Be Brave And Make Nationals Your Underdog MLB Pick vs. Cubs

Swinging Johnson

Thursday, May 5, 2016 6:06 PM UTC

Thursday, May. 5, 2016 6:06 PM UTC

NL powers collide as the Nationals play the first of a four-game series with the NL Central leading Cubs in Chicago. Let’s analyze the MLB odds & find the sharp side in tonight's game.

2016 MLB Record (17-9, +7.57 units)

Washington Nationals (19-8, +7.5 units)
The Nationals are in the midst of a 10-game road swing through America’s heartland and have already won five of six. After sweeping the Cardinals and taking two of three from the defending World Champion Kansas City Royals the Nats must now contend with the team with the best record in baseball. Washington’s offense will look to continue its torrid pace after averaging 6.3 runs per game on this road trip. Last night they hammered the Royals by the score of 13-2 with Bryce Harper launching his 10th home run of the season and Daniel Murphy finishing with two singles, a double, a home run and three RBI.

The Nationals will hand the ball to 22-year-old Joe Ross Ross (3-0, 0.79 ERA) who has surpassed even the most optimistic expectations this season. In his last outing he allowed just one run in six innings of a 6-1 victory in St. Louis on Saturday. Ross began the season as the Nationals’ No. 5 man in the rotation but has pitched like an All-Star ace after four starts. He has yet to allow a home run this season and has started just one game in his short career against the Cubs, allowing three earned runs on six hits after working five innings in the in a 4-2 loss last June.


Chicago Cubs (20-6, +9.8 units)
These aren’t your father’s Cubs anymore. I learned that lesson the hard way after they snapped my personal 10-game winning streak when I elected to back the Pirates in my MLB picks on Monday night. When the dust settled the Cubs came away with an easy 7-2 win and everyone that tailed me, and my streak, were undoubtedly cursing my name. The Cubbies have the best record in baseball as well as the major league’s best run differential at plus 93.The Cubs have won seven of their last eight and Wednesday night completed a series sweep of the Pirates with a 6-2 victory.

The Cubs will turn to their No. 5 man in the rotation when they hand the ball to 26-year-old Kyle Hendricks (3.91 ERA, 1.09 WHIP). Hendricks had his last start pushed back against the Pirates and he will now face the red hot Nationals. Hendricks pitched five full innings in his last appearance allowing just two hits and one earned run in a 4-3 win over Milwaukee on April 26th at Wrigley Field. Prior to his most recent outing Hendricks was 0-2 with a 5.56 ERA. He faced the Nats twice last season which resulted in a 1-0 mark with a 2.25 ERA in his pair of starts.


Betting Analysis
Washington is 4-3 (+0.8 Units) against the Cubs in games played in Chicago over the last two seasons and they come into this one with a white hot pitcher in Joe Ross. Even better, the MLB odds makers have installed them as +132 road dogs. I get that the Cubbies have been automatic this season but the Nationals are ripping it up as well and have not only the better pitcher on their side but their bats have been positively en fuego!

Of course you can counter that the Cubs have the best run differential in the big leagues while owning a respectable 7-3 mark at Wrigley this season. I would counter that the Nationals are 11-4 on the road this year and have yielded a healthy +6.2 units to their backers when on the highway. We’ve got two of the best teams in baseball going at it but I’ll take the better pitcher with, what I feel is, a generous return on my investment.

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Free MLB Pick: Washington Nationals +132
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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