An early-season showdown between top National League East pitchers awaits Thursday when the Nationals host the Mets at 2:05 p.m. ET. Dominant starters Stephen Strasburg of Washington and Jacob deGrom square off in the first of a three-game series between these division rivals.

The Nationals are moderate home favorites at -148 (bet $148 to win $100), with the over-under for total runs scored set at seven.

Before you pick this contest, you need to see what SportsLine's advanced computer model has to say. This model, which entered the week on a smoking-hot 13-2 run, sees the starting pitchers combining for more than 12 strikeouts Thursday.

We can also tell you the model loves the Under, projecting it in two-thirds of simulations. But it also favors one side of the money line, saying it hits 7 percent more often than its odds imply. 

The model knows Strasburg and deGrom both proved their mettle as top-flight starters with standout season debuts.

New York's ace allowed four hits and one run with seven strikeouts in five-plus innings of work against the Cardinals. The offense provided enough support for a 6-2 win.

The Mets were ravaged by injuries last season, but their once-dominant pitching staff looks as though it could be returning to form. They have allowed 13 runs in five games, with five of them coming in their lone loss to St. Louis.

Yoenis Cespedes has been the offensive leader, with two homers, six RBI and four runs scored.

Strasburg, who finished 15-4 last year with a 2.52 ERA to finish third in Cy Young voting, had a similarly strong first outing.

He gave up one earned run in six-plus innings of a 13-7 win against the Reds. He had seven strikeouts against one walk while allowing eight hits.

The Nationals started 4-0, but will be looking to bounce back from losing the last two of a three-game series in Atlanta in which they were outscored 20-7.

Bryce Harper is off to another MVP-caliber start for Washington, hitting .333 with four homers and nine RBI. Washington leads the national League with 12 homers.

DeGrom went 3-2 against Washington last season, but the Nationals controlled the series with a 13-6 mark.

Will the favored Nationals take care of business again, or will the underdog Mets take game one of the series? Visit SportsLine now to see which team's money line hits 7 percent more often than their odds imply, all from the model on a 13-2 run.