The Washington Nationals (89-57) will try to make up some ground on the Los Angeles Dodgers (94-52) in the race for home-field advantage in the National League when they open a three-game series on Friday as solid home underdogs.
The Nationals sit five games behind the Dodgers for the top seed in the NL, and they won two of three games played at Chavez Ravine earlier this season.
Betting line: The Dodgers opened as -129 favorites (wager $129 to win $100); the total is at 9.5 runs, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
Why the Dodgers can pay on the MLB lines
Los Angeles knocked Washington out of the playoffs last year in a thrilling five-game series and has won 11 of the past 16 meetings overall.
The Dodgers have been a thorn in the side of the Nationals, and they would love nothing more than to continue to get into the opposition’s heads here.
Fortunately, Los Angeles has the superior starting pitcher going to the mound in Alex Wood (14-3, 2.81 ERA), who has been a nice surprise this season despite losing in his last two outings.
Why the Nationals can pay on the MLB lines
Washington has been a much better team lately than Los Angeles, and a series victory this weekend would provide a confidence boost heading into the postseason.
The Nationals are 12-6 in their past 18 games while the Dodgers are 3-16 in their previous 19, including two straight wins following a season-worst 11-game losing streak.
Even though starting pitcher Edwin Jackson (5-5, 4.14) has struggled at times this year, he has performed much better under the lights, going 5-3 with a 3.61 ERA at night.
Smart betting pick
Wood got off to a remarkable start for Los Angeles this season at 11-0, but he has since seen his ERA nearly double over his last eight outings.
He has suffered two of his three losses in his past two starts, surrendering nine runs and 15 hits in 11 innings with six walks and nine strikeouts.
While it may seem hard to back Jackson in this spot, he should be motivated to face his former team and pick up a key win when his team needs it. Take Washington to pull off the upset as a home dog.
MLB betting trends
Los Angeles is 2-11 in its last 13 games.
Los Angeles is 3-7 in its last 10 games on the road.
Washington is 7-3 in its last 10 games.
All MLB odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.