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D’Backs vs. Nats Pick MLB – August 19th

We notched a nice double-up winner last night to make for five winning picks in the last seven (bad day Saturday notched the two losses), and while it could be classified as an “easy winner” the Royals bullpen did introduce a little late drama. Justin Vargas cruised and the Royals offense did some damage to carry a 6-1 lead into the ninth before Minny plated three runs to make the runline wager a little tense.

All’s well that ends well, and we pick up two wins while the Royals extend their division lead to two full games over the slumping Tigers. Get George Brett with a bat full of pine tar fired up Royals fans – the Playoffs are more realistic every day.

A place where playoffs will NOT be realistic is in Cincinnati. Their bullpen picked up their third loss in less than 28 hours with another clunker last night. It’s time to officially take them off the board in the NL race – leaving Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and St. Louis left to slug it out over the final 38 games.

Let’s keep the good vibes rolling tonight and pick a winner of the crowded Tuesday board.

Today’s Free Pick:

Arizona Diamondbacks +206 at Washington Nationals -226 (Total: 7.5)

Chase Anderson (7-4, 3.16 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (9-10, 3.53 ERA)

There’s a lot to like about Washington right now. They’ve won seven games in a row, they are at home, they are better than the Diamondbacks and they have Stephen Strasburg on the mound.

Perhaps it is the last nugget that has me in a contrarian mood tonight, or at least enticed by the big shiny +206 number dangling in front of the D’Backs. It’s baseball – and while Arizona is “awful” and Washington is “fantastic” the truth is they are only separated by less than 15% in winning percentage. My point is, there aren’t many upsets in MLB, but there are some opportunities when perception heavily outweighs value.

On pure numbers, Anderson has pitched better than the highly-acclaimed Strasburg in 2014. He has a lower ERA, a better W/L record and the Diamondback have fared better in games Chase has started (9-6) than have the Nats and Strasburg (13-13). The momentum is in Washington’s favor with seven straight wins, and Strasburg has been very good at home (around a 2.50 ERA). I wouldn’t be stunned if the Nats won – but I also wouldn’t be surprised if Arizona won a 3-2 or 3-1 type baseball game. To me, that’s enough to take a flyer on a value as large as +206.

Free Pick:   Arizona Diamondbacks to WIN +206