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Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals MLB Pick from Ben Burns: September 8th 2014

| September 8, 2014

BRAVES VS. NATIONALS MLB PICK SEPTEMBER 8TH 2014

Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals
MLB Pick: Washington -138 odds (September 8th 2014)
CLICK HERE FOR BEN BURNS’ EXPERT MLB PICKS

I’m playing WASHINGTON. The Nationals have certainly had their share of problems with the Braves in the past, going just 4-9 against them this year. That obviously plays a major role in why they are “just” seven games ahead of Atlanta in the NL East. However, today I see them lengthening this lead with a win in the series opener.

We have an interesting pitching matchup Monday. Washington’s Doug Fister has strong overall numbers for the year, but not recently. Atlanta’s Mike Minor has overall numbers that aren’t very good, but has been better lately. I think we will be seeing the “old” Fister here though. Atlanta’s offensive numbers are simply not that impressive.

Remember that Fister had a three-start stretch where he didn’t allow ANY runs over 21 innings before his last three. Facing an Atlanta offense that has been shut out four times in its last eight games, Sunday included, should see Fister get back on track. The last time Fister faced the Braves was June 21st and that start saw him toss eight scoreless innings.

If the Nationals can get to four runs in this game, then they should be in good shape. I say that because they have a 66-9 record this year when scoring that many times. They only needed three runs for the win yesterday.

Atlanta has scored only 15 runs total in its last eight games. Seven of those runs came in one game, so in the other seven they are barely averaging more than one run per game. They are second to last in the league in runs scored for the year. 1* free play.

Tampa Bay Bucs vs. Carolina Panthers Week 1 NFL Pick from Jimmy Boyd: September 7th 2014

| September 6, 2014

TAMPA BAY VS. CAROLINA WEEK 1 NFL PICK SEPT. 7THTampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers
Week 1 NFL Pick: Tampa Bay -2.5 (September 7th 2014)
CLICK HERE FOR JIMMY BOYD’S EXPERT NFL PICKS

I’m not big on the Panthers at all this season, as I look for them to take a major step back after last year’s surprise campaign that saw them go 12-4 and win the NFC South.

Due to salary cap restraints, Carolina wasn’t able to much of anything in free agency, which is a big reason why I’m expecting this tame to regress. The Panthers lost both starting left tackle Jordan Gross and starting left guard Travelle Wharton to retirement, were unable to re-sign their top three wide outs and lost 3 of their 4 starters in the secondary.

On top of that, this team is dealing with some serious injuries going into Week 1. Starting quarterback Cam Newton had offseason ankle surgery and suffered several ribs in preseason. He’s likely to play but doesn’t figure to be 100%. Stud middle linebacker Luke Kuechly will be playing with a cast on his right thumb and defensive end Charles Johnson is nursing a hamstring injury.

Tampa Bay on the other hand enters 2014 with a lot of optimism after adding in Lovie Smith to be their head coach, which I feel was one of the more underrated coaching moves this offseason. Smith and new defensive coordinator Leslie Frasier figure to take a talented Buccaneers defense to the next level. Tampa Bay also added in veteran quarterback Josh McCown, beefed up their receiving corps by drafting Mike Evans with the 7th overall pick and get back talented running back Doug Martin after he played in just 6 games last year.

I know the Panthers swept the season series last year with the Buccaneers, but these two teams have alternated season sweeps each of the last 5 years. There’s simply too much value on Tampa Bay laying less than a field goal at home in a division matchup. Take the Buccaneers!