You know you are running good when the team you bet falls behind 3-0 in the third inning, and you aren’t even remotely worried. That was the case yesterday when we backed the St. Louis Cardinals as underdogs in Cincinnati against the Reds. I liked Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson more than Reds starter Tanner Roark and felt, for a multitude of reasons, that the Cardinals should have been the favorites last night.
So, when I got the opportunity to back St. Louis as an underdog, I jumped all over it. As I mentioned above, the Reds did jump out to an early lead, and Roark actually pitched well. But the Reds bullpen couldn’t hold the lead for Roark and the Cardinals combined for seven runs in the fifth and sixth inning to blow the game wide open.
It was our seventh consecutive winning bet, and we haven’t lost a bet since the All-Star break. Going back to July 1st, we have won fourteen of our last nineteen bets. That is nearly 74% winners, with most of the bets coming as underdogs or at even money. It has been a red-hot start to the summer, and I am hoping to keep the hot streak alive tonight as we head to Atlanta, where the Braves host the Nationals.
The Washington Nationals are in Atlanta Friday for game two of a four game series with the Braves. The Nats have been on fire for the last several weeks as they have won fourteen of their last eighteen games. After looking like they were going to fall out of contention, the Nationals have used this big run to position themselves as the first wild card in the National League. Washington now finds themselves just five and a half games back of the Braves for first place in the NL East Division. That lead was a double-digit one not long ago.
For the Braves, they aren’t playing poorly at the moment, but with the Nationals refusing to lose, they have lost significant ground in the division title chase. The Braves are in a mini-slump right now as they have lost three straight games after starting the month of July out by winning eight of their first ten games. The Nationals ran up the score last night in game one, winning 14-3.
Starting for the Nationals is Patrick Corbin (7-5 3.39 ERA), and for the Braves it is Julio Teheran (5-6 3.71 ERA). The game total over-under is set at ten and a half runs. The Nationals are -118 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:20 PM PST from SunTrust Park in Atlanta.
For the most part, Patrick Corbin has lived up to the hype in Washington this year. He was a major acquisition from the Arizona DBacks in the offseason, and the Nats were hoping that he would join Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg as a third ace in the rotation. And he has done just that. He was a little inconsistent earlier in the year, but he has been lights out in his last several starts.
In the month of July Corbin has an ERA of just 1.80. Going back to late June, in his last five starts, Corbin has allowed just six earned runs in a combined thirty-five innings pitched while striking out forty-five batters. The Nationals won all five games.
Julio Teheran is the grizzled old veteran of this Baby Braves team at the ripe old age of twenty-eight. Teheran struggled a bit in June as his ERA was north of five runs in six June starts. But he seems to have it dialed back in so far here in July as he has an ERA of just 1.50 in two starts, and the Braves won both games. Julio will have to be at his best as this Nationals team is swinging a heavy bat right now.
This is a great game between two division rivals that are both playing well at the moment. But what the Nationals are doing right now is truly impressive. After finishing the month of June with one of the best records in the NL, they have continued that hot streak into July where they are 9-3 on the month. It has been a fairly soft spot in the schedule for Washington as they have played the Marlins, Royals, and Orioles so far in July, but wins are wins, and this team seems to be getting better each and every night as their confidence continues to grow.
Nobody is going to want to see that trifecta of aces in the playoffs, so it is important that the Braves do their best to stay ahead of Washington for the division title. To me, this is a fairly even game. The Nats have been solid on the road as they have a winning record away from the nation’s capital. And the Braves have the second-best record in the NL. So, in a game that seems fairly even, where do we find the value?
Julio Teheran has not made it out of the sixth inning in eleven of his twenty starts this season. He has pitched past the sixth inning just once all season long, and that came way back in April. And when you look at this Braves bullpen, they got hammered last night. The Braves pen was forced to work six and a third innings last night and gave up six runs. And with Teheran on the mound, they are going to get a heavy workload again tonight.
And when you look at Corbin and the Nationals, you can pencil Corbin in for seven-plus innings right now. Corbin has pitched seven or more innings nine times already this season, including in four of his last five starts. I see Corbin pitching well, flirting with double-digit punchouts, and the Nationals staying hot and winning this game in a lower scoring affair. Let’s call it 4-2 Washington. Give me the Washington Nationals as small road underdogs tonight in game two from Atlanta at -118!