Pick Home Team in Tonights Philles vs. Nationals MLB Bets

Darin Zank

Thursday, July 31, 2014 2:22 PM GMT

Thursday, Jul. 31, 2014 2:22 PM GMT

First place meets last place when Washington and Philadelphia get together for a four-game series at Nationals Park, starting Thursday night (7:05 pm ET). Here's our preview of this encounter, with free MLB picks offered for the reader's consideration.

Phillies-Nats Betting Odds
As of Thursday morning the best MLB betting odds we could find for Game 1 of this series on Washington and Gio Gonzalez was the -158 offered at BetOnline, while Philly and Cliff Lee were getting +149 at 5Dimes. And most books were listing the total on Thursday's game at seven runs.

 

Series Set-Up
Washington just dropped two of three games in Miami, avoiding the sweep with a 4-3 victory Wednesday. Still, the Nationals have won four of their last five series, and nine of their last 14 games. At  58-47 the Nats lead the NL East by a game and a half over second-place Atlanta.

Philly, meanwhile, just dropped two of three games to the Mets in New York, losing Wednesday 11-2. So the Phillies have lost four of their last five series, and 10 of their last 15 games. At 47-61 Philly appears to be in “fire-sale” mode as the trade deadlines approach.

The Nationals lead this season series six games to three, with the totals going 6-3.

 

Thursday's Starters
Gonzalez (6-6, 3.56), by our strict accounting, is 7/16 on quality starts this season, and four for his last six. Last Saturday he held Cincinnati to one run through seven innings, and over his last six outings he's given up just seven earned runs through 38 innings.

For the season Gonzo has allowed just 76 hits in 94 innings, walked 38 and whiffed 98. Washington is 10-6 in games Gonzo has started, with the totals leaning toward the 'unders' by a 9-6 margin.

Gonzalez has started five times against the Phillies since the beginning of last season, allowing nine ER and 26 hits through 33 innings; the Nats went 3-2 in those games.

Lee (4-5, 3.78) is 6/12 on quality starts, but 0 for two since coming back from an elbow injury that kept him out of action for two months. Most recently he gave up three runs and nine hits in five innings against Arizona, and just before that he got nicked for six runs and 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Giants.

On the season Lee has been banged around for 99 hits in 79 innings, walked 12 and struck out 68. Philly is 5-7 in Lee's starts, with the totals going 8-3.

Since the beginning of last season Lee has started four times against the Nationals, giving up 10 ER and 25 hits through 28 innings; the Phillies only won one of those four games.

In the battle of the bullpens for this series Washington ranks fourth in ERA at 2.85, converting 28 of 37 save chances, while Philly ranks 25th in ERA at 4.02, going 25/37 on save chances.

 

With the Sticks
Philly ranks 28th in team OPS at .670 and 24th in scoring at 3.9 runs per game.

Washington ranks 15th in OPS at .699 and 11th in scoring at 4.2 RPG.

 

Phillies-Nats Betting Trends
Philly has leaned toward the 'overs' this season by a 57-45 margin, mainly because of their poor pitching.

The totals have also tilted toward the 'overs' this season in games played at Nationals Park by a 24-21 margin.

 

Free MLB Pick for Thursday
We can't help but like Washington to take this series opener, and since we like to take chances, we'll go with the Nats on the run line, getting +145 at 5Dimes, for our free MLB pick on Thursday's contest.

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