MLB Picks: Dodgers at Cubs Series Odds and Betting Predictions
by Darin Zank - 4/22/2011
The Los Angeles Dodgers, as a franchise, have a mess on their hands. As a baseball team, they're a .500 outfit so far this season. But with the circus going on with their owner and his wife and the league, maybe it's good that the Dodgers leave town for a while. So LA starts a six-game road trip with three games with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field beginning Friday afternoon.
The Dodgers have won four of their last five games, and just took a series from the Atlanta Braves, 3-1. Thursday LA coughed up a lead in the top of the ninth, tied it in the bottom of the ninth, then won it on another game-winning homer by Matt Kemp in the 12th. So LA, at 10-10, sits in third place in NL West, four games back of the division-leading Colorado Rockies.
The Cubs, meanwhile, took two of three from San Diego this week, getting quality starts from both Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza along the way. So through Thursday Chicago is 9-9 and sits in third place in the NL Central, a half-game back of both Cincinnati and St. Louis.
Statistically the Dodgers have been unimpressive. They rank 28th in the Majors in scoring at 3.4 runs per game, 16th in team batting average at .253 and 23rd in homers with 13. And LA pitching ranks 23rd in ERA at 4.50 and 21st in WHIP. But while they're not scoring a lot, the Dodgers are 11-6-3 on the ‘over/unders’ this season, thanks in part to the fact that they're are usually tagged with some of the lower totals on the board, especially when playing at home.
The Cubs rank second in baseball in team batting average at .277, but they're only averaging a little over four RPG. And Chicago pitching ranks 25th in ERA at 4.61, 29th in WHIP at a generous 1.50 and 29th in quality starts with five. And two of those came this week vs. the punchless Padres. So thanks mainly to that pitching staff the Cubbies are 11-7 on the ‘over/unders’ this season.
The Dodgers will throw Chad Billingsley Friday afternoon (2:20 EST, WGN), former Cub Ted Lilly Saturday (1:05 EST) and Hiroki Kuroda Sunday (2:20 EST, TBS). Chicago will go with Casey Coleman Friday, Ryan Dempster Saturday and Zambrano Sunday.
Billingsley allowed 12 earned runs in his first three starts of this season, then held St. Louis scoreless for eight innings last Sunday. Last year, in two starts vs. Chicago, Billingsley allowed six ER on 22 baserunners (hits + walks) in 12 1/3 innings of work. The Dodgers managed to win both those games, and both games played over the totals.
Coleman held the Rockies to one ER in 5 2/3 innings last Saturday. He has never started vs. the Dodgers.
Lilly allowed 10 ER in his first three starts this season, then shut out Atlanta for seven innings Monday. He will be making his first-ever start vs. the Cubs.
Dempster is off to a slow start this season, allowing at least four ER in each of his four starts. And all four of those starts played over the totals. Last year Dempster started once vs. LA, and it was a good one, holding the Dodgers scoreless for eight innings, allowing just three hits, walking one and striking out seven in a 3-0 Cubs victory.
Kuroda is 3-for-4 on quality starts this season, and just held the Braves to two ER in 6 1/3 innings pitched Tuesday. He did not make a start vs. Chicago last year.
Zambrano gave up 12 ER in his first three starts this season, then held San Diego scoreless for eight innings Monday, walking one and striking out 10. Then again, that was against the Padres. Last year Zambrano missed the Dodgers.
LA took the season series from the Cubs last year four games to three.
Cubs vs. Dodgers Betting Odds and Trends
BetUS is listing the Dodgers at -120 to win this series, with the Cubs lined at -110.
The totals are a combined 22-13 in Cubs and Dodgers games this year.
Last year the totals went 3-4 in this series, as Cubs-Dodgers games averaged 7.9 runs.
The Dodgers are 4-6 since losing SS Rafael Furcal to a broken thumb.
MLB Picks: Cubs vs. Dodgers Predictions
Billingsley lived dangerously vs. Chicago last year, and Dempster seems due for a good outing. So we'll go with the home team and the better price here, and take the Cubs.
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