Philly and Washington are both 3-6 as they ready to open a four-game series at Nationals Park Thursday night. How should we bet Game 1?
Phillies-Nats Game 1 Betting Odds
As of early Thursday morning the best price we could find on Washington and Doug Fister was the -129 offered at Pinnacle, while Philly and Cole Hamels were getting +126 at YouWager. And most MLB odds were listing the total on tonight's game at 6.5 runs.
Phillies-Nats: Series Set-Up
These teams have already met once this season, last weekend, when Philly took two of three games from Washington at CBP. Two of those games played UNDER on the totals, and the third pushed, as the teams combined to score just 17 runs all weekend.
The Phillies just got swept three games at the Mets this week, losing Monday 2-0, Tuesday 6-5 and Wednesday 6-1. Philly rapped out nine hits Thursday and drew four walks, but couldn't get a base hit when needed, and left 11 runners on base.
So the Phillies have been held to three runs or fewer in six of their first nine games.
Washington just dropped two of three games in Boston this week, losing 9-7 Monday and 8-7 Tuesday but avoiding the sweep with a 10-5 victory Wednesday. The Nats broke loose with six runs in the third inning Wednesday, and cruised to the W as a +110 betting underdog.
Washington had scored just 17 runs over its first seven games this season, but has equaled that total in its last two games.
Last year Philly took the season series from Washington 10 games to nine, despite finishing 23 games behind the Nats in the standings. Also, the totals went 8-9-2 in last year's series.
Thursday's pitching match-up is a re-match of a game from last Saturday, a 3-2 Philly victory in 10 innings.
Fister will be making his second start of this season, after a solid outing his first time out last Saturday in which he held these Phillies scoreless on six hits through 6 1/3 innings. Unfortunately for him the Nats bullpen blew a 2-0 lead, and Washington eventually lost 3-2 in 10 innings.
Last season Fister went 17-for-25 on quality starts; the Nats went 18-7 in Fister's starts, with the totals leaning toward the UNDERS by a 14-10 margin.
Since the beginning of last season Fister has started four times against Philly, allowing eight earned runs and 26 hits through 26 innings. Washington only won one of those games, thanks in part to poor run support, and three of those games stayed UNDER the totals.
Hamels will be making his third start of this season. On Opening Day against Boston he gave up four runs and five hits, including four solo homers, in five innings of an 8-0 Phillies loss. But Saturday against these Nationals he gave up just one run on two hits, albeit another solo homer, through seven innings of that 3-2 Philly extra-inning victory.
Last year Hamels, pitching in some lousy luck, went 24-for-30 on quality starts, ranking among the best in the Majors in that category. The Phillies, a team that finished 16 games under .500 overall, went 15-15 in Hamels' starts, with the totals going 12-13.
Since the beginning of last season Hamels has started against Washington five times, allowing 10 earned runs and 25 hits through 34 1/3 innings; the Phillies only won two of those games, because of poor run support, and three of those games played UNDER.
Washington is still playing without OF Denard Span and 3B Anthony Rendon, who are both still on the DL. Philly, meanwhile, is without OF Domonic Brown, who's on the DL with a sore Achilles.
Washington went 28-17 against left-handed starters last season.
Philly went 50-67 against righties last year.
Phillies-Nats Game 1 Free Pick
The last time these two pitchers squared off the final score was 3-2. We won't be surprised if tonight's game is decided by a similar score. Bet the under with your MLB picks for this game.
Free MLB Pick: UNDER 6.5 runs at 5Dimes