Diamondbacks vs Dodgers – MLB Game One Pick for October 6th
A magical season for the Los Angeles Dodgers could get even better on Friday night, or it could start to unravel. L.A. ace Clayton Kershaw (18-4, 2.31 ERA) looks to get his Dodgers started off on the right foot, while simultaneously overcoming past playoff issues.
Kershaw hasn’t found much playoff success in his Hall of Fame career, going just 4-7 with a 4.55 ERA in 14 starts. The good news? He’s at home and gets a familiar foe in the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Arizona held off the rival Colorado Rockies earlier this week just to get here:
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) October 5, 2017
The Diamondbacks have a narrative of their own, as they’re back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Blessed with an underrated stable of top-shelf pitchers, Arizona could be a bigger threat to the Dodgers than some let on.
Will Arizona show their strength right away in game one? It’s tough to say, but so far Vegas isn’t blinking, as top MLB betting sites like Bovada have the Dodgers (-280) as the clear favorites.
Betting on L.A. straight up feels like a waste tonight, but there is money to be made on this game as the playoffs truly get rolling in California. Let’s break this matchup down to see how bettors should approach it:
The Diamondbacks enter Dodger Stadium has huge underdogs for several reasons. Obviously, they’re on the road against one of the best teams in the league, but they’re also going to work against Clayton Kershaw.
Arizona has surprisingly been quite good against the Dodgers, going 11-8 across 19 meetings during the regular season. They haven’t been that great against Kershaw specifically, however, with the 29-year old southpaw holding them to an impossible one run (0.59 ERA) across 15 frames.
Suffice to say, Kershaw owns the Diamondbacks this year. For a guy who is eager to shed his past playoff demons, that could make for a great first start in this series.
There isn’t a lack of reason to doubt Kershaw for a second, however. J.D. Martinez destroys left-handed pitchers and has led a revival in AZ, with the D’Backs collectively ranking 7th in home runs when facing lefties.
That creates a small amount of doubt and Kershaw’s past playoff failures demand a cursory glance at Arizona at a nice +230 price. Still, Kershaw has owned this lineup this year and has also been pretty great (9-2, 2.58 ERA) at home.
Flaws aren’t easy to find in this L.A. armor, but they’re not taking on a pushover arm tonight. Taijuan Walker isn’t on Kershaw’s level, but he’s certainly no scrub after posting a solid 3.49 ERA to go with a 9-9 record in 2017.
Walker has been visibly better (6-5, 2.92 ERA) outside of the volatile Chase Field, but he’s delivered mixed results against a talented Dodgers offense. His overall numbers there are still strong, as the 25-year old hurler went 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA against this lineup.
On paper, this is still a good matchup for L.A., however. The Dodgers tend to play their best ball at Dodger Stadium and while they surprisingly rake lefties, they can do plenty of damage against right-handed pitching, as well.
Ultimately, this is all about the pitching and home-field advantage. Walker could keep the D’Backs in this, but of the two sides, he’s far more likely to give up a few runs. I don’t expect a lot of scoring (which puts the Total of 7 firmly in play), but the best bet looks to be taking the Dodgers by two runs.
Division games – especially ones in the playoffs – could call for tight scores, but we love the Dodgers here. I think they can hit their -1.5 Run Line and get us some value at -125.