Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM
Wkd Series Prices - Best Bets
MLB Weekend Series Prices Best Bets
These weekend series plays haven't been the greatest all year, and the decision to go with two matchups going into the All-Star break last week cost us a bit of profit, the first selection in Baltimore did what was expected in winning their first two games against Toronto, but Colorado failed to get a single victory in their three-game set with the Diamondbacks. Thankfully, both were plus-money road underdogs and we still managed to come out ahead with 0.4 units, and hopefully that result is a sign of things to come in the 2nd half of the season.
With every MLB team back on the diamond today to restart the season, there is no shortage of series to break down. The first few games out of the break can be a bit tricky though in the sense you aren't completely sure how the time off affected teams, so it's back to just a single play this weekend in hopes that the 2nd half gets started off on the right foot.
Series Price: Washington (-145) vs Philadelphia (+125)
These two NL East rivals come out of the break with virtually the same record, as each side is looking up at Atlanta in a division race that could come down to the final weeks. And while thankfully the whole “Bryce Harper vs his old team” storyline has died off now that the Nats and Phillies have already played 11 times this year, these games can take on the rightful focus of two quality rivals battling for supremacy against one another. Harper's former teammates own the edge in that regard with Washington up 7-4 SU in the season series, and are somewhat of a surprising road favorite to increase that edge after the weekend.
The headline behind Washington's chalky price is two-fold in that they've been one of the best teams in baseball over the past six weeks, and the Nats set up their rotation out of the break to have their three studs – Strasburg, Corbin, and Scherzer start this weekend to try and further separate themselves from the Phillies in the standings. The Nats have already seen about a 10 cent line move in their favor for Friday's opener between Strasburg and Pivetta, and with Scherzer going on Sunday against a yet-to-be named starter for the Phillies, you know that Washington will be quite chalky there as well.
But I don't think it's a hard argument to make that Washington overperformed in the 1st half of the season while Philadelphia vastly underperformed (for a variety of reasons), and that that this price is too reflective of those results. Now, I get that 90 games into a season teams 'are what they are' and the Phillies still definitely have some issues to work out – especially on the pitching side of things – but the All-Star break is always a welcomed sight for underperforming teams each year, especially ones like the Phillies who finished the first half on a nine-game road trip that saw them go 4-5 SU overall.
A bit of a regroup over the break to charge their batteries for the 2nd half push had to have been welcomed, and while you'd always prefer to have the better rotation lined up (at least on paper) in a critical series like this, having home field advantage isn't all that bad either. The Phillies are 10 games over the .500 mark at home this year (27-17 SU) compared to Washington being one game below that mark on the road (21-22 SU), and the home side has won seven of the 11 meetings between these two this year.
At the same time the All-Star break was likely welcomed for the Phillies, for a surging team like the Nats, it could easily have the opposite effect and cool them off to a big degree. A Strasburg, Corbin, Scherzer rotation is highly attractive on paper, but Strasburg has been far from consistent at times this year, and Washington is just 4-5 SU in Corbin's nine starts away from home this year. Scherzer is Scherzer and enters the 2nd half as the favorite to win the NL Cy Young, so that game will be tough regardless, but he's definitely not unbeatable considering Washington started out the year 2-10 SU in his first 12 starts. They've won seven straight Scherzer starts since then, but that just speaks to the potential of the break cooling off that run too.
Philly was everyone's sexy pick to be World Series bound once they nabbed Harper in the off-season, and while enthusiasm in that regard has definitely waned, it's not like the many that believed that were completely wrong with their thought process. Philadelphia could have a much better record had the bullpen been able to close down a few more games throughout the first half, and once they get some improvement there, this team will start to look like the one that was loaded with potential in March.
Storming out of the gates and taking a series from this Washington team that's lined up their best three starters, but have also played quite over their heads of late would be quite the statement for this Phillies team to open the 2nd half with, and as home underdogs, I'm willing to back that that's exactly what we see from them this weekend.
Best Bet: Philadelphia to win the series