Free Picks: Dominant Pitchers Collide In Nationals vs. Dodgers

Monday, June 20, 2016 1:17 PM GMT

A marquee matchup of premier pitchers is on display tonight when Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals takes on Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Find inside which side to back with your MLB picks. 

Swinger's 2016 MLB Record: 37-18, +19.21 units
If you find the line a bit too steep for your liking then stay away but if you believe the matchup is so overwhelmingly favorable then take the plunge and lay the lumber. But caveat emptor; if you make a steady diet of backing big favorites in your MLB picks, you will undeniably go broke. The trick is to set a line in your head after doing your homework, compare it to the line set by the MLB odds makers and see if the disparity is worth the risk.

I bring up this scenario because yesterday I saw an ace turning the corner in the form of David Price of the Boston Red Sox, and firmly believed Boston should have been a -225 road favorite. What I saw was -182 at BetOnline and I pounced. Ultimately it was closer than I suspected it would be but the Red Sox edged the Mariners 2-1 and I cashed yet again, boosting my season record to 37-18 and plus 19.21 units. Not a bad first half of the season thus far. Let's do it again.

 

Washington Nationals (43-27, +6.6 units)
The Nats began their four game series in San Diego with a pair of wins but ended with a pair of losses. Yesterday, Washington launched three solo shots against the Padres’ Drew Pomeranz but it wasn’t enough as they dropped their series finale 6-3 and now head into Dodger Stadium. Washington is 10th in runs scored this season and sport a team batting average of .251, which ranks 16th in the majors. However, the club has put together a power surge since the beginning of June, averaging 5.7 runs per game.

Right-hander Stephen Strasburg (10-0, 2.90 ERA, 1.06 WHIP) will toe the slab for the Nationals and put his undefeated record on the line. In his last start, Strasburg impressed yet again with a six hit, one run performance resulting in a 5-4 win over the Cubs. The 27-year-old has a 1-0 record when starting against the Dodgers with an ERA of 1.71 and a WHIP of 0.912. His team's record is 1-3 (-3.3 units) in four starts versus LA.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers (38-33, -3.7 units)
The Dodgers took three of four over the Brewers during their weekend series and have now won five of their last six games. Big Blue waited until the eighth inning until they knotted the score at one before a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth lifted them to a 2-1 victory over Milwaukee on Sunday. Offense has not come easy to the Dodgers who are a middling 16th in run production but in the bottom third of the majors in team batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage.

Los Angeles will put the best in the business on the hill tonight when ace Clayton Kershaw (10-1, 1.58 ERA, 0.66 WHIP) deals in the series opener. In Kershaw’s last seven starts against the Nationals, the three-time Cy Young Award winner is 7-0 with an 0.82 ERA. His last performance took place in the desert where he logged seven plus innings of work and allowed two runs in a 3-2 win over the Diamondbacks.

 

Betting Analysis
The focus will rightfully be on the pitching matchup in this one and ultimately Clayton Kershaw will get more love because he is arguably the most dominant pitcher in baseball and will be dealing in front of his home crowd. This will lead the squares to line up on LA and forget about the fact that the Nats don’t exactly have chopped liver on the mound in Stephen Strasburg.

Baserunners will be scarce tonight no doubt but as the innings roll on we may see the starters retreat to the clubhouse to make way for the bullpen. This is where the superior offense of the Nationals, led by Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy, takes over making them our MLB pick. I cannot help but love the return on a pitcher who is currently 10-0 and getting +171 at Heritage. This game is far more a coin flip than the prevailing line suggests, and I am a big fan of big value. We have it here in the Nationals.

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MLB Pick: Washington +170 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage