Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals have been classified as -150 favorites on the MLB odds board for tonight's series opener against the Blue Jays. Who are we picking?
Most of the MLB odds are holding firm by posting a line of -150, with Washington locked in as the home favorite. You can therefore back Toronto to a price of right around +140.
The total meanwhile keeps jumping between 7.5 and 8 runs, but for now it's at the lower number. We'll have to keep tracking the lines throughout the day in order to find the best value we can.
Washington Nationals (Zimmermann)
The Nationals started out their road trip playing well, taking two of three against the Cubs in the Windy City, but they were unable to get anything going against Cincinnati over the weekend. They were swept by the Reds (losing each game by three runs) and can now be found with a 28-22 overall record.
It wasn't a good weekend of pitching from Washington, so the ballclub will be hoping Jordan Zimmermann can right the ship this evening to start the week off right. The right-hander has enjoyed a solid start to his 2015 season, going 4-2 with a 3.26 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over his first 10 starts of the season. Zimmermann has pitched well at home, going 2-1 with a 2.51 ERA in five starts to go with a 19:8 K:BB ratio. He doesn't have much of a history against these Blue Jays bats, though, so it's going to be interesting to see who wins this battle.
Despite those setbacks over the weekend, the Nationals remain in first place in the division, and their next seven games will all be at home, so there's definitely reason for optimism.
Toronto Blue Jays (Dickey)
Though the Blue Jays were able to take game one of their series in Minnesota, they fell in the next two matchups, falling to 23-29 on the season as a result. They'll now stay out on the road for three more games before finally returning home to Canada for an extended stay against Houston and then Miami.
There's not much to get excited about tonight for Toronto, however, as they'll trot out the disappointing R.A. Dickey, who has been a disaster so far in 2015. He's 2-5 with a 5.77 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 10 starts, and he's already coughed up 12 home runs. That's not a good sign heading into a showdown with Bryce Harper and the Nationals.
Even worse, Dickey has been at his very worst out on the road, going 0-3 with a 7.43 ERA and a dreadful 11:4 K:BB ratio over 23 innings. Opposing hitters are batting .344 against him on the road, which is as bad as it gets. How on earth can we have any faith in the knuckleballer following such a rough start?
For our MLB picks, we feel confident in Washington's chances tonight. They've been disappointing over the past few days, but they're still one of the best teams in baseball, and now they're back at home.
What's more, they have the clear-cut advantage on the mound, as Zimmermann has been far more reliable than Dickey. Zimmermann has excelled at home, and while the Blue Jays present a difficult matchup with all of their power bats, the right-hander is a savvy pitcher who can be extremely efficient on his day.
And, how can we forget Harper? He's been one of the most dangerous hitters in all of baseball lately, and he has to be licking his chops at the chance to connect with a Dickey knuckleball. Put it all together and we're thinking about taking a risk on the Nationals, siding with them to win by two or more runs tonight.
MLB Pick: Washington Nationals -1.5 (+145) at BetOnline