Even casual baseball bettors are aware that the Washington Nationals are a better team than the Atlanta Braves, but it takes a skilled handicapper to know how best to work the MLB odds for maximum profit.
Washington Nationals (Fister) (-1 1/2 R/+130) vs. Atlanta Braves (Wisler) 7:10 ET
The Washington Nationals visit the Atlanta Braves for the 2nd game of their early week set. With last night's 6-1 victory, the Nationals boosted their road record to 21-20 (only St. Louis and San Francisco have been over .500 previously in the National League). With that victory, Washington opened a 7-game lead over Atlanta in the National League East. This had been a far closer race prior to the last 10 days. Since that time, however, Washington has gone 9-1, outscoring the opposition 50-18. Atlanta, meanwhile, has scored just 12 runs in 8 games with a 1-6 record of late.
One look at the Braves' OPS numbers tells us why the Braves are due for a continued dip. Entering the week, Atlanta had a .685 batting OPS and .737 pitching OPS. Each of those numbers were ranked 22nd of the 30 teams in MLB. It is a sure sign that their demise will continue. This is a rematch of the pitching matchup last Thursday. In that game, a 7-0 victory by Washington, Wisler lasted just 4 IP, allowing 7 runs on 9 hits. It is more likely that he will repeat that performance than his first outing from this mound in which he worked 8 innings, allowing just 1 run in a 2-1 victory against the week hitting Mets, whose 11-26 road mark and .664 OPS is better only than the Philadelphia Phillies.
With last night's 6-1 victory, the Nationals extended their series dominance over Atlanta to 9-0 by a combined score of 66-31. Fister was the beneficiary of the Washington offense last week. In the 7-0 Thursday victory, Fister allowed just 5 base runners. That is a positive performance to build on as Fister continues to work his way back from his stint on the DL.
Run line players take note. Since a 7-13 beginning, Washington has played 36-21 ball (.632). That's the type of baseball that everyone expected at the beginning of the season. Their dominance in the last 10 games in which they have outscored foes 50-18 and in a 9-game winning streak against the Braves by a 66-31 count goes hand in glove with the Atlanta Braves' home record that has seen Washington drop 14 of their 16 home losses by 2 or more runs. Lay the runs for the best value MLB pick and take the price in this Run Line Underdog slaughter.
MLB Picks: Take Washington Nationals -1.5 (+135) at 5Dimes