MLB Picks: The Nationals vs. Padres Game Can Earn You Cash!

Jason Lake

Saturday, June 18, 2016 11:00 AM GMT

The San Diego Padres have already lost twice to the Washington Nationals. It's probably going to happen again this Saturday night, judging by the baseball odds.

This one could get ugly, folks. The San Diego Padres have already dropped the first two games of their four-game set versus the visiting Washington Nationals, and there's a very good chance they'll lose No. 3 Saturday night (10:10 p.m. ET). That's because the Nationals are sending former Cy Young winner Max Scherzer to the mound, while the Padres are going with sophomore Colin Rea. It's a bit of a mismatch.

How much? At press time, the Nationals are -225 favorites on our MLB Odds. That's a big mouthful of chalk right there. It might be worth it; Rea (4.53 FIP) got lit up in two of his last three starts, while Scherzer (3.83 FIP) allowed just 12 hits and three earned runs over the same span – all wins for Washington.


 

Min-Max
But what if we told you that Rea has been the more profitable pitcher this season? Despite his recent struggles, the Iowa native has earned 3.44 units on a team record of 6-6. Scherzer, meanwhile, is up 1.41 units on a record of 9-5. That's what a steady diet of chalk will do to you.

If you ignore who's hot and who's not, the Nationals (43-25, +10.34 units) definitely look overvalued in this situation. Take the FiveThirtyEight projection of 65 percent for Washington winning Saturday, plug it into the – altogether now – SBR Betting Odds Converter, and you get –186 out the other side.

So, do we eat that chalky -225, giving the Scherzer and the Nats more credit for their recent results? Or do we take the longer view, keeping the perils of recency bias in mind? Hmmmm... all signs point to “Yes.” It's a little of both. You have to balance recent results with sample size when you're thinking about your MLB Picks. As for whether athletes go on hot streaks, or whether their results are random (especially in baseball), that's another false binary. It's a little of both.
 

Fantasy Corner
Oh, one other thing: Current Padres (27-42, 0 –7.29 units) are a combined 14-for-111 lifetime against Scherzer with one home run and a .379 OPS. The Nats have yet to face Rea, but they might ring him up for 14 hits this Saturday alone. Why not give OF Jayson Werth (.759 OPS) a spin? He's only owned in 30.4 percent of ESPN leagues at press time, but that won't last long the way he's been hitting.

As for our pick, we're going to respect Washington's hotness and go with the OVER on the total of seven runs. The OVER is a 7-4-3 in Scherzer's 14 starts, and 8-4 in Rea's dozen appearances this year. By the way, Petco Park isn't so pitcher-friendly anymore, posting a park factor of 1.043 for runs this year. Love the taco uniforms, too.

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Free MLB Pick: Over 7 -105
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle
Record: 13-13 ML, 3-0 Totals (+3.14 units)