Nationals vs Padres July 8 Preview and Best Bets: Star hurlers take the stage as Nationals look to seal series in San Diego

Eddie Griffin

After their hot streak ended at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers last week, it seemed like the Washington Nationals were set for a rough run against the NL West’s best before the MLB All-Star break. After being swept at home by the MLB betting favorite to win the World Series, the Nationals had a cross-country road trip to face the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants.

But the Nationals have more than held their own against one of MLB’s better home teams. With wins on Monday and Wednesday, the Nats are poised for a series win in San Diego. Last night, they broke out the bats in a big way against Chris Paddack and the Padres. Nats bats torched Paddack for nine runs in the first three frames as Washington won in a 15-5 rout.

Tonight looks unlikely to be a run-fest, as two top pitchers face off to wrap up the series. Yu Darvish has been the Padres’ best starter this season and was selected to the MLB All-Star Game for the fifth time. Meanwhile, Max Scherzer, one of the league’s leaders in ERA and strikeouts, was a high-profile All-Star snub. However, he could make the trip to Denver due to Jacob deGrom’s choice–an understandable, wise one, FWIW–to opt out.

Which stud starter’s team will take the win tonight? Darvish and the Padres are the MLB betting favorite tonight, but Scherzer has been the picture of consistency at home and on the road.

Washington Nationals (42-43) vs San Diego Padres (51-38), Bally Sports San Diego, 9:10 pm ET

Probable Pitchers

  • Washington Nationals: Max Scherzer (7-4, 2.10 ERA)
  • San Diego Padres: Yu Darvish (7-3, 2.65 ERA)

Nationals vs Padres MLB Betting Odds

  • Moneyline: Nationals +124, Padres -146
  • Total: OVER 7 (-118), UNDER 7 (-104)
  • Run Line: Nationals +1.5 (-170), Padres -1.5 (+140)

Odds are via FanDuel Sportsbook as of Thursday, July 8 at 6:55 pm ET. For MLB betting odds for today’s other matchups, check out our MLB odds.

Nationals vs Padres MLB Betting Consensus

  • Moneyline: 20% Nationals, 80% Padres
  • Total: 60% OVER, 40% UNDER (at O/U 7)
  • Run Line: 100% Nationals, 0% Padres (at +/-1.5)

Washington Nationals vs San Diego Padres July 8 Matchup: Picks, Odds, Stats and More

Scherzer’s Consistency Could Help Nats Make Major Move in Second Half

For much of the first half of the season, Scherzer was one of the bright spots of a floundering team. But as the All-Star break approaches, the Nats are well-positioned to make the kind of run their 2019 World Series-winning team did.

Since sitting at 26-35 last month, the Nationals are 16-8. Even with the sweep against the Dodgers in mind, that is still an excellent stretch. With the Mets not pulling away in the NL East, the Nationals, Atlanta Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies are all in striking distance. Each could close the gap with consistency and the right moves. In the latest MLB betting odds at FanDuel Sportsbook, the Nationals and Braves are both +650 to win the NL East, while the Phillies are just behind at +700.

Scherzer has seven All-Star nods to his name, but his numbers are certainly deserving of an eighth. He ranks fourth in WHIP (0.85), tied for fourth in ERA, and tied for ninth in strikeouts (127), and he has ten quality starts in 16 starts.

The Padres are 31-17 at home this season, but Scherzer’s splits suggest he will be up to the task tonight. On the road, he is 5-2 with a 2.30 ERA in eight starts, with opponents hitting only .192 against him.

It certainly helps that the bats are coming off of a 15-run, 17-hit night. Six hitters recorded two or more hits, while Starlin Castro, Josh Harrison, and Juan Soto each drove in three runs. Soto started the party with a three-run homer in the first inning, going deep for the second straight game. Over his last nine games, Soto comes in at a .344 clip with three homers, 10 RBI, and nine runs scored. If he continues this run into the second half, watch out.

Will Darvish Continues His Home Dominance?

Soto and the Nats bats are in for a real test tonight against Darvish. San Diego’s rotation has had its ups and downs this season, but Darvish has had the fewest bumps and blips.

Darvish did take the loss last time out in Philadelphia, as he allowed four runs in six innings in a 4-2 loss last Saturday. But like Scherzer, he has ten quality starts this season, and he has allowed less two or fewer runs in 13 of 17 starts. At home, he is 5-2 with a 2.12 ERA in 11 starts, with 88 strikeouts in 68 innings and an OBA of .196.

The Padres had some struggles at home earlier in the season, but they are 10-3 in their last 13 home games. So if you’re eyeing a side in this one, the Padres offer some decent MLB betting value at home with the moneyline still in the -140s. Our consensus MLB betting picks for this matchup also lean that way, with four of five sources backing the Padres.

Also, while strikeout props should not be getting too much love right now, Darvish’s should be considered tonight. In his last three starts, he has 11, seven, and eight strikeouts, racking up six innings in each start. Darvish has pitched into the sixth in all but one home start and averages eight strikeouts and over six IP per home start. Based on his body of work at home, over 7.5 strikeouts at plus odds is worth consideration. And if the hook is too risky for you, over 7 is -165 at the time of writing. It may not be a sexy number, but it could be a fun small play alongside tonight’s best bet.

Nationals vs Padres July 8 Best Bet

Nationals vs Padres UNDER 7: With the first three games all featuring double-digit runs, the under is a risk. But with Scherzer and Darvish on the mound, the numbers line up well for the under to be the move, even though the consensus picks lean otherwise.

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