MLB Pick: Nationals To Prevail Over Road Weary Giants

Gio Gonzalez

Friday, August 5, 2016 1:53 PM GMT

The road-weary Giants need to improve their current away form if they wish to maintain their lead a top the NL West. No easy task in Washington, as the NL East-leading Nationals and San Francisco clash in the opener of a three-game series. Check out our free betting pick with the analysis here. 

San Francisco Giants vs Washington Nationals

San Francisco Giants (62-46) - Jeff Samardzija (9-7, 4.30 ERA)
Road travel has not been kind to the Giants following the All-Star break. Since returning, they are 2-9 away from AT&T Park. Losing by 2.0 runs per game, pitching is letting the team down. The staff allows 5.5 runs per contest in this stretch, twice belted for double digits. Books are still adjusting. Going into the break with MLB's best record, bettors have netted over 80 percent profit fading the Giants in this spot at average +112 odds.

Manager Bruce Bochy turns to veteran Jeff Samardzija to help upend the team's wretched away form. Samardzija is battling over the last couple of months, though. Going 2-4 in his last 10 outings, he's been touched up for four or more earned runs in seven overall, including his last three starts in a row. The right-hander's ERA ballooned from 3.33 to 4.30 during the stretch.

The Shark is 2-4 with a 3.47 ERA in 13 lifetime appearances (six starts) versus the Nationals. The current roster tags him for a .273 batting average (33-for-121) with Wilson Ramos and Daniel Murphy doing the most damage. Together they are 11-for-26 with three dingers, two doubles, and a triple.

The Giants are just 4-14 as underdogs against opponents owing a higher run differential then them on the season. Losing by and an average of 2.22 runs, they struggle to score, crossing the plate just 2.6 times per game in this spot.

The UNDER is 12-3 in the last 15 meetings with the Nats. Combining for 6.6 runs overall, the two teams have stayed just slightly below an average game total of 7.0 runs. Tonight's 8.5 over-under ties the highest mark set in the last 49 matchups.

Washington Nationals (64-44) - Gio Gonzalez (6-9, 4.29 ERA)
The Nationals' staff is lights out of late. Winning six of their last eight games, two of which in San Francisco, it's yielding 2.5 runs per tilt. Skipper Dusty Baker looks to Gio Gonzalez to continue the good run tonight.

The one-time NL wins leader (2012) is not notching up the victories as in the past. He is the only starter with five outings or more this season in which the Nats do not own a winning record, going 8-13 overall. Many of the victories were early on, too. The team is just 3-10 in his last 13 outings. Nevertheless, as home chalk, the Nats are 5-4 behind the southpaw.

Gonzalez is 3-4 with a 3.14 ERA in 10 career appearances against the Giants. Versus their current roster, former teammate Denard Span (4-for-13), Brandon Crawford (4-for-13), and Angel Pagan (4-for-11) are each hitting better than .300 lifetime.

The southpaw, who just dropped a 3-1 decision to Matt Cain and the Giants six days ago, will give it another go against a team ruling left-handed starters. San Francisco is 16-6 versus southpaws with a 3.00 ERA or higher this season. However, five of the losses occurred outside of AT&T Park.

Final Analysis
San Francisco is 7-3 as a road dog this season versus starters sporting a 3.75 ERA or higher, returning a little better than 50 percent profit at +120 MLB odds. The team has jumped on sub-standard starters early on the road all season, scoring 2.7 runs per game through the first five innings versus those with a 3.50 ERA or higher. But Samardzija is rocky recently, and Gonzalez appears to be headed in the right direction, lowering his ERA from 4.79 to 4.29 over the last month. My MLB pick will be on the Nats to cover the point spread in the first half versus the road-troubled Giants.

Free MLB Pick: Nationals -1.5 +160
Best Line Offered:at 5Dimes
SBR Record YTD: 88-60-4 (-105 avg. odds)
SBR MLB YTD: 26-16-2 (+102 avg. odds)

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