Nationals vs. Dodgers Series Opener to Go 'Under' the Total

Ross Benjamin

Monday, September 1, 2014 12:17 PM GMT

Monday, Sep. 1, 2014 12:17 PM GMT

Our MLB handicapping expert Ross Benjamin looks at today’s matchup between a pair of division leaders when the Nationals square off against the Dodgers. Read his preview article pertaining to this battle which concludes with a MLB free pick on one of the sides.

Battle of Two Division Leaders
The Dodgers will host the Nationals on Monday with the first pitch slated for 8:10 PM ET. This will be the first of a 3-game series between these division leaders, and what may eventually be a prelude to the 2014 NLCS series. According to MLB betting odds, the Nationals are a -120 money line road favorite, and the posted total is 7.0. These teams have seen 10 of their 15-meetings stay under the total during the past 3-seasons.

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The Starting Pitchers
The Nationals will go with southpaw Gio Gonzalez on the mound in the opening game of this series. Gonzalez has displayed decent form over his last 3-starts with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. He’s struggled to win on the road this season going 4-7 against the money despite having a respectable 3.63 ERA in those starts. This will be his first start in 2014 after making 1-start each in 2012 and 2013 versus the Dodgers. He saw each of those 2-starts go under the total while posting a stellar 1.50 ERA.

The Dodgers will go with the veteran right-hander Roberto Hernandez on the hill today. Hernandez has been a solid addition to the Dodgers starting pitching rotation since coming over in a trade from the Phillies earlier this season. He’s gone 4-2 against the money in his last 6-starts, with a very good 2.61 ERA, and 1.00 WHIP. He’s faced the Nationals twice this season and was dominant in those starts. In 15 1/3 innings he allowed 0 earned runs and allowed just 9-hits.

Take a Look at the MLB FIP Leaderboard as of August 29th!

The Nationals Peaking at the Right Time
Despite suffering a 5-3 loss on Sunday at Seattle, the Nationals enter this series having won 14 of their last 19-games. They’ve also gone an outstanding 22-8 versus opponents from the NL West this season. Washington is in the middle of a 9-game in 10-day road trip that seen them go 2-4 thus far. They’ve been a very average 34-33 on the road this season, compared to an outstanding 43-25 (.633) at home.

 

Dodger Stadium Blues
The Dodgers have some very strange home and away splits this season, considering they’re a division leader heading into the final month of the season. They’ve gone a terrific 43-28 (.606) on the road in 2014, and a disappointing 34-32 (.515) at Dodger Stadium. They’re returning from a 5-game in 6-day road trip that saw them go 3-2. This will be the first of a 9-game in 10-day home stand that will give them an ample opportunity to garner some momentum at home. On a positive note, regarding playing at home, they will be facing a Nationals team today that allows just an average of 3.5 runs per game on the year, and the Dodgers have gone a superb 40-13 (.755) at home the past 3-seasons when they’ve faced an opponent that allows 3.8 or less runs per game.

 

Final Analysis
This one is a very tough call. I’m going to lean toward a low scoring game, and contemplate making a wager on going under the total.

Free MLB Pick: Nationals/Dodgers to go under the total of 7.0 at Bet365

 

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