Dodgers at Giants – Free Pick September 9th

Los Angeles Dodgers -158 at San Francisco Giants +150 (Total: 7)

Clayton Kershaw vs. Barry Zito

The National League West stands at just a two game differential heading into tonight, and you better believe the Dodgers know that if they don’t make up a game tonight with their ace and reigning Cy Young winner on the mound, they might just be the most expensive team watching the playoffs on television.

The Giants will counter with Barry Zito.  The $117 million dollar lefty’s troubles have been more than well chronicled over the last four years, but his 2012 season, if you ignore the payroll stat, hasn’t been too bad.  He is 10-8 with a 4.51 ERA.  His team is 16-11 in games in which he has started, meaning that more often than not he has given his team a chance to win the ballgame.  That’s a pretty good record out of a number five starter (yes, I know, he isn’t paid like a #5 starter… it’s not our money though, right?)

An interesting stat for you – the Dodgers are 18-11 in games in which Clayton Kershaw has started; nearly the same record as the Giants with Zito…

Let me give you some more Barry Zito anomalies.  The Giants are 6-1 in his last seven starts as a +110 to +150 favorite.  They are 5-1 in his last six starts against a starting pitcher with a winning record, and are 6-0 in his last six starts overall.

That said, he isn’t just facing a guy “with a winning record” tonight, he is facing Clayton Kershaw.  The Dodgers have some pretty impressive stats of their own with their ace hurling heat.  They are 19-7 in Kershaw’s last 26 appearances as a favorite between -150 and -200.  That means the inflated lines are usually very justified.

My overall take?  The price is a little too steep to take Kershaw and the Dodgers, but the odds just seem a little long that Zito actually beats him head-up.  I’d personally stay away from picking a winner tonight, as the value just isn’t there.

There IS value in tonight’s over/under however.  The UNDER is 4-0-1 in the Dodgers last five games with the total between 7 and 8.  The UNDER is 5-1 in the Giants last six games as the underdog, and a perfect 4-0 UNDER in Zito’s last four starts as a home underdog between +110 and  +150.  That means Zito has held up his end of the bargain.  And I’m pretty sure the Kershaw will.

I like the UNDER 7 in tonight’s crucial NL West battle (8pm on ESPN, as you flip back and forth from Peyton’s Bronco debut….)

Free Pick:   Run TOTAL UNDER 7 (-110)