Free MLB Picks: Home Field Advantage Key In Cubs vs Nationals

Doug Upstone

Monday, June 13, 2016 1:00 PM GMT

Monday, Jun. 13, 2016 1:00 PM GMT

Two of the three best teams collide in Washington tonight on Monday night on ESPN and those looking for MLB Picks have some thinking to do when looking at the MLB Odds.

The Chicago Cubs' (43-18) Eastern road trip continues in our nation's capital and Washington (39-24) will have an extra edge to them beginning tonight. The Nationals have incentive enough just facing the club that is the talk of baseball, but having been swept in a four-game series on the road, feisty Dusty Baker and his club will be after payback.

The opening game finds Joe Maddon's team as an underdog for only the sixth time this season (3-2 record), which adds to the fascination of making MLB picks this evening.

Your user-friendly capper has nailed 10 straight winners at this location on the diamond and will try and raise season record to 21-10.

 

Pitching Matchup - Hendricks vs. Scherzer
Kyle Hendricks (4-5, 2.90 ERA, 0.90 WHIP) might have a losing record on the best team in the majors, but his teammates will stand up and except a large chuck of the blame, as they have only scored eight times in those losses. Hendricks is a big league pitcher not based on tremendous ability, but on pitch placement. His upper 80's fastball should make him marginal hurler on any staff, but because of big curveball and excellent changeup, he gets hitter's out and has a 1.50 ERA against Washington is three starts. (All Chicago wins)

Max Scherzer (7-4, 3.57, 1.05) has faced the Cubs four times and each was a Wrigley Field. The right-hander is finally settling into the kind of groove Washington expects, with a 2.58 ERA since being tagged for seven runs (4 homers) in five innings on Chicago's north side on May 6th. When Scherzer is at his best, the mid-90's fastball moves late, the sweeping curve has right-handed batters bailing and the slider is on the outside corner at the knees catching the black.


 

What is Secret to Each Team's Offense?
Chicago's offense has been slowed down of late to 5.5 runs per game and they have actually been passed by St. Louis as the league's top scoring club. Nonetheless, though the Cubs are only sixth in batting average in the National League, they are first in on-base percentage at .351, thanks to patience at the plate, leading with the most walks in the league. To this point, because of their diversity in players and roster, they have avoided a team slump, which is why they only have one losing streak of three games.

Besides the continuing news of the election cycle in Washington, the second most asked question to start the week is - Will Joe Maddon pitch to Bryce Harper? For those who may not know, Maddon had his pitchers walk Harper 13 times (six intentional) and he was officially 1-for-4 in the series. Harper has cooled off considerably since then (.258 BA) and has not hit a home run since May 28th (only 6 rbi's). The Nationals average 4.6 RPG and now have Daniel Murphy (.369 BA, 1.018 OBPS) batting behind Harper to perk up offense.

 

Betting Odds, History and Bullpen Numbers
The MLB odds at SportsBetting have the Nats as -129 home favorites with total of 7. Besides the 4-0 sweep, Chicago is 4-3 at Nationals Park the last couple years, with the OVER also at 4-3. Because both teams feature strong starting pitching, these are the least used bullpens in the senior circuit and Washington is second in ERA (3.09), with the Cubs fourth (3.42).

 

Game Outcome
It is hard to overlook the Cubs are 25-7 against winning teams and 21-10 on the road, but given Washington's state of mind about this series and the opening game in particular, they appear the right choice. The Nationals offense is smoldering in averaging 7.7 RPG in last seven outings and Hendricks and Cubs are 2-9 after he's given up two or fewer earned runs in his last two outings since last season.

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Free MLB Pick:  Nationals -123
Best Line Offered:  at Bovada

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