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Nationals Need To Take Advantage Of Visiting Cubs In Three-Game Weekend Set

Posted by Dale "Skip" Lalonde on 5/8/2013 7:11:43 PM

The Washington Nationals were the preseason sports betting favorites to win the National League East this season. With the Atlanta Braves off to a hot start, winning the division won’t be as easy as some may have thought. The Nationals will need to take advantage of every opportunity they get to add to their win total, including a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs this weekend. The 13 wins that the Cubs have compiled so far this year are second-fewest in the NL, which means they are ripe for the taking as long as Washington can execute with the focus they would if it was Atlanta they were hosting.

Chicago Cubs @ Washington Nationals
Friday, 7:10 PM ET

Washington has ranked among the lowest scoring online betting teams in the majors through the first month of action, and has really struggled to get runners on base with consistency. That has put even more pressure on a pitching staff that ranks in the top-10 in ERA, and that will be the case in this series with Ross Detwiler getting the nod for the opener. Detwiler is 1-3 with a 2.50 ERA, with each of his three losses coming over the course of his last three starts. The Cubs will counter with Jeff Samardzija, and thankfully for the Nationals he hasn’t been any better than Detwiler as Chicago has lost four of the last five games he has started. Washington should be able to get some runs on the board versus Samardzija, and that will help ease the pressure on Detwiler in the series opener.

MLB Betting Pick: Washington Nationals - 170

Chicago Cubs @ Washington Nationals
Saturday, 4:05 PM ET

The Nationals should like the match up even more in game two, as the offense gets the chance to get going against Edwin Jackson, who is 0-5 with a 6.39 ERA on the season. Jackson has allowed 12 earned runs in his last 9.2 innings of work, and the Cubs have lost by three or more runs in each of his last two starts. Surprisingly, Washington hasn’t been much better with Stephen Strasburg on the mound, as he is just 1-4 with a 3.45 ERA this online sportsbook season. Strasburg has been dealing with soreness in his forearm, and while he has struck out eight batters in each of his last two appearances he really hasn’t been able to do enough to overcome a lack of run support. That should change with Jackson on the mound for Chicago, but Strasburg has to stay under control.

MLB Betting Pick: Washington Nationals - 170

Chicago Cubs @ Washington Nationals
Sunday, 1:35 PM ET

The Cubs have battled hard to keep most of their series’ interesting this season, but will need another brilliant performance from Scott Feldman to salvage a win in this one. Feldman has earned a win in three-straight starts, allowing just four earned runs in 22.2 innings of work over that span. Gio Gonzalez has struggled this season with a 4.97 ERA, and if Feldman can slow the Nationals’ offense than he could be in line for a fourth-straight win.

MLB Betting Pick: Chicago Cubs + 140

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