Giants vs. Nationals Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back San Francisco as a Rare Road Underdog (Friday, June 11)

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured from left: Ron Wotus #23 and Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants.

Giants vs. Nationals Odds

Giants Odds +152
Nationals Odds -180
Over/Under 7.5 (+100 / -122)
Time 7:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Friday morning and via FanDuel.

In one of the best pitching matchups to start the weekend, Washington Nationals ace, Max Scherzer, duels Anthony DeSclafani and the San Francisco Giants.

Interestingly enough, bookmakers have granted the Nationals a massive edge in Friday’s matchup. Not too often this season have baseball bettors witnessed the Nationals as massive favorites against any opponent. But furthermore, the San Francisco Giants are not just any opponent, either: San Francisco boasts the fifth-best run differential (+74) in all of baseball.

Will Scherzer be able to go his patented seven-plus innings against a high-caliber opponent? Or, will the league-average Nationals bullpen have to carry a heavy burden against one of the best hitting lineups in MLB?

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San Francisco Giants

The Giants have won seven of their last 10 games despite the absences of Mike Yastrzemski and Evan Longoria, each of whom is on the injured list.

Fortunately, the Giants perform well as a team against right-handed pitching. So much so, in fact, that San Francisco can endure without two of its best sluggers and still be successful, even against a sure-fire Hall of Famer like Scherzer.

San Francisco ranks eighth in MLB with a 105 wRC+ while also managing a 10.1% walk rate. Granted, Scherzer is not necessarily going to walk hitters; nonetheless, the Giants’ patience at the plate is valuable to have in their back pocket.

Where San Francisco truly stands out against Scherzer is hard-hit balls. One-third of the Giants’ batted balls qualify as hard-hit, according to Fangraphs. Evan Longoria being out is a huge loss, since he leads the Giants in hard-hit percentage against righties. Still, even without Longoria in the lineup, the Giants’ Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, and Brandon Crawford quickly follow Longoria’s lead.

Scherzer typically allows an average exit velocity of around 87.2 miles per hour. However, this season, that exit velocity has crept up to 89.5 miles per hour, which ranks in the 39th percentile in baseball. Scherzer’s contacted exit velocity is magnified as a concern due to his 36% hard-hit rate allowed to opposing hitters. These two factors, combined with San Francisco’s 33% hard-hit rate, raise concerns regarding Scherzer’s odds for success.

However, the Giants do have issues with their bullpen. San Francisco’s relievers have pieced together a 3.55 ERA, but they are definitely overachieving compared to their 4.24 team xFIP. That said, the Giants still have enough relievers who can slot into Friday’s pitching selection nicely.

DeSclafani can go six strong innings for the Giants, but there have been a few occasions this season where he could not even reach five. If he can summon six innings for San Francisco on Friday, then the team should be in excellent shape.

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Washington Nationals

The Nationals, on the other hand, are incredibly top-heavy. Juan Soto, Ryan Zimmerman and Trea Turner are the only above-average hitters in the lineup against righties. This is abhorrent considering they have to plug in six other hitters to potentially match up with DeSclafani. Although not an overpowering pitcher, he is still considerably above-average when facing a lineup like Washington’s

The Nationals bullpen is quite imbalanced, as well. With Will Harris and Austin Voth on the injured list, it is up to the likes of Daniel Hudson and Wander Suero to anchor the bullpen. Washington is very lucky that Thursday’s series opener was postponed due to weather, because a stretched bullpen grants Max Scherzer little wiggle room as the starter.


Giants vs. Nationals Pick

Simply put, the Giants are an underdog despite playing a worse team.

Sure, Max Scherzer is on the hill. Granted, San Francisco is playing on the other side of the country in Washington D.C. But still, this line should still be swayed more strongly in the Giants’ direction.

The Giants have enough going for them versus right-handers this year, so they should be able to get a couple off of Scherzer and eventually face the stretched Washington bullpen.

Take this one when possible, because a team like the Giants is rarely this large of a ‘dog. Play this game to +120.

Pick: Giants (+152, play to +120)

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