Dodgers at Giants Series Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Robert Ferringo - 5/3/2013
I know that the prepackaged narrative in the national media is that the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is the most heated in baseball. But the fact is that if we’re measuring a rivalry by the amount of murders and near-death beatings inflicted by members of the opposing fan bases on one another, then you have to go with the Dodgers-Giants as the most vicious rivalry in the sport.
Los Angeles will head to San Francisco this weekend to rekindle its grudge match with the Giants. The defending World Series Champion Giants took two of three from the Dodgers in their season-opening series in April. San Francisco (16-12) is also 2.5 games up on Los Angeles (13-14) in the standings and would love to kick their nemesis into the basement of the National League West.
Hanley Ramirez homered in his first game back with the Dodgers, and he should be able to give the lineup a jolt. Their No. 2-6 hitters right now are Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford (assuming he is healthy this weekend). Is there a better quintet in baseball? However, despite the big names, the Dodgers are averaging a feeble 3.37 runs per game, second-worst in the Majors.
The Giants have had some problems with their own big-name players. But their struggles have been with their starters. Tim Lincecum (4.41), Ryan Vogelsong (6.23) and Matt Cain (6.49) all have ERAs well above their career averages, and all three of them have been getting throttled this year.
This weekend we have the proverbial stoppable force (Dodgers lineup) against the moveable object (Giants pitching). One of those groups will have to start playing up to their reputation, and whomever does that will likely win this key divisional series.
Here is a deeper look at this week’s best baseball series, including a free MLB series pick at the bottom:
Dodgers at Giants Probable Starting Pitchers
Saturday: Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw (3-2, 1.73 ERA) vs. San Francisco LHP Barry Zito (3-1, 3.29 ERA)
Clayton Kershaw is coming off the bereavement list after his father passed away this week in Texas. That’s a heavy emotional burden to place on the Cy Young winner. Kershaw dominated the Giants in the first meeting this season, throwing a complete game shutout back on April 1. The Dodgers are 9-4 in his last 13 starts against the Giants, including 5-1 by The Bay. However, Zito has quietly been one of the best bets in baseball over the last year. San Francisco is 20-6 in his last 26 starts and an outstanding 16-5 when he starts against a divisional opponent.
Saturday: Dodgers TBA vs. San Francisco RHP Ryan Vogelsong (1-2, 6.23 ERA)
The Dodgers are kind of in trouble for Saturday’s game. Ted Lilly is on the books. But he has been a disaster this spring, getting lit up in his extended Spring Training starts and then getting shelled on Monday against Colorado. Lilly is questionable for Saturday because of a stiff back/neck and sore ribs. If he can’t go then the Dodgers will have to reach for a spot starter. Vogelsong has been increasingly shaky in his own right this season, giving up roughly one homer every four innings. He has just one quality start on the year and has struggled with his control more than his 10 walks would suggest.
Sunday: Dodgers LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-1, 3.35 ERA) vs. San Francisco RHP Matt Cain (0-2, 6.49 ERA)
Cain has been getting absolutely rocked this year, giving up nine home runs in just 34.1 innings. He has looked awful despite a solid 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Cain’s fastball has been meat this year, and the Dodgers have already knocked him around once this season. Cain is just 1-4 in his last five starts against the Dodgers. Ryu has quietly been the Dodgers most reliable starter this year. The rookie has given up three earned runs or less in five of his six starts. But he did get touched for 10 hits by the Giants back on April 2. However, that was his MLB debut, and I’m sure the lefty, with nearly a 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, will make adjustments.
Dodgers at Giants Betting Odds and Trends
The Dodgers are heavy -137 favorites in the opener, according to odds from BookMaker, with the Giants paying out at +117. However, the Giants are actually favored in the series at -120. Los Angeles is paying even-money to take at least two of the contests this weekend.
The “under” has gone 7-1-1 in the last nine meetings as these two teams have played a lot of close, low scoring affairs. The under is 3-0-1 in the last four meetings in San Francisco.
The Dodgers should get some cuts in against Zito on Friday, and the Dodgers are 13-6 against a lefty starter. They are also 4-1 as a road favorite and 4-0 after a loss. Look for the Dodgers to get off to a fast start behind Kershaw. They are 38-16 in his last 54 starts, 38-14 when he starts as a favorite, and 20-6 when he faces a team over .500.
San Francisco is 7-2 in its last nine home games, and they are 5-1 as a home underdog. San Francisco is 10-3 in its last 13 games against a team with a losing record, and they are 40-18 in their last 58 divisional games. San Francisco is also 36-17 against a left-handed starter.
Dodgers at Giants Series Picks and Betting Predictions
I really want to believe that the Dodgers are ready to catch fire. With Ramirez back and, again, if Crawford is healthy, this lineup is ready to blast off. But I don’t think this is the weekend things come together for Big Blue. It is only a matter of time before Vogelsong and Cain get it going, and this could be the weekend. San Francisco is dominant at home, particularly against divisional foes, and you know that the Giants will be loose and confident coming into this series. San Francisco just got done sweeping Arizona, and if they can beat Kershaw – who could either be ultra-motivated and dominate the Giants on Friday, or could be emotionally drained and distracted and falter – then the Dodgers team don’t have a starter lined up for Saturday. Realistically, I think that this series is split 1-1 going into Sunday’s game. If that’s the case, you have to ask yourself if you think that Matt Cain is going to be more than a -120 favorite in that start. I think he will be, so to me the value is on the favored Giants to get two of three in this series.
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Read more articles by Robert Ferringo
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