Dodgers at Giants Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 5/3/2013
The Dodgers and Giants, arguably the biggest rivals in the National League and the co-+140 NL West favorites at Sportsbook.ag, begin a three-game series on Friday night in L.A.'s first visit of the season to AT&T Park. Neither leads the division, with San Francisco a game behind the first-place Rockies and Los Angeles in fourth and 3.5 games back.
L.A. was a World Series favorite before the year with a full season of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett after the trio was acquired last summer from Boston as well as the big free-agent signing of Zack Greinke this offseason. The latter remains out for several more weeks with a broken collarbone. Los Angeles (13-14) has arguably just one quality series win, vs. Milwaukee. Yes, it swept Pittsburgh early this season, but the Pirates were awful back then. The Dodgers just lost two of three at home to Colorado, and they have to be concerned about Beckett as he was knocked around again in Wednesday's finale and is 0-4 with a 5.24 ERA. Now you see why the Red Sox insisted his salary be included in that trade last year. I don't believe the Dodgers have enough quality pitching to contend if Beckett continues to pitch like this, and he's 7-20 in his past 36 starts overall with a 4.95 ERA. He is what he is at this point.
The Giants (16-12), meanwhile, took a five-game losing streak into a series in Arizona to start this week and promptly swept the Diamondbacks, rallying in every game. The Giants have nine come-from-behind wins this season. It was San Francisco's third sweep of the year, but they've also been swept twice (then sweeping their next opponent both times).
Dodgers at Giants Betting Story Lines
Despite all those all-stars in their lineup, the Dodgers are No. 14 in the National League with 91 runs despite ranking No. 5 in average (.250). Part of that is because L.A. isn't hitting the long ball and is tied for second-to-last with 20 homers. The good news is that Matt Kemp's average is starting to climb as he is hitting .292 over the past week to get to .260. He still has just one homer. The better news is the return of shortstop Hanley Ramirez from an injury suffered in the WBC. He made his first start Tuesday and homered and then had three hits in Wednesday's game.
However, the Dodgers are expected to put starting second baseman Mark Ellis on the disabled list before Friday's game. He hasn't played since straining his right quad last Friday. Ellis has been one of the best Dodgers hitters at .342 with two homers and 11 RBI. Nick Punto has been starting in his place and is hitting .375 in 40 at-bats. Also, Crawford didn't play Tuesday or Wednesday with a sore hamstring, but with the three days off (including Thursday) the team believes he should be able to play Friday. He's having a terrific bounce-back season, hitting .308 with four homers, six RBI and four steals.
The Giants are expected to activate a key member of their bullpen Friday in lefty Jeremy Affeldt. He had a 2.70 ERA in 67 appearances a year ago but had allowed four runs and five walks in 4.2 innings this season. Even though first baseman Brandon Belt had two homers and six RBI in the Diamondbacks series, look for the left-hander to sit Friday night against Dodgers ace southpaw Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw (3-2, 1.73) will be activated off the bereavement list (death of father) and start on normal rest. He was brilliant in his last start, blanking Milwaukee on four hits and striking out 12 in eight innings. He retired 18 straight batters. Kershaw simply owns the Giants with 9-4 record and 1.28 ERA in 18 starts. He pitched a complete-game shutout on Opening Day against the Giants, striking out seven and also homering. Reigning NL MVP Buster Posey is hitting .167 with 10 strikeouts in his career against Kershaw.
The Giants counter with lefty Barry Zito (3-1, 3.29). The Giants have lost two of his past three starts after they had won his previous 16 (including playoffs). Zito was bombed by the weak-hitting Padres for six runs (one earned) and six hits in 3.2 innings last time out. He hasn't faced the Dodgers this season and is 9-10 with a 3.71 ERA against them in his career. You might want to put down a bet on a Kemp hitting prop for this game as he is hitting .436 with three homers and eight RBI in his career off Zito.
Dodgers at Giants MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Dodgers opened at -150 and the Giants +140 with the total at 6. Los Angeles is 16-10-1 “over/under” (6-5-1 on road) and 10-17 on the runline. San Francisco is 15-13 over/under (6-6 at home) and 11-17 on the runline.
The Dodgers are 4-0 in their past four after a loss. L.A. is 2-5 in its past seven series openers. The Dodgers are 0-7 in their past seven when their opponent allows at least five runs in its previous game. L.A. is 4-1 in Kershaw's past five road starts vs. a team with a winning record. The Giants are 6-2 in their past eight series openers. San Francisco is 1-4 in its past five when its opponent allows five runs or fewer in its previous game. The Giants are 10-1 in Zito's past 11 starts. They are 7-1 in his past eight series-opening starts. The over is 5-0 in the Dodgers' past five series openers. The under is 5-2 in Kershaw's past seven starts. The over is 6-2 in Zito's past eight series openers. The under is 7-1-1 in the past nine meetings. The under is 13-3 in Kershaw's past 16 starts against the Giants.
Dodgers at Giants Picks and Betting Predictions
Something has to give here as Zito is 3-0 at home this year and hasn't allowed a run in 21 innings. The Dodgers lead baseball with a .301 average against lefties. San Francisco, by comparison, is at .250. Yet, despite the averages, L.A. is only 5-5 against lefties while the Giants are 5-3. Still, you can't bet against Kershaw, and I think he's going to be incredible while pitching for his late father. Take the Dodgers (also on the runline at +110), Kemp on any total hits, runs and RBI props, and the under.
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