Nationals at Braves Free Pick for May 27th

Washington Nationals +110 at Atlanta Braves -120 (Total: 6.5)

Gio Gonzalez vs. Brandon Beachy

Two first place teams square off tonight in Atlanta in an important game in the National League East standings.  The Washington Nationals have been pleasantly surprising, buoyed by dynamic starting pitching and a young, exciting ballclub.  The Braves were looking fantastic until the beginning of last week when the bottom fell out, and will be looking to stop a season-high six game skid tonight.

The pitching matchup should be a fantastic one, as both young hurlers enter with an ERA under 2.00.  Vegas is also expecting a low-scoring affair, with the runline set at just 6.5.

Gonzalez has been fantastic for the Nationals this season at 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA.  He is currently on pace to be the first 20-game winner for the franchise since moved from Montreal.  His last three starts have all been wins, but he does seem to be drifting a bit back towards the norm, as his ERA has crept up slightly to 2.50 and his WHIP a more normal 1.17.   It’s still fantastic numbers, but not lights-out domination like he was delivering in April.

Brandon Beachy has been the star thus far on a deep and incredibly talented Braves staff.  The young righty is 5-2 with a 1.77 ERA.  His last three starts have been awesome, boasting a 2.05 ERA with an even more impressive 22.0 innings pitched.  If your starter gets you to the eighth inning, you are going to be in pretty good shape more often than not.

The Nationals have owned the Braves of late, winning four in a row and every one of the wins by three or more runs.  That makes tonight’s +110 line pretty intriguing to me.  It is baseball, and momentum is only as important as the next starting pitcher – and the Braves are hurling a good one tonight.  But the trend is pretty powerful.  I’m all about finding good value money plays throughout the baseball season.   A first place team with a starting pitcher with an ERA under 2.00 who has won four straight games against an opponent who has lost six straight?  That seems like a nice value play to me.

ESPN will be carrying this game tonight at 8 EST as their Sunday Night Game of the Week.  I am generally not a big fan of betting a game because I’m going to watch it; it just makes for impulsive decisions.  It’s “gambling” rather than “wagering smart”   But there is something pleasurable about having a good value play and then watching it unfold live.

I’m looking forward to a nice pitching matchup tonight and plan on profiting a bit with the Nationals at +110.

Free Pick:  Washington Nationals to WIN +110

Chris Scheeren / Author