When it comes to predicting scores and placing MLB odds bets, there are few sports as difficult to assess as baseball. The 162-game season is part of the problem, as teams that are great will go through losing streaks just as readily as they will go through hot patches. Trends and stats, as in any sport, are the key, but the sheer volume of data that accumulates over the season can be overwhelming. It also helps to pay attention when a streak looks set to start, and there are two teams right now who appear to be heading in opposite directions.
Quick Analysis on the MLB Expert Betting Pick on Philadelphia at Washington & Game InfoDate: Saturday, April 18, 2015Time: 1:05PMVenue: Nationals ParkOpening Line: Washington -188
#Nats players spent #MilitaryAppreciationDay with service members & their families at Walter Reed & @USOMetroDC today pic.twitter.com/OoEMhfPZLp— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 17, 2015The Washington Nationals (4-6) are not just considered a shoe-in to win the NL East, they are also the prohibitive favorites to win the World Series. They have a stellar pitching staff, and are solid in just about every key position. While they have been pretty slow coming out of the gate this season, they are showing signs that they are about to get on a roll. They knocked off the Boston Red Sox earlier in the week to avoid the sweep, and then followed that up with a 5-2 win over the Phillies. The series against Philadelphia will continue on Saturday with Jordan Zimmermann (1-1, 8.64 ERA) expected to take the mound. Zimmerman was solid in his first outing of the season, but he got totally rocked by Boston in his second start. He gave up 9 hits and 7 earned runs in just 2.1 innings, which explains his inflated ERA at this point.The expectation for the Philadelphia Phillies (3-7) this season was that they would essentially be the whipping boys in the NL East. They surprised quite a few people by going .500 in their first two season series against the Nationals and the Boston Red Sox. The wheels have fallen off since then, though, and they are now on a 4-game losing skid that could balloon even higher if the Nats continue to roll. Aaron Harang (1-1, 0.73) will get the start on Saturday, and probably represents the best chance for the Phillies to get a win in this 4-game stand. Harang has pitched 12.1 innings over his first 2 starts of the season, and has only given up 1 earned run in the process. He has struck out 9 in those 2 games, whilst only walking 3 batters.