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Diamondbacks at Dodgers NL Division Series Predictions
Before getting too swept away with the Dodgers, let's remember that they will be facing a scrappy Arizona club who has some bona fide stars in its lineup. This is still Major League Baseball where anything can happen in a short series. The D-backs have beaten the Dodgers in 11 of 19 games this year, including the last six contests.
Now that we've grounded ourselves with a little logic, the Dodgers have a lot going for them in this series - namely, home field advantage and avoiding D-backs ace Zack Greinke who threw in Wednesday night's Wild Card win over Colorado.
Arizona (+220) @ Los Angeles (-270) O/U: 7
This may be a gross oversimplication of this series and the Dodgers post season chances, but the boys in blue may only go as far as Clayton Kershaw's golden left arm is willing to take them.
A three-time Cy Young Award winner, Kershaw is an astounding 118-41 with a 2.08 ERA over the last six years, but just 4-6 with a 4.28 ERA in the playoffs. Put another way, a big part of the Dodgers success is due to Kershaw, but so too is he a big part of their playoff mediocrity.
Kershaw will get the ball in Game 1 and comes off a poor start September 30 where the ace allowed three runs and seven hits in just four innings in an otherwise meaningless regular season outing against Colorado.
Arizona will counter Kershaw with 25 year-old righty Taijuan Walker (9-9, 3.49) who has been solid in 16.2 innings of work this year against the Dodgers surrendering six earned runs.
If Taijuan Walker can manage to dance around a Dodgers lineup that includes Cody Bellinger (.267/39 HR) and Justin Turner (.322), and Kershaw reverts to his subpar post season form, Game 1 and the rest of the series could get very interesting.
Predictions: Take OVER 7 Runs in Game 1
I'm going to hold off on predicting LA's demise in this series, but I just can't find enough betting value or confidence to back them in this spot. I also can't pull the trigger on Arizona to spring the upset, as they may well be dominated in this series.
The Game 1 posted total of 7 runs seems like the most interesting play here. The low number is out of respect for Clayton Kershaw, but his last start and post season struggles are enough to make me think the D-backs will find some modicum of success. It seems a given that the Dodgers will scratch some runs against Walker and if the floodgates open early (a distinct possibility), then LA could cover this number by themselves. Overall, this is a sound and logical play that I will back with enthusiasm.
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