I got back on the winning path with my MLB picks last night, as the Philadelphia Phillies nursed a two-run lead for much of the night and held on to deliver on a +115 price for their -1.5 Run Line. The win pushed me to 2-2 on the year with my MLB calls and I’ll hope to ascend above .500 tonight.
The main slate doesn’t have a whole lot of options, as the early slate has already begun. With a few games already spoken for by already TSG writers, I turn my sights to the best play left, which happens to be the Washington Nationals at -132 at BetOnline.
They’ll be visiting the San Diego Padres for the third night in a row, following wins behind Stephen Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson.
Hellboy was even better than Strasburg last night, as he paved the way for an easy 4-0 shutout win. Washington hasn’t had an amazing start to the year due to a litany of injuries, but this gimme series against the inferior Padres has come at a great time. They’ll be looking for the clean 3-0 sweep tonight.
Washington Nationals (-1.5, +125) @ San Diego Padres (+1.5, -145) Total: 7 (-125/+105)
My first inclination is absolutely to back the Nats at a very nice -132 price at BetOnline. That’s the best Moneyline I’m seeing for them and it’s very alluring considering they have a talented arm on the mound and have been fairly hot offensively as a whole.
You can also take them to win by two runs here, but the Padres are at home and do have a solid pitcher on the mound, themselves. I’m hesitant to dig that deep with the Nats, but at +125 the value is there if you feel so bold.
I’m not into the Padres in any regard tonight. Washington can always blast off on offense and the pitching matchup is at best a wash. The Padres would be a valid reverse run line play, but the price isn’t that tempting. This Total feels a bit low, but the pitching is solid so I don’t feel like messing with it.
All roads lead to a safe play on the Nats at a handsome -132 price.
Gio Gonzalez is the main reason you should feel good about the Nats tonight. The talented lefty is in a pitcher’s park against one of baseball’s worst offenses. This will always be a matchup for bettors to attack when the logic is there, but San Diego’s bats just aren’t that scary.
It’s even less imposing when two of their best mashers who crush left-handed pitching (Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe) remain sidelined with injuries.
Gonzalez does still have to worry about some power from guys like Christian Villanueva, Manuel Margot and Jose Pirela, but the park should aid him considerably tonight. Gonzalez has been better at home in 2018, but his 2-1 mark and 3.31 ERA on the road certainly aren’t ghastly.
I like the spot for Gonzalez who tends to be a run prevention artist and can make bats miss at a high rate when he’s dialed in. That’s bad for the Padres, who have whiffed at the fourth highest rate in MLB when facing southpaws. In addition, they rank just 23rd in batting average against left-handed pitching as well.
This is a bad matchup for the Padres, who will probably need a gem of an outing from young pitcher Joey Lucchesi to have a chance tonight.
Lucchesi has a respectable 3.08 ERA at home, but has had some issues with hard contact in the early going. In just seven starts, he’s allowed five home runs, with three coming at Petco Park. He has good swing-and-miss stuff, but he’ll be taking on a Nats squad that can really get after lefties.
Their lineup isn’t 100% healthy, but Bryce Harper can destroy any ball that comes his way and guys like Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman historically destroy southpaws. I don’t think Washington lays a beating on Lucchesi in this spot, but I think they get to him enough to provide Gio with the run support he needs.
Ultimately, this game shouldn’t be too explosive and if you need a bet on the Total, the Under makes more sense. The best bet overall is the Nats at -132, however.