There is not a ton of value to be had on a light 7-game MLB slate on Monday night, so we’re left really scrounging for profitable avenues. Making things a little more hectic is a lack of truly safe plays across the board. That could be troublesome for MLB bettors, but it also can afford us the opportunity to take a few risks we otherwise normally wouldn’t. A fun matchup between two of the best teams in the majors in L.A. certainly qualifies as one of those risks possibly worth taking.
The Washington Nationals potentially offer value we can’t pass up on Monday, as they head into Los Angeles to battle the scorching hot Dodgers. Los Angeles has secured 8 wins in their last 10 games and just wrapped up a productive series against the Brewers in Milwaukee. They’re the understandable favorites as they head back home to Dodger Stadium, where they’re a comfortable 21-8 on the year.
Washington will enter as the mild underdogs, as they try to get their heavy bats active with Bryce Harper suiting up for his second game since serving a three-game suspension. The Nats also come in with stellar production behind them, as they’ve secured wins in 7 of their last 10 games and also sports a healthy 18-11 road record. Can the Nats keep their road success going enough to convince us to back them as an upset pick on Monday night? Let’s take a closer look at the matchup to find out:
Washington Nationals (+115) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (-125) Total: 8
Gio Gonzalez (4-1, 3.03 ERA) vs. Hyun-jin Ryu (2-5, 3.91 ERA)
This is a very interesting game for betting purposes, as both of these offenses are among the best in the majors, yet it’s not like we have trash pitching hitting the mound. Gio Gonzalez gives up enough contact to potentially get him into trouble here, but he’s been fantastic at managing games and limiting runs in 2017. Gonzalez still sports a healthy ERA for the season and despite getting knocked around a bit, he just keeps surviving.
There is plenty to get nervous about when it comes to Gonzalez, who absolutely could be due for some sharp regression due to too many walks and modest K/9 numbers. Gonzalez keeps opponents guessing, however, and can be dangerous when his command is on point. It’s tough to guarantee that will be the case against a stacked Dodgers lineup, especially since he’s posted a weak 4.65 ERA away from home.
While this isn’t the best spot for Gio on paper, it’s not as if the Dodgers are flat out wrecking against southpaws. L.A. made some moves to shore up their lineup against lefties for 2017, but that hasn’t gone necessarily as planned and some injuries (Joc Pederson and Justin Turner) have also made them roll forward with a makeshift lineup of sorts. That hasn’t slowed them down really, but this is still an offense that is merely a middle of the pack unit at connecting (14th) versus left-handed pitching. They do boast plenty of power (8th in home runs vs. southpaws), however.
If we’re backing the Nats here, it’s not really because we think Gonzalez is going to come out and deliver a gem on the road. Not much about what he’s done promotes that, so we’re not going to try to sell that angle. Instead, the hope is Gonzalez merely holds his own in what could turn into a bit of a shootout. The good news is Ryu hasn’t been dominant in 2017 and has actually given up more homers (5) at Dodger Stadium than we’d like to see.
Ryu does hold a solid 3.05 ERA at his home park, but he gets rocked by left-handed hitting and two of his worst outings on the year came against powerful lineups at home. The Nats certainly qualify as a problem in this spot, as Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy give the 30-year old veteran two serious problems to pitch around, while Washington as a whole is still the second best team in MLB at connecting on left-handed pitching. Their power isn’t as impressive as it is against righties, but with the Nats still producing 14 home runs against southpaws, Ryu will have to work hard to stay ahead of this matchup.
Ultimately, I don’t know if there is necessarily enough here to confidently back the visiting Nats. That being said, Washington is a very fun upset pick at +115 and these two elite offenses should have little trouble combining to top what feels like a low Total. We don’t hate a Nats upset pick here, but the best play might be the Over.