Top MLB Betting Series Of The Week
The two best teams in the National League right now are probably the Chicago Cubs, who are on a pace to perhaps break the MLB record of 116 regular-season wins and are running away with the NL Central Division, and the Washington Nationals, who lead the NL East. Those two face off for the final time this season early this week but we certainly could see them play again this October. It’s one of the top MLB betting series of the week and the Cubs are rare +115 series underdogs on betting odds. They haven’t been underdogs very often this year in a game much less a series.
Top MLB Betting Series Of The Week
How good have the Cubs been? Their run differential at this point in the season is better than that of the storied 1927 Yankees. Of the 10 Cubs position players who have gotten 100 plate appearances so far this year, six of them are age 26 or younger. The last team to play in a World Series with six players 26 and under getting at least 300 plate appearances? The 1988 Oakland A’s. The last team to win a World Series with at least six players 26 and under getting that many plate appearances? The 1969 New York Mets.
The Cubs are the first team since the 2001 Seattle Mariners to win at least 43 of their first 61 games; those Mariners won 116 games. The Cubs are the 10th team in the divisional era to do it while seven of the previous nine reached the World Series. The Cubs are the first team to employ two starters, Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester, with sub-2.00 ERAs this late in the season since the 1981 Houston Astros and 1975 Los Angeles Dodgers.
But the Cubs are underdogs against Washington because both Arrieta and Lester won’t pitch in this series. The Nationals appeared to have an advantage in Monday’s opener with Max Scherzer opposing Kyle Hendricks, even though Hendricks has a better ERA. On Tuesday, it’s John Lackey for the Cubs against Washington’s Gio Gonzalez. That looks to be the one game where the Cubs will be favored. Lackey threw seven shutout innings in his last outing against the Phillies. He beat the Nationals at Wrigley Field on May 6, giving up two runs over seven innings. The right-hander has not allowed a run over 13 2/3 innings in two starts this month. Gonzalez hopes to snap a personal four-game losing streak. During that stretch, he has allowed 21 runs in 22 2/3 innings with 31 strikeouts.
In the finale, it’s Jason Hammel (7-2, 2.36) against Stephen Strasburg. The Cubs’ Hammel didn’t pitch poorly in his last outing; the Braves’ Bud Norris just pitched better. Hammel allowed 3 runs in 5 1/3 innings. Hammel did not get a decision when he faced the Nationals on May 7 at Wrigley Field, giving up 3 runs over 5 frames. Strasburg (10-0, 3.03) did not face the Cubs during the four-game set at Wrigley Field in early May. He has not faced the Cubs since Aug. 22, 2013. In that game, he allowed four runs in eight innings. The 27-year-old has now won 13 consecutive decisions, and became the first pitcher in 2016 to reach 10 victories.
The Nationals will be looking for payback as they were swept four games at Wrigley Field in early May. The Cubs neutralized Bryce Harper in that by walking the reigning National League MVP 13 times, including a record six in one game. Three of those were intentional. At the time, Nationals manager Dusty Baker had a struggling Ryan Zimmerman hitting behind Harper instead of Daniel Murphy. Lately, it has been Murphy, the NL’s leading hitter, behind Harper
Take the Nationals to win the series on betting odds 2-1. They win Monday and Wednesday.