MLB Picks: Cardinals vs. Nationals +102

Jeff Grant

Friday, April 18, 2014 6:30 PM GMT

Friday, Apr. 18, 2014 6:30 PM GMT

The St. Louis Cardinals have underperformed as slight road favorites in recent years, which provides value for the Washington Nationals Friday night.

Rolling along
St. Louis has won five of its last six games, including a 8-0 shutout victory over the Washington Nationals as -135 road favorites Thursday, while going OVER the betting total for the first time in four contests.

The Cardinals have won their last eight games against the Nationals, while they’ve also compiled a 212-148 record in March/April since 2000—the best such mark in all of baseball over that span.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the club has gone 33-35 on the road with a money line of -100 to -125.

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Inconsistent start
Washington has alternated wins and losses over its last five affairs, as the preseason favorites to win the NL East division have gotten off to an inconsistent start—mainly due to key players being in and out of the lineup. 

Star outfielder Bryce Harper entered the series batting .483 over his previous eight contests, but he’s been bothered with left quad tightness in recent days, while third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is on the disabled list with a thumb injury.

MLB handicappers will find that the franchise is 8-10 as home underdogs of +100 to +125 since the 2012 campaign.

Wacha
Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha (2-0, 1.89 ERA) has picked up back-to-back wins, including a 6-4 home victory over the Chicago Cubs last time out, as he allowed three runs and five hits over 6.1 innings of work. 

The right-hander has gone 2-0 with a 3.20 ERA in six career games (four starts) away from Busch Stadium, with opposing hitters batting .270 against him.

Wacha tallied a 2-0 home victory in his only career appearance versus the Nationals on Sept. 24 of last season.

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Gonzalez
Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (2-1, 3.50 ERA) will look to bounce back from a 10-2 road defeat to the Atlanta Braves last time out, as he surrendered a season-high six runs and nine hits over six frames. 

The left-hander has put together a 1-1 record and 1.13 ERA in two lifetime appearances versus the Cardinals.


Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Nationals as one of their MLB picks, as they’ve won 14 of Gonzalez’ last 17 efforts versus NL Central foes.

Pick: Washington Nationals +102

[gameodds]3/262222/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

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