NL Betting: Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals

Philadelphia Phillies (7-2) AT Washington Nationals (4-5)
April 12, 2011 at 7:05 PM EST
Opening Runline:  PHI -1.5 +120, WAS +1.5 -140
Current Runline:  PHI -1.5 +130, WAS +1.5 -150
Opening Moneyline: PHI -145 / WAS +125
Current Moneyline:  PHI -126 / WAS +116
Opening Total:  9
Current Total: 8.5

SP:  PHI- J. Blanton, WAS- L. Hernandez

Ryan Howard is off to a hot start this season

Jayson Werth proved himself to be one of the Phillies franchise strongholds.  He helped win the 2008 World Series and helped the Phillies win the last 4 NL East titles.  The Nationals have never been relevant.  So why did Werth switch from the Phillies, a perennial powerhouse, to the Nats, a cellar dweller?  Who knows.  It is a fact though that he has struggled since making the switch, as he is hitting just .200 this season so far.

The Nationals, despite his struggles, are starting to come together as a team.  After starting the season 1-4, the Nationals have went on to win 3 of their last 4, including the 11 inning 7-3 win over the Mets on Sunday.

“I think it’s significant that we’re playing good baseball more than anything,” said Jason Marquis after starting Sunday. “We started things off a bit sluggish.”

As good as the Nats have been, it is going to take even more to beat the Phillies, a team they have struggled against badly.  The Nats won only 6 of the 18 games between the teams last season and the Phillies have won 27 of 36 games dating back to 2009.

The Phillies Ryan Howard is off to a strong start.  Through the first 9 games he is hitting .368 with five homers and 13 RBIs.  Leadoff batter Shane Victorino is hitting an outstanding .565 and has scored eight runs.  Victorino, however, struggled badly against the Nationals last year, hitting just .207 in 15 contests.  He was even worse at Nationals Park, hitting 0.91 there with only 2 hits in 22 at bats, both singles.

The Phillies will send Joe Blanton to the mound.  Blanton has a 14.54 ERA at this point.  He gave up 7 runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3rd innings against the Mets on Wednesday, though the Phillies still managed to win by virtue of scoring 10 runs themselves.  Last season, Blanton was 1-0 against the Nats in 3 starts and he posted a 3.79 ERA.  His PECOTA projection for the season is for a 12-12 record with a 4.46 ERA.  The ERA is an improvement over last season’s 4.82.

Nats’ pitcher Livan Hernandez is 11-10 lifetime against the Phillies with a 3.60 ERA in 27 career starts.  His PECOTA projection calls for a 11-13 record with a 5.14 ERA, roughly 1.5 runs higher than what he did last season with a 3.66 ERA.

Some betting trends:

The total has gone OVER in 4 of the Philadelphia Phillies last 5 games and the Phillies are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games.  Philadelphia is 16-6 SU in their last 22 games on the road and the total has gone OVER in 4 of their last 5 on the road.  The total has also gone OVER in 13 of the last 18 against the Washington Nationals.  The Phillies are 6-1 SU in their last 7 matchups against the Nationals and the Phillies are also 11-5 SU in their last 16 road games against the Washington Nationals.  The total has gone OVER In 9 of Philly’s last 11 games on the road in Washington.

The total has gone OVER In all 5 of Washington’s last 5 games and the Nats are 2-4 SU in their last 6 at home.  The Nats are also 1-6 SU in their last 7 against the Phillies while the total has gone OVER in 13 of the last 18 games against the Phillies.  The total has also gone OVER In 9 of Washington’s last 11 games at home against Philadelphia.  Washington is 5-11 SU in their last 16 games against the Phillies.

This matchup, as indicated by the Moneyline set by Vegas Oddsmakers, is expected to be close.  Neither team is sending a particularly strong pitcher to the mound, and an ‘over’ bet on the total seems prudent.

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