The Washington Nationals head out to the west coast to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first of a three-game set. It’s time to continue our MLB odds series and make a Nationals-Dodgers prediction and pick. Washington will be playing in only their fourth game of the 2021 season. They lost their opening series against the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers have defended their title nicely this far, winning both of their first two series. They are coming off of a tough extra-inning loss in the series finale against the Oakland Athletics, though.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Nationals-Dodgers odds.
MLB Odds: Nationals-Dodgers Odds
Washington Nationals +1.5 (+127)
Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 (-147)
Over 8.5 Runs (-125)
Under 8.5 Runs (+100)
Why The Nationals Could Cover The Spread
The Washington Nationals have gotten off to a funky start in 2021 as their opening series against the New York Mets was postponed due to COVID concerns. Washington finally kicked off their season in a three-game set against the Atlanta Braves this week. They won their first game of the year on a walk-off single by Juan Soto, followed by two straight losses in a back-to-back doubleheader against Atlanta on Wednesday. Trea Turner has had a hot start to the year, hitting .273 with two home runs and four RBI. Starlin Castro and Ryan Zimmerman have been playing well themselves, each hitting over .300 on the young season. All three will have to be great in this series to compete with one of the best lineups in baseball.
The Nationals will send out right-hander Joe Ross for his first start since the 2019 season. Ross is coming off of a disappointing 2019 campaign and only has 16.2 innings of experience against this Dodger team. He currently has a 7.02 career ERA against Los Angeles. Ross was eased back into action in Spring Training, seeing just 9.2 innings of work on the bump. He gave up three earned runs and looked confident in his limited action. Joe Ross showed us this spring that he is ready to attack hitters once again in 2021.
Why The Dodgers Could Cover The Spread
The Los Angeles Dodgers dropped the season opener against the Colorado Rockies but followed the loss up with four straight victories. They have taken their first two series against the Rockies and the Oakland Athletics to open the 2021 campaign. The Dodgers are coming off of a tough extra-inning loss against Oakland on Wednesday and will look to bounce back to open this series against Washington. Corey Seager has continued his dominance, hitting .423 through 26 at-bats this far. Eight other Dodgers are currently hitting over .300 and Cody Bellinger hasn't even gotten his bat going yet. Will Smith currently leads LA with two home runs. Imagine what this team will start doing to clubs once they unlock the long ball.
The Dodgers will hand the ball to right-hander Walker Buehler for the second time in 2021. Buehler received a no-decision in his first start of the season against Colorado, allowing two runs over six innings and striking out four. Let's take a look back at Walker's dominant performance against the Nationals in the 2019 NLDS. In two starts, Buehler appeared in 12.2 innings and only allowed five hits and one run. He struck out a whopping 15 batters over that stretch. Current Washington hitters have 49 career at-bats against the Dodger right-hander. They've got just 10 hits and three walks overall.
Final Nationals-Dodgers Prediction & Pick
The Los Angeles Dodgers are the best team in baseball and the easy pick to repeat as World Champions. The Washington Nationals are a respectable team but don't belong in the same weight-class as the Dodgers. Los Angeles will win more times than not and when they do, it's typically in dominant fashion. Buehler should have his way against the Nats lineup and the Dodgers should continue to feast on a rusty below-average arm in Joe Ross.
FINAL PICK: Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 (-147)