Washington took the first game of a weekend series with Philadelphia, and hopes to do the same Saturday afternoon. Do we bet the favored Nats? Or is there MLB odds value with the underdog Phillies?
Phils-Nats Saturday Betting Odds
As of early Saturday morning Washington and Stephen Strasburg were favored on the MLB odds by around -160 over Philly and Cole Hamels, with a total of seven runs. The Nats could also be found at around +155 giving the run and a half on the run line.
Washington took the opener of this series Friday night 2-1, getting another home run from MVP candidate Bryce Harper, a tie-breaking double from Ian Desmond in the sixth inning and another quality start from Max Scherzer.
Philly got the tying run to second base in the top of the ninth, but Drew Storen avoided the blown save with a whiff for the final out.
The Nats have won six games in a row overall, and 18 of their last 22, and seven in a row at home.
Philly, meanwhile, had won six in a row, but has lost three of its last four. The Phillies are also just 6-16 on the road this season.
Washington, at 25-17, now leads the NL East by a game and a half over second-place New York.
At 18-26 Philly sits 6.5 games off the pace in the battle for the second National League wild-card spot.
Washington has taken five of eight games from Philly so far this season, with the totals going 3-4-1.
Strasburg is just one-for eight on quality starts this season, and 0 for his last five. Last Sunday he gave up three runs in five innings against San Diego, and over his last five starts he's allowed 18 ER in 22 2/3 innings. For the season Strasburg has allowed 27 ER and 55 hits through 40 2/3 innings, with 12 walks and 42 strikeouts; Washington is 3-5 in Strasburg's starts, with the totals tilting toward the OVERS by a 6-2 margin.
Strasburg has been tough on Philly during his short ML career; last year he held the Phillies to a total of five ER in five starts, covering 31 2/3 innings, and in his one start so far this year against Philly he gave up just one run through 7 1/3 innings; the Nats are 5-1 in Strasburg's last six starts against the Phillies.
Hamels, pitching through trade rumors, is six-for-nine on quality starts this season, with a run of three in a row. Monday he held Colorado to one run through 7 1/3 innings, and over his last three starts he's allowed a total of four runs through 21 1/3 innings. On the season Hamels has allowed 21 ER and 46 hits through 58 1/3 innings, with 23 walks and 62 strikeouts; Philly is 5-4 in Hamels' starts, with the totals leaning UNDER 5-2.
Hamels has already started twice against the Nationals this season; first, he held them to one run and two hits through seven innings of a 3-2 Phillies victory; but then he gave up five runs in six innings of a 5-2 Philly defeat.
Saturday's Batting Splits
Philadelphia ranks dead last in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .625 team OPS.
Washington ranks 14th against lefties this season with a .748 OPS.
Totals Betting Trends
Washington has skewed toward the OVERS this season by a 26-15 margin, probably because while the Nats have a reputation as a good-pitch/little hit outfit, thereby deserving of low totals, they rank third in the Majors in scoring at almost five runs per game.
Washington is playing without Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth, and yet they just keep movin' on.
Saturday Free Pick
Strasburg is one of the most overrated starting pitchers in baseball at the moment. He's been favored in every start except one this season, and yet he's only gone six innings twice. And he complained about a sore shoulder a couple of weeks ago. As for our free MLB picks we give Hamels the edge in the pitching match-up, and despite Philly's struggles against RHP we'll take the betting price. Also, our guess is runs will be hard to come by today, so we're thinking UNDER.