New York Yankees vs Washington Nationals betting preview
Gerrit Cole RHP (2019: 20-5, 2.50 ERA) vs Max Scherzer RHP (2019: 11-7, 2.92 ERA)
The Yankees will waste no time showing off their major offseason acquisition, marching Cole to the mound on Opening Day. He looked good in his final intrasquad warmup start, throwing 87 pitches and fanning seven through 5 2-3 innings but did give up two home runs.
Scherzer got knocked around in his last exhibition start before Opening Day. He allowed seven runs through two innings to the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday. Scherzer has had some rough preseason performances in the past, but there isn’t much time to iron out the wrinkles before Opening Day 2020.
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The forecast for Washington, D.C. is calling for a 60 percent chance of rain on Thursday night, with temperatures in the mid-70s with light breezes (6 mph) blowing out to right field. Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.
Home plate umpire
Betting trend to know
The Over is 9-1-1 in Nationals' last 11 interleague games. Find more MLB betting trends for Yankees at Nationals.
First five-innings Over/Under pick
Back in April, the Yankees were looking at a lineup missing the big bats of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez. But, with COVID-19 throwing a wrench into everyone’s plans, the Bronx Bombers got extra time to get their biggest bombs healthy.
The Yankees finished second in scoring through the first five innings in 2019, plating an average of 3.36 runs in that frame. The Nationals were no slouches as well, especially at home where they scored 3.06 runs per first five innings on the year.
PREDICTION: First five innings Over 3.5 (-120)
The total for Thursday’s season opener hit the board at seven runs and has ticked up to 7.5 with early money siding with the Over.
The Yankees tallied just two runs in a 2-2 tie with the Philadelphia Phillies (both scores coming on home runs) on Monday but have been smashing the ball during limited tune-up tilts this month. New York scored nine and six runs respectively in two matchups with the New York Mets last week, including five homers in a 6-0 victory Sunday.
While Scherzer only allowed 18 total home runs in all of 2019, he did struggle with the long ball in his last exhibition start. The right-hander was taken for a pair of three-run homers by the Phillies on Sunday but did eventually right the ship, posting three scoreless innings to end that effort. But another slow start against a lineup this stacked could be very costly.
PREDICTION: Over 7.5 (-110)
You hate to doubt the defending World Series champs, especially with a former Cy Young winner on the mound, but let’s not forget that Washington only played like champions for a very short time in 2019.
The Nationals were one of the biggest disappointments to start the season and didn’t figure it out until August, when they went on an incredible tear and rode that momentum all the way through October. The club scored an extra run per game after the All-Star break and was able to build steam against many less-than-competitive squads in the final two months of the regular season.
It could be tough for the Nats to find that magic, considering the long layoff and the lack of cohesion given COVID-19 protocols.
Washington had mixed results versus Cole in the World Series, hitting him for five runs on eight hits through seven innings in Game 1, but only one run on three hits through seven in Game 5. With an arm of Cole’s quality and the best power-hitting crew in the majors backing him up, you’ve got to like the price on New York.
PREDICTION: Yankees -141
Yankees vs Nationals betting card
- First five innings Over 3.5 (-120)
- Over 7.5 (-110)
- Yankees -141