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Dodgers vs. Nationals prediction: MLB odds, picks, best bets for Thursday

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It’s been somewhat of a tumultuous start to life in the big leagues for Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

The Dodgers’ $325 million free-agent signing takes on the Washington Nationals on Thursday afternoon in the nation’s capital. Let’s take a look at the matchup and make a pick.

Dodgers vs. Nationals odds

Team Moneyline Run Line Total
Dodgers -205 -1.5 (-114) o8 (-102)
Nationals +172 +1.5 (-105) u8 (-120)
Odds via FanDuel

Dodgers vs. Nationals prediction

Yamamoto has pitched to an ERA of 4.50 and been hard-hit 54.5% of the time. Opponents have hard-hit his fastballs 67% of the time.

His stuff still rates out well (104 Stuff+), and he is in the 90th percentile in terms of strikeouts. A 2.68 xFIP is also a highly positive indicator.

Much of the damage to his ERA was done at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, which is a very hitter-friendly environment.

We don’t need to nitpick the Japanese right-hander’s game to say that a betting line of 17.5 outs is too high though.


CJ Abrams is emerging for the Nationals. AP

All starting pitchers are going to trend toward getting deeper into ball games after the first handful of outings, and Yamamoto did finish six innings for the first time last time out versus the Mets.

The Nationals have been hard on right-handed pitchers this season and the main reason has been a scrappy process at the plate.

They have hit to a wRC+ of 106 versus righties, with an OPS of .736. They own the seventh-best K/BB ratio of 0.46 to righties and rank 10th in pitches seen per plate appearance.

And as the season has worn on, the Nationals have plate discipline looks to be improving. They own a 0.56 BB/K over the last 187 plate appearances.

Even if we see a relatively smooth start from Yamamoto on Thursday in terms of traffic on the bases, it is still fairly likely that his pitch count dictates completing fewer than six innings of work based on the approach the Nationals have displayed this season.

Also, the Dodgers’ bullpen is in good shape, and we should not expect Dave Roberts to hesitate to push for a couple of extra outs from Yamamoto once his pitch count gets in the 90s.


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Dodgers vs. Nationals pick

There is value backing Yamamoto to record under 17.5 outs in this matchup at -125 (bet365), and anything better than -130 is worth a play.

Pick: Yoshinobu Yamamoto under 17.5 outs (-125, bet365 | Play to -130)

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