BetsByBob Saturday MLB Plays: Nationals to cruise behind Max Scherzer

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) delivers against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Wrigley Field.

On Friday, I took a break from doing a big write-up like I have been trying to do more often here at Pickswise, and my plays didn’t have good outcomes. Prior to that, all my Pickswise plays that I have gone in depth about have done really well. Part of that is the games where I have a lot to say, I am usually the most confident in. Not to say I wasn’t confident in yesterday’s plays. It actually looked like it was going to be a good day until some late-inning shenanigans.

It helps my process being able to talk through games thoroughly. Hopefully in turn it helps you guys at well to see things that I look for. I spend a lot of time on pitching matchups, because they matter a lot for baseball. I try to always list my starting pitchers when I make my bets, and recommend you do the same. Time to get back on track, and have a few plays on this Saturday MLB card.

Washington Nationals (Max Scherzer) at Baltimore Orioles (Matt Harvey)

Play: Nationals -1.5 (-120)

*Playable to Nationals -1.5 (-135)

The Washington Nationals dropped the opening game of the series to the Baltimore Orioles last night. The Nationals couldn’t get anything going offensively, as they managed only 1 run in a 6-1 final. They should have a more favorable pitching matchup on both sides of the ball today. Let’s hope that they can get the bats going behind their ace.

Max Scherzer takes the mound for the 18th time this season. Scherzer has been a dominant pitcher for a long time now, and this year is no exception. He has an ERA of 2.83 with a FIP of 3.48, all while striking out a staggering 35.1% of the batters he faces. The long ball has been a bit more of a problem for him this season, but when you miss bats like he does, you can get away with it. Opposing batters are hitting .183 against him, and the Orioles are in for a tough day today if he is on his game.

Matt Harvey will be the starter for the Orioles today, and is a guy I look to bet against often. In his last outing he tossed 6 innings of shutout baseball, but was against the Royals. The Nationals are a much better offensive team. When Harvey faced them on May 23, he gave up 5 runs in less than 5 innings. Harvey has a 7.13 ERA with a 4.63 FIP. This is largely due to his BABIP being .350. However, he doesn’t get many swings and misses anymore, and opposing hitters have a HardHit% of 39.5% against him.

I am not going to overthink this one as the Nationals have the edge in every aspect of this game. They should cruise to a comfortable victory.

Atlanta Braves (Drew Smyly) at Philadelphia Phillies (Vince Velasquez)

Play: Over 10 (-113)

*Playable to Over 10 (-120)

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) reacts to striking out in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game six of the 2020 NLCS at Globe Life Field

© Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves are back in action today against their division rival, the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies managed to take yesterday’s game by a score of 5-1, as the Braves left 17 men on base and couldn’t get key hits when they needed them. I am expecting some more offensive production in this one, as we have two pitchers on the mound with some regression indicators.

Drew Smyly gets the start for the Braves, and could be his last one in a Braves uniform. The trade rumors have intensified as the deadline nears, and Smyly has been rumored to be on the move. The 32-year old has had an alright season, coming into this game with an ERA of 4.50 with a FIP of 5.14. Smyly is mostly a two-pitch pitcher, throwing his fastball and curve ball for a combined 90.2% of the time. He will mix a cutter in there occasionally, but I am not a fan of starting pitcher with limited arsenals like that. Smyly was on the Phillies himself two years ago, so there should still be some familiarity against him in that clubhouse.

Vince Velasquez gets the start for the Phillies, and has been a guy I have been looking to fade for some time now. The regression signs finally caught up to him in his past two starts. He gave up 13 runs in 8 innings over the last two games. He now sits with an ERA of 5.00 and a FIP of 5.34, a more accurate indicator of how he has pitched this season. Velasquez allows a good amount of hard contact, to a clip of 41.1%. That doesn’t couple well with a walk rate of 12.6%.

There should be offense today from both teams. Both bullpens rank in the bottom half of the league. This feels like a great shot to take at an over with the total sitting at 10.

Pickswise is the home of free MLB Picks and Predictions. Check out the latest MLB Prop Bets and MLB Parlays as well as our MLB Best Bets from the experts.

Virginia Bonuses

See All


Get a $100 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $100 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $100

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

FanDuel Sportsbook


Get a $1,000 No Sweat First Bet

Sign up for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account and make your first deposit of $10+

Place your first bet up to $1,000!

Get refunded if you lose up to $1,000

Must be 21+. First online real money wager only. $10 first deposit required. Bonus issued as non-withdrawable free bets that expire 14 days after receipt. See full terms at



Get a $500 Risk-Free Bet

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make your first deposit & get up to $500 in free bets

To get $500 in free bets, wager $500

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF



Bet $10, Win $200 if Any NBA Team Hits a Three Pointer!

Sign up for a new betting account with BetMGM

Place a pre-game moneyline wager of at least $10 on a NBA game

Win $200 in free bets if any team hits a three pointer

21+. Terms & conditions apply.



Bet $5 & Win $150 If Your First Moneyline Bet Wins!

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5+ on the pre-game Moneyline in any sport

Win $200 if your team wins

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.



Get 4x $200 In Free Bets

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Bet up to $200 and If you lose, you get a refund

You will receive Free Bet(s) in the amount of the losing wager(s), up to $200 each for four days.

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Caesars Sportsbook


Get a $1,250 risk-free bet

Sign up for a new Caesars Sportsbook account

Place your first bet of $10 or more

If your first bet loses, you’ll receive a refund up to $1,250 from Caesars in free bets

21+. Terms and conditions apply.



Bet $10, Get $200 if Any NHL Team Scores A Goal

Sign up for a new betting account with BetMGM

Place a pre-game moneyline wager of at least $10 on a NHL game

Win $200 in free bets if any teams scores a goal

21+. Terms & conditions apply.



Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.



Get 5x $100 in Free Bets

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Make a bet of up to $100 and receive a refund if you lose

Get this offer once a day for the first 5 days you sign up

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.



Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.



Get $2,000 in Free Bets

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit

Receive a free bet refund up to $500 if your first fixed odds bet loses

& a free bet refund up to $1,500 if your first two PointsBetting Wager loses

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Monkey Knife Fight


Claim Instant Deposit Match up to $100 + Free $5 game

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.



Get Your First Single-Horse Win Wager Back Up to $200 if you don't win

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $200

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.



Get a $200 Sign-Up Bonus with Twinspires Racebook!

Open your account using offer code BET200

$200 bonus cash will be credited in increments of $100 for every $400 wagered

To earn the full $200 bonus players must wager $800 within 30 days

21+. Terms and conditions apply.

Underdog Fantasy


First deposit is 100% matched up to $100 with Underdog Fantasy

Sign up for a new account with Underdog Fantasy

Make your first deposit

Every dollar (up to $100) will be matched! Deposit $25, get $50; deposit $100, get $200, etc

Must be 21+ to play. Terms & conditions apply