Los Angeles Dodgers +145 at Arizona Diamondbacks -155 (Total: 8.5)
Chad Billingsly (4-8, 4.20 ERA) vs. Trevor Cahill (6-7, 3.63 ERA)
To say the Dodgers have had a rough month would be a bit of an understatement. They plummeted from the best record in baseball to second place in their own division in the span of about three weeks. They went a stunning four games without scoring a single run, including an entire series against division rival San Francisco.
And despite it all, they are back in first place, a half-game lead over the Giants, and have the second best record in the National League again. The best news for Dodger fans is that Matt Kemp will be back soon…
They are enormous underdogs tonight in Arizona, but I think that merely provides an opportunity to snap up a nice value play, rather than being a true indication of a game they are unlikely to win. Granted Billingsly has been dreadful of late, posting a giant 6.35 ERA and 0-3 record in his last three outings, but opposing pitcher Trevor Cahill has posted an IDENTICAL 6.35 ERA over his last three starts as well. So the starting pitching matchup, while certainly not a glamorous one, seems to be a push.
The Dodgers have not exactly exploded offensively but they have been consistently scoring some runs since their record-setting drought a week ago. They have scratched across at least two runs in every game since and have averaged close to four runs per contest over the past week. They should have some opportunities to improve on that number tonight against the struggling Cahill.
And while the Dodgers have garnered the attention for their sputtering play, they actually have a better record over their last ten games (4-6) than do the Diamondbacks (3-7). It all adds up to a rather surprising line to see the Dodgers at +145.
The head-to-head matchup has been very even in 2012, the Dodgers holding a slight 4-3 edge, while Arizona holds a slight 31-29 advantage in run differential. I expect a pretty good game tonight, and would not be opposed to wagering on the OVER 8.5 run total. This feels like a 6-5 type ballgame, especially given the recent struggles of both starting pitchers. However, I think the best value play tonight is backing the Dodgers and nearly one and half money. It’s a pretty favorable line for a game that is more of a pick em’ than one team meriting heavy favorite status. Give me the Dodgers to get a nice win on the road and hold their first place edge (tenuously) as they skid into the All-Star Break.
Free Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers to WIN +145