Baseball Odds: Dickey Hot, Scherzer Hotter as Nationals Host Braves

Mark Lathrop

Friday, July 7, 2017 12:52 PM UTC

Friday, Jul. 7, 2017 12:52 PM UTC

Our MLB handicapper Mark Lathrop breaks down the incredible season Max Scherzer is having and suggests we back him in the Friday night NL East matchup vs. Atlanta.

2017 MLB Record: 129-119-7 (-0.75 Units)

Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals

This may turn into an article of “Max Scherzer is really awesome”, but the 32-year old Nationals righty really doesn’t give me a choice. Scherzer is in the midst of one of the best years in his career, with a 2.61 FIP, 12.16 K/9 rate, 29.9 K-BB%, and an incredible .158 BAA and 0.77 WHIP. He’s never struck out more batters than he has this season and is striking out 35.6% of batters he faces. Despite all of this, Scherzer has found a way to lose 5 decisions on the year – with only one game in which he has allowed more than 3 runs. He also has the highest WPA amongst starting pitchers in the MLB, or Win Probability Added. Basically, no pitcher increases their team’s chances of winning more than Max Scherzer.

Needless to say, Scherzer and the Nationals are heavily favored against the visiting Atlanta Braves on Friday night. The moneyline odds currently sit at -270 at Pinnacle, and I would not be surprised if it moves higher. The run line to take Washington at -1.5 also has chalk and sits at -130. The listed total has started at 8 runs with the Braves starting R.A. Dickey opposite Scherzer.

Dickey is on quite a run lately after giving up 8 runs in Washington on June 13. Since then and covering 20.0 innings pitched, he has only given up two earned runs. This will be his 4th start against Washington already this season, though, and he’s put up a 6.99 ERA. I will give more weight to past starts against Dickey since the knuckleballer’s approach is kind of an anomaly. Either lineups have the patience to punish his type of pitching or they don’t. And his splits are all over the place, with no good trends that jump out at you.

This is a slight revenge spot for Scherzer, as he lost to the Braves the last time he faced them on May 20. He allowed 2 home runs and 3 earned runs while carrying a 6/3 K/BB rate. That was a far cry from his 7-inning shutout against the Braves in April. This will be the first time he gets them at home this year, where the Nationals have a 24-17 record. I’ll turn to the run line to get some of the chalk back in this game, as I’m not about to fade Scherzer against a team with a run differential of minus-51.

Free MLB Pick: Nationals -1.5 RLBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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