Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals 9/13/18 Pick
Time:4:05 PM ET
Where:Nationals Park, Washington, DC
Listed Pitchers:Mike Montgomery (Chic) & Joe Ross (Wash)
TV:MLB, NBCS Chicago, MASN2
Moneyline:Cubs -127/Nationals +117 - Best line at Intertops
The Cubs are giving ground off their divisional lead as of late, and now have to deal with a trip to Washington for a make-up game in the middle of a home-stand. How are we playing this one-off contest with our daily free MLB picks?
MLB Betting Line
Thursday’s MLB betting odds opened Chicago at around -115 for this game, with an over/under of 9.5 runs. The early betting action then bumped that line a dime or so, to around -125.
The Cubs could also be found getting around +130 giving the run and a half on the MLB run line.
Chicago just dropped two of three games at home to a hot Milwaukee outfit, losing Wednesday’s series rubber match 5-1. That game was 2-1 into the ninth inning before the Cubs bullpen gave up a three-spot.
So Chicago is 1-4 over its last five games. At 84-61 overall the Cubs lead in the NL Central is now down to a single game over second-place Milwaukee.
Washington, meanwhile, just swept three games at Philadelphia, winning Wednesday’s series finale 5-1. So the Nationals carry a five-game winning streak into Thursday.
At 74-72 overall Washington trails St. Louis by seven games in the battle for the second National League wild-card spot.
These two teams have split six meetings so far this season.
Righty Ross (5-3, 5.01 last year) is making his second appearance in the Majors this season Thursday, after spending time in the Minors rehabbing from elbow surgery. He went 2-0 with a 3.09 ERA in two starts down at Triple-A Syracuse, then pitched one scoreless inning against these Cubs last Friday in a game that then got called due to rain.
Last year, in 13 games with Washington, Ross allowed 88 hits and 16 homers through just 73 2/3 innings of work. In one start last year against Chicago, though, he allowed only two runs and five hits through 6 2/3 innings, although the Nationals lost that game 5-4.
Lefty Montgomery (4-5, 3.85), by our strict standards, is 6/15 on quality starts this season, but 0 for his last two. Most recently, nine days ago, he gave up two runs on three hits and three walks through just four innings against the Brewers, and just before that he gave up four runs and eight hits through 4 1/3 innings against Atlanta. On the season Chicago, a team that’s 23 games over .500 overall, is only 7-8 in Montgomery’s starts, with unders going 8-7.
This outing will be Montgomery’s first-ever start against Washington, although in two relief appearances against the Nats this year he allowed one run through 1 2/3 innings.
We can’t be sure what to expect out of Ross today, but we can say Montgomery has struggled as of late. For handicapping purposes, we’ll call this pitching match-up a push.
Thursday’s Batting Splits
The Cubs own a .261/.337/.423 batting average/OBP/slugging percentage split against right-handed pitching this season. However, LH bat Kyle Schwarber (25 HR) has missed the last two games with a sore back, and he’s iffy for this one, too.
The Nats own a .247/.328/.398 split against left-handed pitching this year.
Also, Washington has scored at least five runs six of its last eight games, while Chicago has scored a total of 14 runs over its previous five games.
Strictly by the numbers, the Cubs might own the edge with the sticks for Thursday, but factoring in recent performance, we’ll call the battle of the bats here a push.
- The Chicago bullpen owns a 3.35 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.
- The Nationals pen owns a 3.90 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.
- We’ll call the bullpen comparison a push, too.
Overs are 40-32 in games played at Nationals Park this year, which are averaging 9.5 total runs per.
Overs are 4-2 in Cubs-Nats games this year.
Free MLB Picks
The Cubs looked tired in that series against Milwaukee, and it gets worse. Wednesday’s game finished around 10:30 pm Chicago time, and the Cubs hopped a plane to play an “afternooner” in DC today. Meanwhile, the Nationals are just the hotter team at the moment, and that goes a long way in our book. Plus, Washington’s getting a live home-dog price. We’re going with the Nats for our free MLB pick for Thursday. Editor’s Note: We’ve told you about the advantage of wagering at a sportsbook that offers that dimelines for baseball betting, but it’s equally important to get the best point spread lines. We recommend that you have one of your accounts at Bovada for the best underdog lines!