My task this MLB season is to exclusively handicap the Washington Nationals in an effort to demonstrate that specialization on just one team when it comes to wagering on MLB games can be a viable betting strategy. I am also releasing free picks for select games with the use of Doc's Sports Unit Betting System with the goal of building a profitable bankroll with these unit plays.
Doc's will be posting these free picks for select Washington games on its homepage, so be sure to follow along all season long to chart my progress. The Nationals have started their climb to the top of the NL East following an unexpected slow start, and I plan to go along for the ride and make this newfound success pay off at the betting window.
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Washington Nationals Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Thursday, May 14, 10:10 p.m. EST (Petco Park)
The Nationals continue their current seven-game road trip out west this Thursday night at Petco Park in Game 1 of an extended four-game weekend series against the San Diego Padres. Game time is set for 10:10 p.m. (ET), and this contest will be available on MLB Extra Innings.
Washington is now just 2.5 games behind New York in the NL East with 8-2 record in its last 10 games, but it's coming off a 14-6 shelling at the hands of Arizona this past Tuesday as a -142 road favorite. It will face the Diamondbacks one more time this Wednesday to try and get the series win before moving on to San Diego.
The Padres lost the first game of a quick two-game interleague set against Seattle this week in a 11-4 rout this past Tuesday as +125 underdogs on the road. They are now a full six games off the pace in the NL West race with an even record of 17-17. San Diego has the slight edge at home with a record of 9-7 on the year.
Washington at San Diego Betting Storylines
It took the defending NL East champs some time to regain that title-winning form, but things are starting to come together for a team that opened this season as prohibitive favorites to successfully defend that title. The Nationals bats have been absolutely on fire during a current 5-1 run with an average of 7.7 runs during this six-game stretch. This lineup is now second to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL in total runs scored (158). Bryce Harper has been a one-man wrecking crew lately, and on the year he leads the team in both home runs (12) and RBI (31).
With the exception of Tuesday's 14-run meltdown, the pitching staff has also been more productive over the past few weeks. The staff ERA now stands at 3.70, and it continues to move in the right direction. Doug Fister is slated to get the start in Thursday's series opener. The right-hander is 2-1 on the year with a 2.87 ERA through his first six starts. He allowed three earned runs on six hits in his last start against Atlanta but still came away with the win behind some solid run support.
San Diego's lineup has struggled with consistency for most of the season, and looking back over its last 11 games it has scored an average of 7.8 runs a game in six wins while posting a grand total of five runs in five losses. On the year, the Padres are right behind Washington in total runs scored with 157 through the same amount of games (34). The biggest bat in this lineup has been Justin Upton with eight home runs and 24 RBI.
The Padres pitching staff has also had its share of ups and downs so far, and through Tuesday's games it is ranked 11th in the NL with a team ERA of 4.28. Look for Tyson Ross to get the start for San Diego in this game. He comes in with a 1-3 record in seven previous starts, and the right-hander's ERA on the year stands at 3.98 with a 1.52 WHIP. Ross has only gone seven innings once this season, and he has allowed at least five hits and two runs in every game.
Washington at San Diego MLB Betting Odds and Key Trends
BetOnline has listed the Nationals as slight -106 road favorites for Thursday night's series opener out west against San Diego with the moneyline on the Padres set at -104. The total for this game has been set at 6.5.
The Nationals are 6-2 in their last eight games on the road, and they are 20-6 in their last 26 road games against a team with a winning record at home. The total has gone "over" in Game 1 of their last five series.
The Padres have lost Game 1 in five of their last six series, but they are 6-1 in their last seven games against a team from the NL East. The total has gone over in five of their last six home games.
This will be the first meeting this season, but Washington comes in with a 7-3 record in the last 10 meetings overall, and it is 9-4 in its last 13 road games against San Diego. The total has stayed :under" in four of the last five meetings.
Washington at San Diego Free MLB Picks and Betting Predictions
I like Washington's chances to draw first blood in this road series with a win on Thursday night, but with the way both of these teams have been racking up runs lately, I believe there is better value in the betting odds on the total. I am going with a 3-Unit play on the over 6.5 in this one.
YTD Record: 2-2 (-$42)
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