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2018 MLB Lines - Washington Nationals Baseball Betting

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2018 Washington Nationals MLB Baseball Odds

MLB Betting Odds and Lines

Winning the division in 2018 is not good enough for the Washington Nationals. It’s World Series of bust for the NL East favorites as Bryce Harper plays out his final year in the Nation’s Capital.

While Washington’s done a good job reaching October baseball four of the last six seasons, the team hasn’t been able to get a postseason series victory, losing all four times in the National League Division Series, three of four times losing in Game 5.

It was the Cubs that set the Nationals’ packing in 2017 and pushed then-manager Dusty Baker out. With Dave Martinez in, Washington is hoping that he brings a different culture and a different result.

Just like last year, the Nationals are stacked on paper and, per the MLB futures lines, should be one of the favorites to win the NL pennant. But Daniel Murphy won’t be ready for Opening Day and Adam Eaton is battling an injury, too. Are these bad omens already for a team in win-or-bust mode in 2018 or can the Nats find some momentum to turn around their postseason woes?

Washington Nationals MLB Betting

2017 Record: 97-65

2017 Moneyline Record: +5.73 Units

2017 Over/Under Total Record: 69-82-11

Current World Series Odds: +724

Current Odds To Win NL: +323

Current Odds To Win NL East: -420

Regular Season Win Total: 93.5

2018 Washington Nationals Season Outlook

The Nationals were consistent in 2017, ranking third in the NL in runs scored and team ERA. They had hitting. They had pitching. And, they had a strong defense and most positions, too.

Washington struggled in the first couple months in the bullpen, losing a few key games early as the pen blew leads they should have been able to maintain. It was a point for frustration for the team, but GM Mike Rizzo fixed the mistake, acquiring Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler midseason, turning a weakness into a second half strength of the team.

Kintzler re-upped with the Nationals in the offseason and just like that all three are back for 2018, this time from Day 1.

The bullpen will support a strong rotation that features three starters who posted sub-3 ERAs in 2017.

Max Scherzer is the obvious ace. The back-to-back Cy Young Award winner was 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA. Stephen Strasburg, meanwhile, finished third in Cy Young voting after a 15-4 campaign highlighted by a 2.52 ERA and filthy second half where he pitched to a 0.86 ERA in 10 games.

Given the strength of the team’s dueling aces, Gio Gonzalez’s season often gets overlooked, but the southpaw led the team in innings with 201 and had 15 wins and 2.96 ERA. The peripherals are less friendly to him than Strasburg and Scherzer, but he’s a dynamic No.3 starter no matter how you slice it.

From there, the rotation opened a bit in 2017, but the No.4 hurler in 2018 is Tanner Roark who, despite a regression in 2017, is a year removed from his own 16-win, 2.83 ERA campaign. At 31 years old, he could get back to that level; or at least close to it. Roark did bounce back with a strong second half after a weak first half. The better bullpen behind him was certainly a part of that.

Washington could really cap off the rotation with another acquisition. They’re rumored to be involved in the Jake Arrieta sweepstakes. They could use a bit more depth given Strasburg’s injury history, but A.J. Cole is currently penciled in as the No.5 starter. He’s a solid enough back-end starter, but would be a much better depth option, pushing prospect Erick Fedde back, and allowing him to earn his way to the Majors.

The pitching staff in Washington can compete with anyone in the National League. After the All-Star break when the Nats fortified the pen, Washington had the best team ERA in the NL. The fifth starter spot is a bit vulnerable, but the top-4 more than make up the difference.

At the plate, the Washington offense led baseball for a stretch. The bats slowed a bit as the season wore on, but the Nationals’ .782 team OPS was tops in the NL, ahead of even the Rockies and their Coors Field advantage.

The catching position could use an upgrade. Matt Wieters had a 63 OPS+ in 2017. Otherwise, every other position provided at least average results.

Of course, in 2018, Jayson Werth is gone, but that spot will be taken by Michael Taylor who finally established himself last year, playing in place of the injured Adam Eaton who should be a nice table setter alongside Trea Turner atop the order.

