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MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Dodgers vs. Nationals: Hot to Bet Kershaw Against Washington (Saturday, July 3)

MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Dodgers vs. Nationals: Hot to Bet Kershaw Against Washington (Saturday, July 3) article feature image

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Clayton Kershaw.

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers will take on the Washington Nationals on Saturday night.
  • The Dodgers are expected to send Clayton Kershaw to the mound, and he tends to play well when the Dodgers find themselves on a big winning streak.
  • Check out Michael Arinze's full betting guide complete with updated odds, a pick, and a prediction below.

Dodgers vs. Nationals Odds

Dodgers Odds -250
Nationals Odds +210
Over/Under 8.5 (-124 / +102)
Time 7:15 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via DraftKings.

The Dodgers are steaming hot right now.

Ever since they were no-hit by the Cubs over a week ago, the Dodgers have yet to taste defeat. They will now carry a seven-game winning streak into Saturday night’s clash with the Nationals.

Clayton Kershaw is expected to take his turn on the mound for the Dodgers, and Paolo Espino will oppose him for the Nationals. Despite their 51-31 record, the Dodgers have barely been a profitable team (+.36 units) to invest in.

However, history shows that you would be better served to stay out of their lane when they’re on this type of winning streak. We’ll dig into some betting angles for this matchup and much more to get you set for Game 3 of this four-game series.

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Dodgers Are Firing on All Cylinders

Los Angeles has been absolutely smashing baseballs during this recent run. It leads the league with a .260 ISO during that span, and it’s in the top 10 with an above-average wRC+ value of 125.

The starting pitchers have also gotten the job done, as they’ve compiled a 2.05 ERA, which puts them third in the league during that span. Their 2.80 FIP is also very respectable, and while it might point to a slight regression in ERA, it should still be manageable.

Oftentimes when pitching staffs get on this kind of a roll, it’s almost as if they’re passing a baton amongst one another from one start to the next. And who better to receive that baton than a three-time Cy Young Award winner and a National League MVP?

Kershaw Has Been Better Than His Record Shows

If you just looked at his 9-7 record, you might think Kershaw is having just an OK year.

However, his advanced numbers would suggest he’s pitched even better than his record in addition to his 3.25 ERA. Kershaw’s 2.88 FIP points to some positive regression, but what I’m drawn to is his nine consecutive starts with at least six innings or more. In his last outing, he pitched eight innings of one-run ball while striking out 13 batters and issuing one walk.

It’s important to note that his eight innings of work wouldn’t necessarily classify as a heavy workload, given that he threw just 101 pitches.

Nationals Have Struggled Against Kershaw

Kershaw should come into this start with plenty of confidence against a Nationals lineup that he has had success against in the past. Washington‘s hitters have a .252/.276/.361 line against him. The Nats’ wOBA is only .278, so he hasn’t been hurt by too many extra-base hits.

The Nationals could be without their red-hot hitter in Kyle Schwarber on Saturday. Schwarber has hit 12 home runs in his last 13 games but was forced to exit Friday’s game in the second inning after grabbing his right hamstring while running the bases.

No one wants to see anyone get hurt, but something tells me Kershaw won’t be too disappointed if Schwarber is held out of Saturday’s contest.

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Nationals Run Into A Buzz Saw

The Nationals have been climbing up the standings in the last three weeks.

They came into this series on a four-game win streak with victories in 14 of their last 17 games. Unfortunately for them, the Dodgers were on a five-game win streak of their own, and they’ve handed the Nationals two straight losses to start this series.

Washington will look to get back in the win column with Espino set to make a spot start.

This will be his fourth start of the season and 19th appearance. The Nationals like what they’ve seen from Espino this season, as he’s 2-2 with a 2.02 ERA and 0.87 WHIP. However, they could run the risk of exposing him the more he’s utilized as a starter.

Dodgers Lineup Could Give Espino First Real Test

Espino’s 4.47 xERA and 3.50 FIP are both significantly higher than his ERA.

And let’s be honest, his three starts this season were against the Diamondbacks, Pirates, and Mets. None of those teams are exactly on Murderers’ Row, as the Diamondbacks rank 28th with a wRC+ value of 86, while the Pirates are 29th with 81. The Mets are a bit better, but they’re still considered below average with a value of 91.

Now, Espino has to step up against a Dodgers lineup that ranks third with a wRC+ value of 111.

He will have one advantage in that he’s never faced the Dodgers or any hitter in their lineup. However, I’m not sure how confident we can be in a pitcher who is getting barreled up 12% of the time and striking out only 6.56 batters per nine innings.

Espino has been able to survive thus far with an 89.4 mph fastball, but he’ll face a tall task when he comes up against this Dodgers lineup.

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Dodgers-Nationals Pick

I mentioned earlier that historically, Los Angeles has a good track record after amassing a seven-game win streak. Since 2017, it’s 8-2 in this spot.

As for the Nationals, they likely wouldn’t meet the requirement of what one would call a streak stopper. They’re just 3-8 (-4.93 units) when facing a team on a seven-game winning streak.

However, with the Dodgers as high as a -260 favorite, I’m going to take shot a with them on the run line instead.

In his career, Kershaw is a perfect 3-0 on the run line when the Dodgers are on a seven-game winning streak. We saw what the lineup could do on Friday as soon as the Nationals went to the bullpen, as they put up nine runs in the seventh inning.

They shouldn’t have a problem getting to the Nationals much sooner than that with Espino on the mound, and I expect Washington’s lineup to take a step back if Schwarber is out.

Pick: Dodgers Run Line (-143)

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