NLDS Game 1: Diamondbacks Heavy Underdogs, but Optimistic Against Dodgers

Who: Arizona Diamondbacks v. Los Angeles Dodgers

When: Friday October 6th, 2017 10:30PM EST

Where: Dodger Stadium—Los Angeles, California

The Diamondbacks and Dodgers are not so unfamiliar with one another after this regular season. After all, the two sides faced off with one another a whopping 19 times. While the Dodgers were, statistically, the best team in the MLB regular season, almost 20% of their losses came at the hands of Arizona. The reason for this is due to the fact that in those aforementioned 19 games, 11 of them were won by the Diamondbacks. This statistic is interesting because the Dodgers lost the fewest games of any team, and of their 58 losses, 11 of them came at the hands of one team.

Despite that regular season series record, the fact of the matter is that the Dodgers were always going to win the NL West. They possessed a commanding lead straight from the opening of the season and never looked back. When the dust settled, the Dodgers finished the season with 104 wins and were more than 10 games ahead of the nearest team in the division, which just so happened to be this very Diamondbacks team.

What is going to be the most persistent theme in this matchup is that of the Dodgers’ pitching staff facing off against a Diamondbacks lineup that has been able to score on just about anyone and everyone. Most people are tilting the edge to the Dodgers’ pitching staff, but I suppose that is why they play the games.

Being that this is the first game in an NLDS, BetOnline is offering moneyline odds on which team will win the series and advance. Arizona (+226), despite having won a majority of the regular season matchups, is coming into this series not expected to survive. The Dodgers (-266), on the other hand, are fully expected to win and advance. If you are thinking about placing a wager on this one, I think you have to go with the Dodgers. I think the Dodgers’ pitchers are experienced and talented enough to see their way through this series. Both teams have great offenses, but I think it will be the pitching staff that is the difference in this one, and for that reason I am going with the Dodgers (-266).

Game Overview and Analysis

When these two teams take the field, the Dodgers (-260) will do so as clear-cut favorites in both the series and the series opener. A major part of the reason behind this is due to the fact that Clayton Kershaw (18-4 2.31 ERA) will be making the start. Kershaw has gone 6-2 through the months of August and September, but more importantly, he has won his only two starts against the Diamondbacks this season. Even more impressive still is that Kershaw ended up giving up only 1 earned run combined in those two starts. It really does not get much better than that, and it is clear to see why Kershaw is getting the start.

As for the Dodgers’ offense, it has been moving along just smoothly all season long, with one very large exception. Despite their extremely long losing streak shortly after the All-Star Break, the Dodgers have been able to blow the barn doors off of just about everyone they have faced, except for the Diamondbacks. I think the Dodgers will fare fine on the offensive side of the ball, but will play even better on the defensive side of things.

The Diamondbacks (+237) are hefty underdogs, and they will be sending Taijuan Walker (9-9 3.49 ERA) to the mound for the series start. Compared to Kershaw, Walker’s record is not very impressive at all. While that is a fact, Walker has faced the Dodgers 3 times this season and has had success each and every time out. He has a 2-0 record against the team with 1 no-decision, a game in which he gave up 4 earned. It seems as though the Diamondbacks are gambling on this pitcher’s success, and it will be interesting to see if it pays off or not.

Betting Prediction

When it comes to a moneyline bet, I think you have to go with the Dodgers (-260) in the series opener. They may have lost more games than they won against the Diamondbacks in the regular season, but I think Clayton Kershaw will shut this D-Backs offense down.

The Dodgers are -1.5 (-120) favorites on the point spread, and I also think this is an intelligent bet to place. Once again, I do not think Kershaw is going to give up much in the way of runs, and so long as the Dodgers’ offense can get a few past Walker, I think this spread will be covered without too much trouble.

The over/under listed by BetOnline sits at an even 7 runs (-128/+108), and I think the smart wager is one the over (-128). I think the Dodgers are going to hit Walker all over the park.