowed, but he still managed to post three wins in his six starts. After allowing a total 16 earned runs on 29 hits in his last four outings his ERA has ballooned to 4.73, and his WHIP now stands at 1.53. The Nationals have still managed to win five of their last six games when he gets the start.
Chicago at Washington MLB Betting Odds and Key Trends
BetOnline has listed the Nationals as -122 home favorites for Thursday night's series opener against Chicago with the moneyline on the Cubs set at +112. The betting odds for the total have been set at 7.0.
The Cubs are 8-3 in their last 11 games against a team from the NL East, and they are 7-2 in Arrieta's last nine starts in Game 1 of a new series. The total has stayed under in five of their last seven games on the road.
The Nationals are 9-2 in their last 11 home games, and they have won Game 1 in eight of their last 10 series. The total has stayed under in six of their last eight home games against a team with a winning record.
This will be the first meeting this season, but Chicago has lost six of its last 10 road games against the Nationals, and it is 1-4 in the last five games overall. The total has gone over in seven of the last nine meetings in Washington.
Chicago at Washington Free MLB Picks and Betting Predictions
Both of these starting pitchers have taken their lumps in recent outings, which could set the stage for quite a few runs from each of these lineups. I like Washington's chances to take the early lead in this series with the win, but my 3-Unit play in this game is the "over" seven runs on the total line
3-Unit Play: Take Chicago at Washington OVER 7
YTD Record: 3-4 (-$372)
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