The San Francisco Giants were an upstart underdog to begin the 2020 MLB season, but have dropped five of six entering Saturday's NL West showdown with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
After defeating the G-Men 7-2 on Friday, the Blue Crew extended their winning streak to three and improved to 8-2 over their last 10 games.
Continue reading for abe Insights' betting preview, in order to find out more about this matchup through wagers analysis, advanced statistics and the best odds available among all major sportsbooks.
Date: Saturday, August 8
Time: 9:10 p.m. ET
TV: MLB Network
Implied Probabilities: Giants 29%; Dodgers 61%
Spread: SF +1.5 (+125); LAD -1.5 (-128)
Moneyline: SF +265; LAD -286
Los Angeles shortstop Corey Seager is day-to-day with a back injury and won't play Saturday, per SportsNet LA's Alanna Rizzo. In lieu of any other major injuries that pertain to this game, Opening Day Giants starter Johnny Cueto will get the ball against — uh-oh — none other than Clayton Kershaw.
The longtime Dodgers ace missed his initial meeting with Cueto as L.A. was being cautious with him. Now, Kershaw is healthy and ready to rock after debuting the year with 5.2 innings of three-hit, shutout ball against Arizona last weekend.
123 vs. 105: While the Giants (that second number) rank tied 11th in Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) L.A. leads all of baseball in this advanced stat. Their 123 total means the Dodgers collectively produce about 23% more offense than the league average.
5.05 vs. 3.72: San Francisco has an MLB-worst total in Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP), and its ranking only marginally improves (fourth-worst) when isolating the stat on relievers. Meanwhile, L.A. boasts a top-five xFIP total, which is the 3.72 figure.
.298 vs. .262: Where the visitors do have an advantage is in batting average on balls in play. The G's are seventh in MLB, but part of the reason the Dodgers are so efficient despite ranking 21st here is their immense power.
In 49 career appearances (47 starts) versus San Francisco, Kershaw owns a 23-12 record with a ridiculous 1.74 ERA. Bear in mind, this is during a time in which the Giants, yes, had some bad teams, but also won three World Series titles. His 342.1 innings pitched are the most against a single opponent.
A nice stat bonus there, and quite a sample size to work from. All indications are the southpaw Kershaw will have his way with the Giants yet again, especially after his sparkling maiden outing of 2020.
When Cueto last faced this Dodgers lineup, he held them in check, yielding only one run in 4.1 innings. It was actually close, until L.A. erupted for a five-run seventh and tacked on two in the eighth for good measure en route to an 8-1 romp. Hopefully San Francisco's starter can draw on those prior good vibes to cool these Dodgers off.
Seager's absence certainly helps the Giants' upset bid, as he's led L.A. in batting average thus far. San Francisco's leading hitter Donovan Solano is an incredible 21-for-47 at the plate thus far, good for an MLB-best .447 average. If Solano can keep his tear going and the rest of the batters follow, perhaps the road team can find a spark against Kershaw.
The lower run total reflects what it should with Kershaw on the mound, as he's always a threat to go the distance for a shutout. It's possible the Dodgers could give ground to a rather deep Giants batting order once Kershaw exits, but San Francisco's pitching overall has been suspect. Considering all these factors, wagers should favor the Over.
Unless you're parlaying this contest with other bets, it's not even worth going for Los Angeles' moneyline. Thus, expect more of a handle to be had on the San Francisco moneyline. That's a good move purely for the high-end payout, or to hedge with the Dodgers' spread.
Note: Odds current as of 11:45 a.m. ET on Saturday, August 8.
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