The best team in baseball, the Washington Nationals, looks to solidify its position atop the National League standings as it host the fading New York Mets for three games in DC starting Friday. Which way are we leaning with our MLB picks?
By: Ron Patrick -
Washington won Game 1 of this series Friday night 6-4,
getting a grand slam from Michael Morse and a two-run dong by Bryce Harper.
The Nats won Friday as -155 favorites on the MLB betting
board, and the game played 'over' its total of eight.
Washington now leads the season series with New York eight
games to two.
Edwin Jackson (7-7, 3.74) gets the start Saturday for the
Nationals against lefty Jon Niese (9-6, 3.67) for New York.
Jackson is 12-for-22 on quality starts this season, but 0
for his last three because he hasn't been able to get through the sixth inning.
His last time out Jackson got nicked for five runs in 5 2/3 innings against Arizona
last Saturday, and over his last three starts he's allowed 10 ER over 16 1/3
In two starts this year against the Mets Jackson has given
up five ER and seven hits over 12 innings.
Niese is 13-for-23 on quality starts this year, and two for
his last three. Most recently Niese held the Braves to one run in eight innings
last Sunday, and over his last three starts he's allowed six ER and 17 hits
through 21 innings.
In his one start this season vs Washington Niese held the
Nats to one run and three hits through seven innings, walking none and striking
Odds and Trends
As of Saturday AM the best price we could find on the
Nationals was the -137 offered at Matchbook, while the Mets could be found at
+135 on most MLB odds boards.
And most books are listing the total on Saturday's game at
Early wagering on Saturday's game has seen almost 70 percent
of play on the side come in on Washington, while play on the total has been
split just about down the middle.
Free MLB Pick
We're tempted to take the Mets here, because Niese has been
pretty good as of late. But realistically, there's only one way we'd play this
game, and that would be to take the Nationals.
By: Ron Patrick -
The Nationals just took two of three games in San Francisco
this week to finish off an 8-2 road trip.
On the other side of this matchup the Mets just avoided a
sweep in Cincinnati by taking the third game of a series with the Reds Thursday
8-4. Still, New York has lost four series in a row and eight of its last 12
So Washington leads the NL East by four games over Atlanta,
and they're two games up on Cincinnati in the race for the best record in the
The Mets, meanwhile, are six games under .500 and nine games
behind Pittsburgh, which owns the second NL Wild-Card spot.
Ross Detwiler (6-5, 3.18) will start for Washington Friday
night against Johan Santana (6-8, 4.58) for New York.
Detwiler is just six-for-18 on quality starts this season,
but four for his last six. His last time out Detwiler gave up four earned runs
in less than five innings Sunday against Arizona, and was pulled because of an
illness. But over his two starts previous to that he had allowed just two runs
and six hits in 14 innings.
In three appearances this year against the Mets Detwiler has
been very good, allowing just one ER and nine hits over 14 innings. And the
Nats have won both his starts against New York this year.
Santana is nine-for-20 on quality starts this season, but 0
for his last four. His last time out, which was his first start after spending
a month on the DL with a sprained ankle, Santana got nicked for eight runs in
less than two innings against the Braves last Saturday. And in three starts
since the All-Star break Santana has been bombed for 20 earned runs on 23 hits
over just 9 1/3 innings.
In his one start this year against Washington Santana
allowed just one run on five hits through five innings of a 4-0 Mets loss back
The betting 'over/unders' are a combined 21-14 in games
started by Detwiler and Santana this season.
Friday's Betting Odds
As of Friday morning the best price we could find on Washington
was the -157 offered at Matchbook, while New York was getting +155 at 5Dimes.
And most baseball betting shops were listing the total on Friday's game at
Early action on this game has seen three-quarters of play on
the side come in on the Nationals, while about 55 percent of play on the total
has come down on the 'under.'
New York is 67-46 on the 'over/unders' this season.
The Nats lead the season series with the Mets nine games to
Bovada is listing Washington at -210 to win this series,
with New York getting +170.
The Nationals have been playing without SS Ian Desmond (17
HR, 53 RBI), who's on the DL with a torn oblique. But he's expected to be
activated for Friday's game. Washington didn't seem to miss Desmond too much,
though, going 19-6 in his absence.
Free MLB Pick
This series matches two teams going in opposite directions.
So for the first of our series MLB picks we'll go with the team headed down the winning way, and get down
on the Nationals before the price gets too high.
Check out Jeff Grant's MLB picks of the day article, as he has already decided to play on the Nationals as well.