Free Picks: San Diego Padres vs Washington Nationals

Jordan Horrobin
Jordan Horrobin
MLB Free Picks – Best Bets of the Week
Padres vs Nationals Week 16
San Diego Padres vs Washington Nationals, MLB, Nationals Park

The San Diego Padres (53-40) will face the Washington Nationals (42-47) to open up a three-game set on Friday, with Washington hoping to stop its current freefall. The Nationals entered July with a winning record and a second-place standing in the National League East. They’ve won just two of 11 games this month, though, falling to fourth in the division in the process. San Diego hasn’t been at its sharpest of late either, splitting a four-game home series against Washington less than two weeks ago.

Don’t overthink this one … ride the over

If you’re looking for a game with a high run-scoring potential, you can probably stop your search right here. Friday’s matchup between the Padres and the Nationals has a lot of encouraging signs for an outburst of offense.

For one thing, both offenses have been red hot over the past month, ranking first (.850 OPS, Padres) and third (.810 OPS, Nationals) in team OPS in the majors. The Nationals are also tied for second in runs scored in that 30-day span (128), while the Padres are tied for sixth (125).

The second factor is that we have recent evidence of these teams lighting up the scoreboard against each other. Earlier this month, when they split a four-game series, the Padres and Nationals combined for 60 runs. In those games, their combined run total was 11 or greater each time. In other words, the over hit in all four of their matchups this season, so we know they’re capable of doing it again.

Obviously the Padres’ stars Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado grab the most attention, but six of San Diego’s eight regular position players have OPS+ numbers of 110 or better (i.e. they are 10-plus percent better than league average). Similarly, the Nationals are led by Juan Soto and Trea Turner, but seven of their eight regulars have above-average OPS numbers.

The last reason why we view Friday’s game as a potential for some big-time offense is the pitching matchup. Both starting pitchers have season-long ERA numbers above 4.50, and neither of them has pitched well in this particular matchup. 

Back on July 6, Erick Fedde (4-6, 4.59 ERA) allowed eight hits and six runs to the Padres in just 4 1/3 innings. He also only struck out two batters in that span. The next night, Chris Paddock (4-6, 5.38 ERA) was lit up for nine runs on nine hits in just two innings (he also struck out just two batters). With these two guys on the mound, both offensive lineups are poised for strong nights at the plate.

All of those reasons explain why we like the over on the 9.5 run total (-109 at 10Bet) among Tuesday’s MLB picks.

Now, the question of who’s going to win this game is a bit more dicey, and on the surface you might lean toward the Padres given where they sit in the standings. But the Nationals did split on the road against the Padres earlier this month, and now they’ll host a San Diego team that is just 20-21 on the road. 

Plus, of the two starting pitchers, Fedde has been more encouraging in recent weeks. His past three starts were definitely rough (14 runs in 13 1/3 innings), but he tossed 19 scoreless innings in the three starts before that. So if you want a little parlay action, back the Nationals with our over play BetPicks prediction.

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  • San Diego is 6-4 on the money line in its past 10
  • The OVER has cashed in five of the Padres’ past eight games
  • Washington is 4-6 on the money line in its past 10
  • The OVER has cashed in five of the Nationals’ past seven games

Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University).