Simple baseball plan, bet on Dodgers
May 22, 2018 3:00 AM
by Andy Iskoe
VIP The 3-2 Pitch | As the weather warms up and the threat of rainouts decreases to more historic levels we can expect turnaround from many, but not all, of the slow starting teams and players. One candidate that comes first to mind is the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Within the next week the baseball season will reach its first milepost, Memorial Day, with most teams having played about a third of their schedules (54 games).
The great number of early season postponements has led to inconsistent and choppy play as those affected teams have found it hard to establish the rhythm that comes from day to day play with an occasional day off. We’ve seen many teams off to surprisingly sluggish starts with several big name players and pitchers performing at well below established levels.
As the weather warms up and the threat of rainouts decreases to more historic levels we can expect turnaround from many, but not all, of the slow starting teams and players.
One candidate that comes first to mind is the LA Dodgers, winners of 104 regular season games last season before losing in Game 7 in the World Series. Prior to last Thursday’s series-ending game in Miami the Dodgers were a woeful 16-26 and on a pace to lose 100.
LA had been plagued by injuries, including the loss of ace Clayton Kershaw who remains on the DL. Justin Turner, one of the Dodgers’ most productive hitters the past few seasons, had just made his season debut two nights earlier. His bat had been greatly missed and the return seemed to give that offense a much needed jolt.
The Dodgers shut out Miami last Thursday and then swept a three game series in Washington to enter this week on a four game winning streak, tied for their longest this season. It was around this time last season the Dodgers began their historical run of 43 wins in 50 games. That stretch began on June 7 and lasted through Aug. 5.
With Arizona in a prolonged slump, losing 10 of its last 11, the Dodgers are just five games out of first place in the NL West. It’s unlikely they can come close to repeating that 43-7 run but with still more than 100 games to play there is plenty of time to move up in the standings and make the Playoffs.
After opening as 5-1 favorites to win the World Series, the Dodgers are now 14-1. And after opening as 9-4 favorites to win the NL pennant they are now 7-1. This might be the time to make such a play as a month from now it would not be a surprise if the Dodgers are atop the NL West even with the injuries that have befallen them.
Here are thoughts on three weekend series.
St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates: Pittsburgh’s best starter has been Trevor Williams whose 10 starts have produced a 3.05 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, by far the best numbers among the pitchers who have made at least five starts. With ace Carlos Martinez on the DL the Cardinals’ best starters have been Miles Mikolas and Jack Flaherty, who have made eight and four starts respectively. Pittsburgh’s offense has been about a half run per game more productive than St. Louis’.
Despite both team being six games above .500 both have been only marginally profitable at the betting windows this season, with Pittsburgh up 3.5 net units and the Cardinals up 1.3.
Pittsburgh can be playable at -125 or less in a start by Williams. St. Louis can be played as underdogs in starts by Flaherty or Mikolas not facing Williams. Pittsburgh has been an OVER team this season while St. Louis has been more prone to UNDER. Thus, in starts involving Williams, Mikolas or Flaherty look UNDER 8 or higher otherwise look OVER 8 or lower.