MLB Baseball Betting:  Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals&h=253&w=372&zc=1

A potential NLCS preview is on deck for Monday as the Chicago Cubs head to the ‘Great Dismal Swamp’ as it was once called to take on the Washington Nationals. The Nationals are trying to run away from their challengers in the NL East in the same way that the Cubs have done in the NL Central. The Cubs aren’t completely without challengers–the St. Louis Cardinals have been playing well and are now just 9 games back. As far as the Nationals, they’re in a good position to pad their lead since the rest of the division is in a holding pattern or losing ground.

You don’t see the Chicago Cubs circa 2016 as underdogs very often. Whenever you see what looks like an ‘off’ line for a particular betting interest it’s helpful to dissect it and ask ‘why’. There’s a vague perception among the mainstream sports media that the Cubs are ‘slumping’. That’s a ridiculous concept for a team that has won 7 of 10 and is winning 70% of their games. Is it the fact that the Nationals have dominated the Cubs in head to head play? Nope–Chicago has won all four games played this season. It’s not a problem playing on the road (Cubs are 21-10 away from home).

One thing it could be is a premium on the ‘name brand’ pitcher Max Scherzer. Kyle Kendricks doesn’t have any Cy Young Awards on the fireplace mantle but what he *does* have is better statistics in most situations and overall. Kendricks has been a ‘hard luck’ pitcher on the road but that’s variance, pure and simple. It’s admittedly an ‘apples and oranges’ comparison but the Cubs have similarities to the NBA Golden State Warriors. They’re the type of team that plays its best against top competition and sometimes loses focus in less challenging situations. This game should bring out the best in Chicago. At any rate, there’s nothing to justify the pricing. At worst, this game is a ‘toss up’ and we’ve talked at length about the advisability of playing the underdog in ‘coin flip’ games. You won’t find many better underdogs in any type of sports betting than the one you’re getting here.