MLB Over/Under Bet: Can Kershaw exorcise playoff demons?

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NLDS Game 2

Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers

Over/Under: 7.5

First pitch: 6:37 p.m. PT

TV: TBS

Probable pitchers: Stephen Strasburg (18-6, 3.32 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (16-5, 3.03 ERA)

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Everybody is aware of Kershaw’s track record in the postseason. Kershaw, obviously, is very aware of it, seeing as that’s what many people point to when discussing his legacy that will easily wind up in Cooperstown one day.

And I’m here to assure you that Kershaw is indeed going to improve upon those uncharacteristic lifetime numbers he holds in the postseason (9-10, 4.32 ERA), which aren’t even horrible to begin with considering he’s facing the best teams in the league. It’s also not emphasized enough how much bad luck Kershaw has dealt with in his playoff assignments.

Not only that, Kershaw already has displayed improvement upon earlier postseasons. In the last two Octobers, he posted a 4.00 ERA on the dot across 63 total innings, and only twice in his 10 starts during this span did he yield more than four earned runs. Additionally, Kershaw pitched Los Angeles into the seventh inning or deeper in seven of those outings.

Most importantly, Kershaw looks like he’s in his usual groove after dominating in his final start of the regular season (an under bet we won last Thursday). Despite whispers of a potential decline for the future Hall-of-Famer, Kershaw went out and crafted one of his usual terrific campaigns.

He figures to continue that momentum into the postseason, and the Dodgers winning Game 1 also helps, as that figures to ease the pressure at least a little bit (if that was even a factor for him previously).

Strasburg is certainly coming into this with a ton of confidence. Not only did the former No. 1 overall draft pick just put the finishing touches on arguably his finest season to date, he also played a starring role in Washington’s come-from-behind wild Wild Card victory, taking the ball from Max Scherzer and delivering three dominant scoreless innings in which he struck out four and scattered only two baserunners, even getting the victory.

While the Dodgers boast the National League’s most explosive offense, it’s one Strasburg has generally fared well against. In 11 career meetings opposite LA, the right-hander has a 2.54 ERA and 0.92 WHIP, including two dates with the Dodgers this season that saw Strasburg yield only three runs in 13 innings while registering an impressive 16-2 K/BB ratio.

Of note, most Dodger hitters have struggled when dealing with Strasburg. Specifically, Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, Max Muncy, Joc Pederson and Chris Taylor are staggeringly a combined 5-for-64 (.078!) off the 10-year veteran.

This is a bet you should put in right away, with there only being potential it shrinks a half-run. Strong pitching matchups at Dodger Stadium like this one would typically draw an over/under of 6.5 not that long ago, so don’t expect it to last where it’s at right now. Play: UNDER 7.5 (-110)

Yesterday’s Result: Cardinals-Braves Over 9 (WIN)

2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*:

Regular Season: 89-78-12, +1.05 units

Playoffs: 3-0, +1.5 units

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit (playoffs 0.5 unit)

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