User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Auto
Soccer
Horses
Golf
More
Betting Tools

 
Nationals on the rise

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

Editor's Note: Follow Stephen Nover throughout the pro baseball season by getting his winning picks here.

Did you happen to notice oddsmakers opened the Washington Nationals a favorite on Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates?

That takes some courage on the part of linesmakers.

Washington has the worst record in baseball at 11-25. The Nationals could be the shoddiest fielding team, own the worst bullpen and have injuries with outfielders Austin Kearns, Elijah Dukes and first baseman Dmitri Young all sidelined.

The Nationals are on pace to break the National League record for giving up the most runs in a season.

But is Washington really this putrid?

No, the Nationals aren’t. Look at their offense. Christian Guzman is leading the National League in batting. Nick Johnson is healthy and averaging .333. It’s not a fluke. The guy could always hit.

Advertisement
Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn are on course to knock in more than 130 runs apiece. Dukes is on pace to drive in more than 100 runs. You would be hard-pressed to name another team whose No. 3-4-5 hitters are on pace to combine for more than 300 RBI’s.

They’ve helped Washington rank third in batting, third in slugging percentage and fourth in runs scored in the National League.

The Nationals have scored at least five runs in 10 of their last 11 games heading into this week. The over has cashed in seven of their past eight games going into Monday.

Sure you can point to dreadful pitching. You’re asking for serious trouble when the key setup men and closers are chosen from a group of Ron Villone, Julian Tavarez, Joe Beimel, Jesus Colome and Kip Wells.

Yet three-fifths of the Nationals’ starting staff is good. Rookies Jordan Zimmerman and Shairon Martis show a lot of promise. So does John Lannan. Zimmerman could be a future star, while Martis may be their top pitcher right now.

The Nationals really could get good if they draft and sign Stephen Strasburg, perhaps the most heralded college pitching prospect ever. Washington owns the No. 1 overall draft pick.

Besides their gas can carrying bullpen, Washington’s major problem is its other two starting pitchers – Daniel Cabrera and Scott Olsen. These two have combined to allow 75 runs in 80 1/3 innings with a combined ERA of 6.61.

Not surprisingly, Washington is 1-14 in Cabrera and Olsen’s starts this season. The Nationals would be just one game under .500 if you didn’t count Cabrera and Olsen’s starts.

Olsen has yet to regain his lost fastball and may never get it back. He just went on the DL with shoulder stiffness. Cabrera flat out needs to be released.

If the Nationals replace these two guys, get a serviceable closer and maintain their hitting, they could be a ‘dog worth backing.

  
HEADLINES
Akins: Diamond Trends - Thursday
Sportsbook: Tigers, Royals clash in KC
News: Win Total Update - August
Lawrence: September Pitchers Report
Twins' Sano, closer Perkins out vs Sox
First-place Mets primed for playoff run
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
MLB Pro Baseball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
MLB Hot Streaks
20-4 +1,585 Win Streak, +2,865 TY
7 Wins in a Row, +1,161 TY
5-1 +519 L6, 8-2 +809 L4 Days
12-2 L14 Picks, 20-7 L27 G-Plays
9-4 Last 13, 12-6 Last 18 Run
5-1 Y'day, 42-23 L65, 50-25 L75
14-8 Last 22 MLB Picks
6-2 Record Last 4 Days
11-5 L16 Guaranteed Plays
5-2 +394 L7, +1,760 G-Plays TY
4-1 Last 5 MLB Guarantees
3-1 L4 Picks, +1,367 G-Plays TY
7-2 L9 Picks, 9-3 L12 Guarantees
MLB Pro Baseball Expert Sports Picks - Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers
2015 MLB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Jimmy Boyd + 2865
Scott Pritchard + 1268
Dave Cokin + 1161
Underdog Leaders
Handicapper Money
Dave Cokin + 1092
Doc's Sports + 545
John Fisher + 507
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kyle Hunter + 1056
Marc Lawrence + 290
Michael Black + 264
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 1760
Joe Nelson + 1367
Marc Lawrence + 1164
Favorite Leaders
Handicapper Money
Jimmy Boyd + 2871
Chip Chirimbes + 2190
Mark Franco + 1611
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Jimmy Boyd + 1585
Stephen Nover + 951
Chip Chirimbes + 897
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership