Analyze This: Nats Could Dominate Second-Half MLB Betting
by Bovada Sportsbook Staff | July 12, 2012
A team built like the 2010 Giants, Washington could remain profitable in the second half.
If you’re experienced with MLB betting, you know the first half of the season has been an alternate reality straight out of Star Trek. Albert Pujols has struggled at the plate, in the AL East the Boston Red Sox are dead last while the Baltimore Orioles are second, and “the next no-hitter” has replaced the home-run race.
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Sitting on top of the first-half mayhem are the once laughable Washington Nationals. Just over a month ago that the Bovada Sportsbook wasn’t sure what to make of the Nats, posting them at 13/2 odds to win the 2012 National League Pennant and 15/1 odds to win the 2012 World Series. Today, the Nats have the best record in the NL (49-34) and are tied with the San Francisco Giants at 9/2 to win the pennant and 11/1 for the World Series.
Ironically, if you’re looking for a blueprint on Nationals second-half betting focus on the Giants — the 2010 World Series version. The 2010 Giants went a profitable 45-29 in the second half with a league leading 3.36 ERA and a timely offense that ranked 15th with a .257 batting average. This year’s Nationals are tops in pitching (3.21 ERA) and are just below average with a .251 BA. Sound familiar?
The fear is Washington’s dominant rotation could go belly-up in the second with the young arm of Stephen Strasburg (9-4, 2.82 ERA) on a dreaded pitch count (unfortunately manager Davey Johnson has given no specifics on when he’ll reel in Strasburg). But Gio Gonzalez (12-3, 2.92 ERA) and Jordan Zimmerman (5-6, 2.61 ERA) have been just as dirty, giving bettors profitable options if/when Johnson decides to shorten Strasburg’s innings or shut him down completely. Not to mention Washington still has No. 4 and 5 starters Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler. They aren’t a Cy Young trio like Strasburg, Zimmerman and Gonzalez but they have sub 4.00 ERAs to keep the Nats in MLB Futures contention.
Unlike the 2010 Giants, the Nats bats have room to be better than average. The Nats offense isn’t the long-ball-or-bust New York Yankees, but when healthy it has top 10 potential. It starts with rookie outfielder Bryce Harper, fresh off his first Midsummer Classic the 19-year-old phenom has the swing to improve on his .282 BA and double his first half total of eight home runs. And in the second half he’ll have help. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman appears nearly healed from a shoulder injury, hitting over .300 with 19 RBI in the last 14 games, first baseman Michael Morse looks steady after returning in June and outfielder Jayson Werth will be with the Nats bats once the second half kicks. If Werth plays anything like he did in Philadelphia, the offense could go from passable to dangerous.
In the sports betting nothing is guaranteed, but the Nationals are set up, better than any other NL squad, to keep exceeding expectations in second-half MLB odds.
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