Mining the Diamond: Nats & Royals Poised to Cash in Saturday's MLB Picks

bryce harper nationals

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, August 19, 2017 3:17 PM GMT

Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017 3:17 PM GMT

Mining the Diamond is a daily MLB picks column focusing on pitching matchups, historical trends and of course, the value rendered by the prices on each contest. Let's analyze our two top plays for Saturday's card and keep cashing those tickets!

Nationals (73-47, +5.6 Units) at Padres (54-68, +1.0 Unit)

* San Diego is 29-38 (-1.2 Units) after a loss this season.

* San Diego is 18-36 (-9.6 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.

* San Diego is 1-4 (-2.8 Units) versus Washington this season.

* Washington is 51-22 (+21.6 Units) in night games this season.

* Washington is 26-11 (+14.1 Units) in road games after a win this season.

* Washington is 16-8 (+6.4 Units) against left-handed starters this season.

This one looks almost too easy but the MLB odds makers are trying to dissuade us from backing the Nats by making the price on the visitors so big that we look elsewhere. However, our power rating on this game has Washington as a -276 favorite while shops like Bookmaker are offering them at -170. Let's not forget that value comes in many forms and when the spread between what is and what should be amounts to almost double, then we are all-in regardless of the lofty price.

Twenty-nine-year-old Stephen Strasburg is returning for Washington after three weeks on the shelf with an elbow injury. But his last rehab performance demonstrated he appears to be on track for a successful return to the fire. Strasburg cruised through five innings on Monday night taking just 66 pitches to do so and allowed only one run. Let's take a look at Strasburg's numbers as he takes the hill for the Nationals in this one.

- Strasburg is 6-1 when starting against the Padres with an ERA of 2.93 and a WHIP of 1.07.

- Strasburg's team record is 34-10 (+15.4 Units) in all games over the last two seasons.

- Strasburg's team record is 19-3 (+12.3 Units) in night games over the last two seasons.

The Nats look to pick up where they left off after last night's 7-1 win over the Padres, as San Diego's starter Travis Wood sports a 0-1 record with a 6.60 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP over his last three. Let's watch the Nationals move one step closer to sweeping this four-game set as we back Washington in our MLB picks.

MLB Picks: Nationals-169Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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Indians (67-53, -16.8 Units) at Royals (61-60, +7.0 Units)

* Kansas City is 45-29 (+15.3 Units) in August games over the last three seasons.

* Kansas City is 30-24 (+11.5 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.

* Kansas City is 79-54 (+24.3 Units) at home when the money line is +125 to -125 over the last three seasons.

* Cleveland is 47-50 (-21.3 Units) when the total is 9 to 9.5 over the last three seasons.

* Cleveland is 21-22 (-12.1 Units) against left-handed starters this season.

* Cleveland is 43-37 (-13.9 Units) in night games this season.

Value comes in all shapes and sizes, with tonight's home dog emblematic of that fact. The Royals were hammered 10-1 in the opener of this three-game set with their divisional rivals from Cleveland. But tonight it's all shiny and new as Kansas City sends veteran Jason Vargas to the hill who boasts an 8-3 career mark against the Indians with an ERA of 3.84 and a WHIP of 1.26. here are just a few trends working in KC's favor tonight courtesy of Jason Vargas:

- Jason Vargas's team record is 14-4 (+10.8 Units) in home games over the last three seasons.

- Jason Vargas's team record is 20-8 (+14.3 Units) in night games over the last three seasons.

- Jason Vargas's team record is 37-21 (+16.3 Units) in home games after a loss over his career.

- Jason Vargas's team record is 16-7 (+11.3 Units) in all games this season.

Let's not forget that KC had won four of five before last night's losing affair and should bounce back against an Indians team that is entering their 10th straight road game. Back the home pup here.

MLB Picks: Royals +125Best Line Offered: at Intertops

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