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July 7th 2014 - Posted at 3:00 PM ET

ATTENTION: The picks will be posted at 3:00 PM ET from Monday July 7th to Saturday July 12th.

Take Baltimore Orioles as big underdogs (+164) on the Money Line against Washington Nationals risking 2% (Tillman and Strasburg must start)

The Baltimore Orioles travel to take on the Washington Nationals in Game 1 of their series from Nationals Park. Something is going to have to give in this matchup as it's a battle between division leaders and both teams come into this game playing well and with a lot of momentum.

The Baltimore Orioles come into tonight's contest having won 6 of their last 7 games. They are 8 games above .500 and have recently taken over sole position of 1st place in the ultra-competitive AL East. The Orioles offense has been on absolute fire recently having produced at least 4 or more runs in 9 of their last 10 games. Baltimore has also won 6 straight games when scoring more than 3 runs. Nelson Cruz has been man on a mission recently and has sparked this Baltimore offense. Cruz has 8 hits in his last 2 games. Adam Jones is following suit as well as he is currently riding a 10 game hitting streak.

Chris Tillman will take the mound for the Orioles tonight. Tillman was the "Ace" of this team last season and that has carried over this year as he is having another quality season. Tillman is 7-4 with a 4.21 ERA. The Orioles are 12-6 overall when Tillman takes the mound this season and have provided him with an average of nearly 5 runs of support per start. Tillman has been pitching quite well recently; going 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA in his last three starts. Tillman is also unbeaten on the road, going 6-0 in 10 starts away from Camden Yards this season. 

The Nationals have been playing good ball as well recently as they have won 7 of their last 8 games. Tonight they will be sending their “Ace” Stephen Strasburg to the mound to face the Orioles. There's not much bad that can be said against Stephen Strasburg, he is a solid pitcher, but he has been a bit shaky recently. Over his last 3 starts, Strasburg has given up 12 earned runs in 18 innings of work and has seen his ERA climb to 5.89! He's also given up 4 home runs in his last 3 starts as well, something that this Baltimore lineup has feasted on this season. Strasburg hasn't had a lot of exposure to the Orioles as this will only be his second career start. Strasburg may have a tough time containing the Baltimore offense tonight however as the Orioles currently rank  10th in runs scored, 3rd in team batting average, 14th in on-base percentage and 5th in slugging percentage on the year.

These two teams are extremely evenly matched and both playing great baseball at the moment. Either team is capable of winning this game, but Stephen Strasburg has often times been over valued on the mound. We feel that this is one of those cases. Chris Tillman is a capable pitcher and while he might not the hype surrounding him as Strasburg does, the Orioles have shown that they back their pitcher when he takes the mound. This game could very well come down to just 1 or 2 mistakes or timely hits. Baltimore has shown their ability to win on the road this season and has done extremely well in the road underdog role, especially with Tillman on the mound. This game is much more evenly matched than the line makers have lead on. We have seen the Nationals go through offensive slumps in the past, especially with Strasburg on the mound and wouldn't be surprised to see that happen against this evening. There is too much value siding with the road team to pass up. Take Baltimore for the win.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Orioles are 4-1 in Tillman’s last 5 starts during game 1 of a series. 
  • Orioles are 23-9 in Tillman’s last 32 road starts!
  • Orioles are 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.

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