Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:53 AM

Games to Watch - Friday

This Friday, we have five nationally televised games on FS1 and the MLB Network and I'm focusing on two of those matchups.

Nationals at Orioles Betting Picks & Prediction

Time: 5:05 p.m. ET
Channel: MLB Network

Nationals at Orioles

  • Washington Nationals (-177)
  • Baltimore Orioles (+162)
  • Run Total 9 (Over -110, Under -110)

Probable Pitchers (2020 Records)

  • Stephen Strasburg RHP (0-0, 10.38 ERA)
  • Tommy Milone LHP (1-1, 3.21 ERA)

The Baltimore Orioles host the Washington Nationals in what could be called a double-header. Before the 5 p.m. game, the Orioles and the Nationals are going to finish a postponed game where the Orioles were up 5-2 at the top of the sixth inning. That game will be followed by the 5pm game which will be nationally televised on the MLB Network.

In that game the Nationals are heavily favored and, in my opinion, should be favored by more. Currently, the Nationals have a losing record, while the Orioles have a winning record. However, the Nationals are one season removed from winning the World Series and the Orioles are one season removed from losing 108 games. I not only think that the Nationals will win, but I think they will win by a wide enough margin to merit betting on the Nationals -1.5 run line at -120 odds.

The best reason to bet on the Nationals to win is because of the starting pitching matchup. The starting pitcher for the Nationals is former 2009 #1 draft pick, Stephen Strasburg. In one start this season, Strasburg pitched 4.1 innings giving up five earned runs. While that start was against the Orioles, I think that Strasburg was the victim of bad luck. Strasburg has a 3.19 career era and last season did very well. I expect Strasburg to pitch five to six innings giving up only one to two earned runs against the Orioles.

Facing off against Strasburg is Orioles starting pitcher Tommy Milone. As the Orioles’ opening day starter this year, I cannot think of an opening day starter as bad as Milone. As a career journeyman Milone has played for seven different teams and he is only 33-years old. While it may be typical for millennials like me to frequently change jobs, it is not typical of major league athletes. Currently, Milone has a 1-1 record with a 3.21 ERA. If Milone continues this pace, this will be the best year of his career. I think it is unlikely that Milone is going to end the season with a career year and Friday night’s game is going to the start of a slump for Milone. If the Nationals lineup which Juan Soto has recently returned to scores five to six runs against Milone, then the Nationals run line will hit. That is why I am betting on the Nationals -1.5 run line at -120 odds.

Washington at Baltimore
MLB Best Bet & Predictions

Best Bet:
Washington Nationals Run Line -1.5 -120

Final Score Predictions:
Washington Nationals 8, Baltimore Orioles 3

Brewers at Cubs Betting Picks & Prediction

Time: 8:10 p.m. ET
Channel: MLB Network

Brewers at Cubs Odds

  • Milwaukee Brewers (-115)
  • Chicago Cubs (+105)

Probable Pitchers (2020 Records)

  • Brandon Woodruff RHP (1-1, 2.53 ERA)
  • Tyler Chatwood RHP (2-1, 5.40 ERA)

The Chicago Cubs host the Milwaukee Brewers in the first game of a series that could easily decide who wins the NL Central. Currently, the first-place Cubs are 5.5 games ahead of the second-place Brewers in the NL Central standings. However, I believe the Brewers can make up the gap in the standings. They have a great lineup, and they were in the playoffs last year. For Friday’s matchup, I think both teams have great lineups but what will decide it is pitching. That is why I am backing the Brewers Moneyline at -115 odds because I do not trust the Cubs pitching.

Cubs starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood is one of my favorite pitchers to bet against. I do not necessarily think that he is a bad pitcher, I just think that he much better in a relief role. In 2018 in primarily a starting role, Chatwood was 4-6 with a 5.30 ERA. Last year in 2019, Chatwood was primarily a reliever and he had a 3.76 ERA. This season, the Cubs have put Chatwood in the regular rotation and there have been mixed results. In his first two starts, Chatwood pitched 12.2 innings giving up only one earned run. In Chatwood’s last start, he gave up eight earned runs in only 2.1 innings. Against a Brewers lineup with Ryan Braun, Christian Yelich, and Justin Smoak, I think Chatwood does very poorly.

Facing off against Tyler Chatwood and the Cubs is Brandon Woodruff for the Brewers. In four starts this season Woodruff has a 1-1 record and a 2.53 ERA. In two of those starts Woodruff has lasted six or more innings. In a season where most starting pitchers last fewer than five innings, that could mean the difference for the Brewers. If Woodruff pitches six quality innings against the Cubs, and/or Tyler Chatwood has a poor outing, then the Brewers win. That is why I am backing the Brewers Moneyline at -115 odds.

Milwaukee at Chicago
MLB Best Bet & Predictions

Best Bet:
Milwaukee Brewers Moneyline -115

Final Score Prediction:
Milwaukee Brewers 6, Chicago Cubs 3

Best Bets Tracker

  • Washington Nationals Run Line -1.5 -120
  • Milwaukee Brewers Moneyline -115

How do I handicap my MLB Best Bets?

My MLB handicapping model is based on the baseball pythagorean theorem where you can predict a team's winning percentage based on how many runs they score and allow over the course of the season.

I make projections on how many runs each player scores or allows for how that team's projected roster for that day would do over the course of a full season.

Once I have a projected winning percentage for both teams, I have a formula I use to determine each team's probability of winning. For example, I calculate what percentage of games a .500 team wins against a .400 win team.

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