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Thursday May 2nd NL Free Pick: Cardinals at Nationals

St. Louis Looks for 4-Game Sweep as Washington's Offense Is in Shambles

There’s definitely good value on St. Louis in the May 2nd NL free pick. Oddsmakers have set the Cardinals as +141 underdogs despite the team being on a 5-game winning streak and taking the first three at Nationals Park. Washington meanwhile has dropped 5 of the last 6 and is having a hard time mustering offense lately. The Nationals do have the pitching edge on paper Thursday, is that enough to justify the WAS -153 line?

Cardinals on Fire Heading Into Big Weekend

May 2nd NL free pick
The Cardinals are surging even while Goldschmidt struggles.

St. Louis is on a 9-1 run right now and has built up a 3 game lead over the Cubs in the NL Central. The Cardinals head to Wrigley for a weekend series with Chicago and could be in a look-ahead spot on Thursday. The Redbirds face a tough pitching matchup here, but have also built a top 5 run scoring offense that has the league’s 2nd best BA. The Cardinals have scored at least 5 runs in 7 of the last 10, and that’s with Paul Goldschmidt hitting just .200 over the past 6 games. Jose Martinez has definitely picked up some slack going 9 for his last 19 (.474)

St. Louis will send Dakota Hudson to the hill in the May 2nd NL free pick. The right-hander was a reliever in his rookie season a year ago, but has transitioned to starter for the 2019 campaign. Hudson has only thrown 90+ pitches once this season, so a lot of Thursday’s game looks like it will come down to the Cardinals’ bullpen. Hudson has allowed at least 3 runs in 4 of 5 starts this year, and has a 5.62 ERA on the season. Hudson has also struggled with the long ball, giving up 5HR the last 3 starts but that’s not a huge part of Washington’s game right now.

Washington Searches for Offense in the Series Finale

May 2nd NL free pick
Stephen Strasburg puts Washington on his back on Thursday.

The Nationals have scored just 6 runs through three games in the series and have been held to 3 runs or less in 5 of the last 6. Howie Kendrick and Yan Gomes are the only two Washington everyday batters hitting over .275 the past 6 games. The Nationals have belted out 16 hits over the last two games vs. St. Louis, but it has resulted in just 3 runs total. 5 batters have faced St. Louis’ Hudson but just a total of 6 AB. Wilmer Difo has the only hit over that span vs. the Cardinals starter.

The O/U for Thursday’s May 2nd NL free pick is 9 which on paper looks on the high side as Stephen Strasburg is Washington’s starter. Strasburg has been absolutely dominant the last two outings, striking out 20, allowing just 6 hits, giving up 2 ER, and pitching 15 innings. Strasburg has had some rough outings, giving up 10ER total in the two starts prior, but only 3 Cardinals batters have ever faced the big right-hander. The Nationals are just 1-4 in Strasburg’s last 5 home starts however.

May 2nd NL Free Pick Betting

Even though the over is 21-5-1 in Strasburg’s last 27 home starts vs. a team with a winning record, today looks like a lower scoring contest. The Nationals just aren’t hitting and both pitchers have the familiarity edge over the opposing batters. There’s no value on Washington at -153, and the Cardinals are also a tough bet in getaway day with a series at Chicago looming. The total is the way to go.

NL Free Pick: Cardinals / Nationals *Under* 9

Carl Taylor

Every loss is a chance to learn a lesson. That being said, wins are so much more enjoyable. Follow along to tap into the wisdom I've learned from 20 years as a sports bettor. Follow along on Twitter for more picks and DFS news @dailydogsports.

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