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Nationals vs. Giants MLB Betting Preview-July, 28th

The San Francisco Giants are the baseball betting favorites as they host the Washington Nationals to open a four-game series to close the month of July. Below are the odds for fans who bet on MLB:

Nationals +1½ (-190) 7 (-105) +130
Giants -1½ (+165) 7 (-115) -140

These two teams have a couple of things in common. Both are at the top of their respective divisions – and with the exact same record too; the Giants lead the NL West and the Nationals lead the NL East with 59 wins, 42 losses, and a .584 percentage, respectively – but neither have had a smooth path since returning from the All Star break. San Francisco lost six straight games following the 87th All Star game, and has won only two since. Last night at AT&T Park, Giants starter Madison Bumgarner allowed only two runs (one earned) in 8 innings, but a solo home run by Jay Bruce in the 7th gave the Cincinnati Reds the 2-1 win. San Fran’s lack of firepower – not a single runner got anywhere near a scoring position – resulted in Bumgarner picking up his ninth loss in eleven games since the All Star Break.

As for the Nationals, they are 5-6 since the All Star Break. However, they did manage to beat the Cleveland Indians 4-1 last night at Progressive Field. Washington starter Stephen Strasburg shutout the Indians for seven innings, and allowed only three hits. Unlike the Giants above, the Nationals’ offense provided plenty of run support for their pitcher; Daniel Murphy hit his 20th home run of the season – a first for the second baseman – while Trea Turner went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs. So, what is it that makes the Giants the baseball betting favorites for tonight?

It may have to do with starter Johnny Cueto (13-2, 2.53 ERA), who will take the mound for the Giants. Cueto has pitched at least six innings in 11 season starts – including a full game in his last outing at home –, surrendering one earned run or fewer. Cueto allowed one unearned run in six innings versus the New York Yankees in his previous start. The right-hander is 5-1 with a 2.43 ERA in nine starts at AT&T Park. Cueto will certainly not have to worry about Washington right fielder Bryce Harper, who is 0 for his last 17 and five for his last 51. The Nationals, on the other hand, will start Tanner Roark (9-6, 3.05 ERA). Roark lasted only five innings in his last start versus the San Diego Padres – which might have had something to do with the fact that it was the first time he surrendered two homers in the season – even though he had lasted at least seven in five straight starts. Washington baseball betting fans will be hoping that the righty is going to be able to bounce back from that uncharacteristically short start. Roark has only one career start versus San Francisco; he surrendered two runs and seven hits in six innings in a June 2014 win.