Our summer of underdog winners continued last night as we picked up the win when we backed the St. Louis Cardinals as underdogs against the Washington Nationals. As I said in my pick yesterday, this was just a bad number. The books and public have been slow to recognize that this Nationals team just got gutted by trades and they should not be favored against a playoff caliber team like the Cardinals.
The game itself wasn’t nearly as close as the final score may show. The Cardinals jumped out to a 7-1 lead, and it looked like it would be an easy win. But nothing is ever easy in sports betting, and the Nationals put a run together to tighten the game up at 7-6 heading into the eighth inning. In the end, the Cardinals held on for the win, and we cashed our ticket.
I mentioned that the Cardinals would be happy to have Marcel Ozuna back from the DL and all this guy has done in his two games back is collect six hits including two home runs. This Cards team is running on all cylinders right now, and they are getting healthy at the right time as well. For today’s pick, I will stay right here with the Nationals as they host the Chicago Cubs tonight in game one of a four-game series.
The Chicago Cubs are in Washington D.C. Wednesday for game one of a four-game series with the Nationals. The Cubs are looking to get right back on track after dropping two out of three to the Brewers in their last series. While the Nationals are quickly sinking towards the bottom of the standings after making several trades at the waiver trade deadline last week that has left this team short-handed and reeling.
Starting tonight for the Cubs is Kyle Hendricks (11-10 3.77 ERA), and for the Nationals, it is Stephen Strasburg (7-7 4.09 ERA). The Nationals are -111 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM PST from Nationals Park in Washington D.C.
Here we are again with the Washington Nationals as favorites over a much better overall team. I just don’t understand all the Washington love right now. This team was torn apart recently with trades, and the betting market just isn’t adapting. Since those trades, where they moved Daniel Murphy, Matt Adams, and Gio Gonzalez, they are just 2-3, but they could very well be 0-5.
In both of those two wins, they were losing late in the game, and it took a heroic comeback to sneak out with a win. This team just isn’t the same one it was two weeks ago, and to be honest, that team wasn’t all that good, to begin with! I have been betting against this Washington team a lot recently, and I am likely to continue that trend as I just don’t think they have the manpower to hang with the top teams in the National League right now.
Steven Strasburg hasn’t been healthy most of the season, and when he has been on the field, he just hasn’t been himself. He really struggled for most of the summer, between stints on the DL, and saw his ERA rise to above seven runs during that tough summer stretch. That is unheard of for a guy that has been one of the best pitchers in the NL for the better part of the last decade.
He seems to be getting it together somewhat in his last two starts as he has pitched a combined twelve innings and has allowed four earned runs, and the Nats have won both games. But even his recent “success” hasn’t been anything like what we have come to expect from him. Strasburg has been a guy that strikes out a lot of hitters and doesn’t walk many, but recently he has seen his walks go up and his strikeouts go down. He will have his hands full tonight with a Cubs team that leads the majors in on-base percentage and is second in batting average.
The Cubs have been just OK the last month or so as they have battled injuries. But they have Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo back for this series, and I expect the offense to get right back on track. One guy that has been great recently though is tonight’s starter, Kyle Hendricks. The Cubs have won seven out of his last nine starts, and his sub-four-run ERA has been more than respectable.
Hendricks has been especially good in his last three starts as he has pitched twenty innings and has allowed just three earned runs. He has one start against the Nationals this season, and he pitched well. On August 10th he put in six innings of work and allowed just two runs against the Nats, and the Cubs won the game.
This is just another bad number. I know Stephen Strasburg is a big scary name to bet against, but the fact of the matter is, he just hasn’t been very good this season. At this point, it would be hard to call Strasburg anything more than an average pitcher. Maybe he will get healthy next year and go back to being elite, but right now this guy is just trading on his name, not his current production.
Throw in the fact that his lineup is missing several key pieces and that he has to face a Cubs team that not only has a powerful lineup, but they also have the best record in the National League, and I just don’t see where the books came up with this number. This is similar to last night’s game, it is just a bad number. The Cubs should be -120 or maybe even more in this one.
So, I will happily take advantage of the books trying to give away more money tonight and back the significantly better overall team in this one, the Chicago Cubs. Give me the Chicago Cubs as road underdogs tonight in game one from Washington D.C. at +101!