It’s one of the most anticipated series of the 2017 regular season from Monday-Thursday this week in Washington, D.C., as the defending NL East champion Nationals host the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs. The latest betting prediction favors the Nats to win this MLB series, but anything can happen. Because it’s a four-game set, you can only bet on the first three games and I’d recommend Washington on that line because its pitching is better set up.
MLB Series Prediction on Chicago Cubs vs Washington NationalsMLB.tv MLB Series Odds: Nationals at-200 / Chicago at +170 This is the first meeting of the season between these two. The clubs almost met in the 2016 NLCS. The Cubs got there by beating the Giants in the NLDS, while Washington led the Dodgers 2-1 in the NLDS but lost the final two games each by one run. When Washington visited Wrigley Field in 2016, Chicago swept Washington, in large part because Joe Maddon pitched around Bryce Harper to the tune of 13 walks in the series, including a record-tying six free passes (three intentional) in the finale. Harper really was never the same guy after that a year ago. However, Maddon can’t really do that this time because Ryan Zimmerman is hitting so well behind Harper and leads the NL in batting average. Zimmerman, not Harper is the Nats’ top MVP candidate. Since the beginning of the 2014 season, Harper is hitting just .188 against the Cubs. Then there’s this: Since April 27, a span of almost two months, Harper is batting a pedestrian .254. The series is also Harper’s first meeting against the Cubs since the rumor he would prefer to play in Chicago when he becomes a free agent after 2018.
How Has Washington Done So Far This Season?The Nationals’ offense leads the National League in almost every category, including: average (.279), on-base percentage (.344), slugging percentage (.479), OPS (.823), home runs (116), extra-base hits (279), hits (729), runs scored (422), and RBI (413), while ranking second in and doubles (149), and fourth in stolen bases (52). Washington has a huge lead in the NL East but its Achilles’ heel is an awful bullpen, which ranks last in the National League and already has featured three closers. The latest, rookie Koda Glover, is on the disabled list with a back injury, forcing manager Dusty Baker to use a closer by committee. If the Nats keep their big lead in the NL East, the Cubs pass the Brewers in the NL Central and the NL West champ has the league’s best record — and all of those are plausible — the next time the Cubs come to the District could be October.
Who Will Pitch in This MLB Series?Both teams will start their three best pitchers in this series: Gio Gonzalez, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg for the Nats on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Jon Lester for the Cubs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Arrieta was the 2015 Cy Young winner and Scherzer won it last year. The Cubs have an excellent seven-deep bullpen, anchored by Wade Davis. That huge relief superiority may haunt the Nats, with their 26th-ranked bullpen ERA. Over the past two weeks, Cubs starter have the fourth-lowest ERA in the majors (3.18), though their fielding independent pitching (FIP) is almost a run and a half higher. The Cubs are far from healthy as outfielders Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward are on the DL and Kyle Schwarber is down in Triple-A. In addition, Maddon sounded doubtful about All-Star shortstop Addison Russell playing early in this series after Russell left Sunday’s game with a “sharp, pinching pain” at the front of his right shoulder. Russell, who was out of the lineup for three games in mid-May because of the issue, has received periodic treatment and therapy throughout the season to manage the pain, which he describes as a ‘‘sharp, pinching pain at the front of the shoulder.’’ The Cubs will enter the middle series of their longest road trip of the season. They haven’t won back-to-back games on the road since April. The Nationals, meanwhile, have the top-performing lineup in the NL and will send three potential All-Stars — Gonzalez, Scherzer and Strasburg — to the mound in the first three games.
Latest MLB Betting Trends
- The total went UNDER in 8 of Cubs’s last 9 games
- 5-13 ATS in the last 18 games on the road
- 5-13 SU in the last 18 games on the road
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Cubs’s last 6 games on the road
- 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games
- The total went OVER in 10 of Washington’s last 13 games
- 2-7 ATS in its last 9 games at home
- 3-6 SU in its last 9 games at home
Latest MLB Series Results
- Tie – June 22nd-25th @ Miami Marlins. Series Result: 2-2
- Won – June 19th-21st vs San Diego Padres. Series Result: 2-1
- Won – June 16th-18th @ Pittsburgh Pirates. Series Result: 2-1
- Loss – June 12th-14th vs @ NY Mets. Series Result: 1-2
- Loss – June 8th-11h vs Colorado Rockies. Series Result: 1-3
- Won – June 23rd-25th vs Cincinnati Reds. Series Result: 2-1
- Loss – June 19th-21st @ Miami Marlins. Series Result: 1-2
- Won – June 15th-18th @ NY Mets. Series Result: 3-1
- Loss – June 12th-14th vs Atlanta Braves. Series Result: 1-2
- Won – June 9th-11h vs Texas Rangers. Series Result: 0-3