I have been betting baseball a number of years and while certain numbers may have slipped my mind over time wagering daily, I can never recall seeing a money line of -400 this early in the season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw opened at -380 home favorites at Bookmaker over lowly Atlanta, but that did not stop those placing MLB picks from still betting them up and at last look to ginormous -400 ML faves.
Though rare, the occasional -350 in June will happen, but -400 is even September is an odd occurrence in any season. Plus, even the run line is unplayable if it ends up under normal figures, as we are talking about -200 at -1.5 for Dodger Blue under normal circumstance.
How do you bet a game like this, let’s examine the possibilities.
For young pitchers like Mike Foltynewicz (2-2, 3.51 ERA, 1.26 WHIP), this has to be imposing task. The 24-year old knows that even if he shuts out L.A., there is a very good chance he would have to settle for a no-decision based on who he is facing and with his teammates having limited offensive capabilities. Foltynewicz has upper 90’s fastball and has worked diligently in maintain arm slot to stay consistent. His secondary pitches still need work, but he does have ability. Though it seems like the starters are miles apart based on experience, they are only separated in age by about 43 months.
Kershaw (7-1, 1.56, 0.65) is coming off a May that can only be described as – AWESOME – even if you are not a millennial. The Dodgers won all six of the left-hander’s starts last month and he has 0.91 ERA. Included were three complete game shutouts and over his league-best 49 2/3 innings, he struck out 65 and walked …….two. If you go back to April, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kershaw is the first pitcher baseball history to have as many as 68 strikeouts with just two free passes in a run of six consecutive starts.
Atlanta is already baseball’s worst offense at 3.1 runs per game and they are slightly worse when facing port-siders like Kershaw at 3.0 RPG. The Braves have no easy way to score with only 22 home runs on the season and to put that into perspective, Madison Bumgarner would be tied for third place in home runs if he wore a Braves with two. If you consider slugging percentage, Atlanta (.314 OBP) is 0.44 percentage points behind Philadelphia who is ranked 14th in the league.
The Dodgers outside of Kershaw have an ordinary starting staff and it’s offense coming into this series was at 4.2 RPG and a pathetic 3.4 RPG at Chavez Ravine. Adrian Gonzalez (.369 OBP), Chase Utley (.355 OBP) and rookie Corey Seager (.338) have done their jobs, but that is about it. Los Angeles is being held back by Yasiel Puig, Justin Turner, Howie Kendrick, Joc Pederson and whoever is catching for L.A., all hitting under .240.
Let’s not worry about the MLB odds for side wagering and instead look at the total which is 6. Of the past seven meetings between these clubs, the total is 4-3 UNDER. It is not expected the Los Angeles bullpen will require much work and at home they have a 2.39 ERA. In spite of the Braves failures, away from home there non-starters have pretty good 3.69 ERA.
As mentioned, the money or run lines are essentially unplayable, unless you want to take flyer on the Braves. Atlanta is 15-4 UNDER versus a starting pitcher who throws more than 6.5 innings per start since last season and the Dodgers are 10-1 UNDER at home against a NL team with an on-base percentage .315 or worse this season. With Kershaw 12-1 UNDER facing a NL team with a team batting average of .245 or lower the past two seasons, the UNDER is a logical conclusion
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