The speed and on base ability of both Turner and Eaton feed seamlessly into the power and average of Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman, all of whom hit at least 24 home runs and batted over .300.

It’ll be Harper’s final year before free agency and the slugger should be plenty motivated for a big year. He had a 1.008 OPS in 2017, but played in only 111 games. Healthy has been an issue for him. Same can be said about Zimmerman until last year.

Health is already a question for both Eaton and Murphy, but depth is something this team has on its side. Howie Kendrick and Matt Adams are capable of everyday duty while Victor Robles has proven about all he can in the minors and is waiting for an opportunity with the big club.

Washington is a stacked team with a few health chinks in the armor, but plenty of depth to cover it in most cases. The weak division around the Nationals with the distinct possibility of no other club above .500 in 2018 leaves the Nationals in an excellent position to win the NL East and make it back to the postseason.

Can this team finally solve the Division Series quandary? That’s the real question at hand.

Major League Baseball Teams

AMERICAN LEAGUE
EAST TEAM CITY STADIUM
Baltimore Orioles Baltimore, Maryland Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Boston Red Sox Boston, Massachusetts Fenway Park
New York Yankees New York City, New York Yankee Stadium
Tampa Bay Rays St. Petersburg, Florida Tropicana Field
Toronto Blue Jays Toronto, Ontario Rogers Centre
CENTRAL Chicago White Sox Chicago, Illinois Guaranteed Rate Field
Cleveland Indians Cleveland, Ohio Progressive Field
Detroit Tigers Detroit, Michigan Comerica Park
Kansas City Royals Kansas City, Missouri Kauffman Stadium
Minnesota Twins Minneapolis, Minnesota Target Field
WEST Houston Astros Houston, Texas Minute Maid Park
Los Angeles Angels Anaheim, California Angel Stadium
Oakland Athletics Oakland, California Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
Seattle Mariners Seattle, Washington Safeco Field
Texas Rangers Arlington, Texas Globe Life Park in Arlington
NATIONAL LEAGUE
EAST Atlanta Braves Atlanta, Georgia SunTrust Park
Miami Marlins Miami, Florida Marlins Park
New York Mets New York City, New York Citi Field
Philadelphia Phillies Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Citizens Bank Park
Washington Nationals Washington, D.C. Nationals Park
CENTRAL Chicago Cubs Chicago, Illinois Wrigley Field
Cincinnati Reds Cincinnati, Ohio Great American Ball Park
Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee, Wisconsin Miller Park
Pittsburgh Pirates Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania PNC Park
St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis, Missouri Busch Stadium
WEST Arizona Diamondbacks Phoenix, Arizona Chase Field
Colorado Rockies Denver, Colorado Coors Field
Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles, California Dodger Stadium
San Diego Padres San Diego, California Petco Park
San Francisco Giants San Francisco, California AT&T Park

Washington Nationals Upcoming Schedule

March 29-April 1: at Cincinnati Reds

April 2-4: at Atlanta Braves

April 5-8: vs New York Mets

April 9-11: vs Atlanta Braves

April 12-15: vs Colorado Rockies

April 16-18: at New York Mets

April 20-22: at Los Angeles Dodgers

April 23-25: at San Francisco Giants

April 27-29: vs Arizona Diamondbacks

April 30-May 3: vs Pittsburgh Pirates

In a division with no real threats on paper and no other over-.500 team in 2017, Washington should have a rather easy road back to the postseason which includes a soft first couple week on the schedule.

The Nationals will open on the road against a Reds team that still lacks pitching. Washington may be without a few players early, but the offense was one of the best in 2017 and should feast on the Cincinnati pitchers. From there, the Nats have series against the Braves, Mets and Braves again before their first test against a 2017 playoff team in the Colorado Rockies. Atlanta, however, did play Washington tough last year as the Nats were just 10-9 against the Braves.

Nevertheless, one series a piece against the Rockies, Dodgers and Diamondbacks are the only contests Washington faces against teams that were over-.500 in 2017 until the calendar flips to May.

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