Baseball Predictions: Dodgers at Giants Odds and Picks
by Alan Matthews - 9/25/2013
Back in the spring, this week's Dodgers-Giants series certainly looked like it could be very important for the National League West race. After all, San Francisco was the reigning World Series Champion, and the Dodgers had a team-record payroll of around $217 million that would make the Yankees blush. They were both among the NL pennant favorites.
Alas, this series isn't very important now. The Dodgers are the NL West Champions and will play extra baseball for the first time since 2009. Their only motivation in the season's final few days is to try and land some sort of home-field advantage in the playoffs. However, they trail both the Braves and Cardinals in that race entering Tuesday's action, so if that doesn't change, L.A. will visit whichever division winner has a worse record in Game 1 of the NLDS. There's nothing on the line for the Giants other than to play mini-spoilers. About the only interesting thing for San Francisco is that Tim Lincecum starts on Thursday night in what may be his final start in a Giants uniform (and former San Francisco fan-favorite Brian Wilson returns to AT&T Park for the first time since signing with L.A.). But I'm here to look at Wednesday's matchup.
Dodgers at Giants Betting Story Lines
This could be a very important start for L.A.'s Ricky Nolasco (13-10, 3.55). He had been mostly tremendous since coming over in trade from the Marlins but has been shelled for 13 runs and 16 hits over 6.1 innings in his past two starts. I could see L.A. going to a three-man rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu in the playoffs if Nolasco is rocked again. He might head to the bullpen (Nolasco also has never pitched in the playoffs). The only thing we know for sure at the moment is Kershaw starts Game 1 of the NLDS and Greinke No. 2. The Dodgers would have to feel pretty confident in those games on the road or not. Manager Don Mattingly says the NLDS schedule sets up for a four-man rotation, "unless we pitch somebody short [rest]. We've mulled it over but I'm not willing to say."
One of those terrible Nolasco starts was on Sept. 14 at Dodger Stadium against the Giants, who tagged him for seven runs in 1.1 innings; the Giants got their first seven batters on base. San Francisco won 19-3, the most runs ever scored by a Dodgers opponent at Chavez Ravine. It was the biggest run total against L.A. since 2001 at Wrigley Field. Hunter Pence has had huge success off Nolasco in his career, going 10-for-31 with four homers and 11 RBI. Pablo Sandoval is hitting .467 with two homers off him. Buster Posey is 6-for-17 with a double. Posey practically carried the Giants offense himself in the second half of last season, but he is scuffling since the break, batting just .242 with two homers.
San Francisco counters with its only starter who has been good this season in Madison Bumgarner (13-9, 2.77). He dominated the Mets last time out, allowing just a run and four hits in seven innings while striking out 10. San Francisco has won his past three starts, and Bumgarner has 22 quality starts (seventh in the NL) in his 31 outings. The lefty has been very good against the Dodgers this year, going 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in four starts. Michael Young is 5-for-6 with two doubles in his career off Bumgarner. Young is hitting .385 since coming over from the Phillies. Yasiel Puig is 2-for-9 off Bumgarner with a homer. Expect Andre Ethier to sit this one out. For one, he's just 3-for-24 with nine strikeouts off Bumgarner. Also, he hasn't started a game since Sept. 13 due to a sprained ankle (entering Tuesday). No reason to push him now -- he has done some pinch-hitting -- especially against a pitcher who gives him fits.
Dodgers at Giants Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Giants opened at -133 and the Dodgers at +123 with a total of 6.5. All trends entering Tuesday: Los Angeles is 71-78-7 “over/under” (34-41-3 on road) and 85-71 on the runline. San Francisco is 69-78-9 O/U (31-37-7 at home) and 65-91 on the runline.
The Dodgers are 8-1 in their past nine road games against teams with a losing record. They are 7-1 in Nolasco's past eight road starts. L.A. is 5-2 in Nolasco's past seven against teams with a losing record. The Giants are 2-5 in their past seven Game 2s. They are 6-2 in Bumgarner's past eight starts against teams with a winning record. San Francisco is 1-4 in Bumgarner's past five at home and 1-6 in his past seven Wednesday starts. The over is 5-1 in Nolasco's past six road starts. The under is 6-0-1 in the Giants' past seven home games against righty starters. The under is 7-1 in Bumgarner's past eight home starts. The under is 4-0-1 in Bumgarner's past five against L.A. The Dodgers are 2-5 in their past seven in San Francisco.
Baseball Predictions: Dodgers at Giants Betting Picks
This is the penultimate game of a long road trip for L.A. and I'm not sure really how focused the Dodgers are. It's more important to get beaten up guys like Ethier and Hanley Ramirez some rest. Thus, I like San Francisco and the over in this one.
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