The Washington Nationals are off to a tumultuous start to the season. They had their first series of the season, against the Mets, cancelled due to positive COVID tests within the organization. They finally were able to take the field against the Braves and dropped two of three games without a handful of key starters. Things do not get any easier with them hitting the road and traveling across the country to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers today (4:10pm ET Friday; TV: Live on MLB Network).
The Nationals were able to win their first game of the season against the Atlanta Braves. They then dropped two straight the following day when they played a doubleheader. One thing to consider when betting professional baseball this year is the new rule regarding doubleheaders. Doubleheaders are now seven inning affairs, which is important to factor in when you are betting both sides and totals. This can especially come into play when betting totals. If you are going to bet an over remember that you will be doing so without the final two innings.
The Nationals were without several key starters and bullpen members in their opening series against the Braves. It was impressive they were able even to win one game and keep the other two close. They were dearly missing starters Josh Bell at first, Kyle Schwarber in the outfield, Josh Harrison in the infield, both catchers Yan Gomes and Alex Avilla, starting pitchers Patrick Corbin and Jon Lester, and reliever Brad Hand. There is no word on when exactly all these key players will be back, but it does not sound like they will be back for this series against the Dodgers.
One thing we do know for certain is that Joe Ross will be the starting pitcher today for the Nats. Ross hasn’t pitched in over a year after opting out of the 2020 season. His last game came in the World Series where he gave up five hits and four runs against the Astros. Could the 27-year-old pitcher come out rusty against a potent Dodgers’ offense? I certainly think so, which makes me like the Dodgers’ side.
The Dodgers are 5-2 on the season and currently sit atop the NL West division. They won five straight games after dropping their opening game to the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers are carried by an explosive offense and supported by strong starting pitchers. The Dodgers’ offense ranks 4th in the MLB in average runs per game with 6.3 through seven games. They are getting production from up and down the lineup. Shortstop Corey Seager and third baseman Justin Turner lead the team with seven runs batted in (RBI).
They have five players with four RBIs or more through seven games. Cody Bellinger, one of their arguably best players, has struggled to start the season. He has two RBIs and five strikeouts, but has only played in four of the teams’ seven games thus far due to a calf injury. He is listed as day-to-day but manager Dave Roberts didn’t seem optimistic in him returning soon. Even without Bellinger this team has plenty of weapons to dominate the beleaguered and undermanned Nationals. The Dodgers have scored five or more runs in five of their seven games and look to continue that trend come Friday.
Our Washington Nationals vs LA Dodgers Predictions & Picks Verdict for this Preview
I am going to be playing the Dodgers on the runline (-1.5) in their home opener. The Nationals are severely outgunned in this matchup without several key offensive weapons and two of their starting pitchers.
In a perfect world Joe Ross would be the teams sixth starter, but he will be getting the call in the fourth game of the season. Expect the Dodgers to jump on Ross early and often. I could see them winning this game quite comfortably so I am not scared to take -1.5 (meaning the Dodgers have to win by at least two runs to cash your ticket).
Currently I am seeing this juiced to -150 on most sites, which is fairly high but I think this is as close to a sure thing as you will see. The Dodgers will be running out one of their better starting pitchers with Walker Buehler on the bump. I think he should be able to keep the Nats’ offense relatively contained and that the Dodgers will be able to score plenty and win by at least two, but likely 3+ runs. So the predictions for this preview conclude with the one pick: