Two storied franchises each facing their own problems square off this weekend in Queens when the New York Mets host the Los Angeles Dodgers for three games. The Mets walked away with four wins out of the seven meeting between these two teams last season, and they look to have a slight edge over the cross-country competition once again this year.

New York's ownership is embroiled in the Bernie Madoff scandal while the Dodgers were taken over by MLB recently with the sordid Frank and Jamie McCourt divorce possibly child's play compared what could wind up in the courts between Frank and Bud Selig. 

Either or both situations could become a bigger black eye for baseball than steroids and the 1919 Chicago Black Sox combined. It would at least be more detrimental to the game's bottom line to see a club in a big market like the Big Apple or LA become a money pit. 

None of that should affect MLB betting on the series

The Los Angeles Dodgers had Thursday off following a 2-4 homestand that ended Wednesday with a 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Cubs.  A 15-17 record has LA backers down 4.0 units with the OVER 17-12-3. 

The New York Mets hosted the Giants in a Thursday matinee, and their 5-2 win keeping New York from being swept by the Giants.  A 13-18 mark has the Mets down 4.9 units but a profitable 19-11-1 to the high side of MLB totals. 

New York took four of the seven played between the two clubs a season ago, including sweeping three at home in a rain-drenched April series.  Two of the three at Citi Field went OVER. 

Game 1 - Friday 7:10 PM (ET) 

Jonathan NieseMLB odds for the series opener placed light -115 chalk on the Mets with 7.5 for the total, pricing the UNDER -125 to start the bidding. 

Jonathon Niese (1-4, 4.71) gets the nod for the favored Mets, the lefthander off three consecutive quality starts.  Friday's assignment will be his first career appearance against the Dodgers, a circumstance that so often favors the pitcher. LA, however, is a pretty fair 6-2 vs. southpaws in 2011 with Matt Kemp hitting a robust .423 (11-for-26) off lefties. 

Hiroki Kuroda (3-2, 3.10) gets the ball for LA with the righthander also streaking with three quality starts and five of six in that column on the season.  He's done some of his best work on the road, winning both assignments away from Dodger Stadium. 

Betting the Dodgers right now means betting on backups.  The 1st-string left side of their infield, Rafael Furcal and Casey Blake, are both on the DL along with reserve outfielder Marcus Thames who would probably start this game since he chews up lefthanders. 

Add closer Jonathan Broxton having an MRI on his pitching elbow this week and starting outfielder Andre Ethier with a gimpy wing and missing some time this past week. 

Game 2 - Saturday 7:10 PM 

Jon GarlandIf you look just at the stats of the two starting pitchers, Jon Garland (1-2, 3.81) for LA and New York's Chris Young (1-0, 1.88), this is the best overall pitching matchup.  Still, why is it so easy to imagine a good old-fashioned plate crossing breaking out? 

The Dodgers are just 1-3 in Garland's four starts and the righthander has pitched pretty well in three starts since his debut (2.45 ERA). 

New York is 3-1 in Young's four starts, the only loss was a game the Mets should've won at home vs. the Nats.  Young quieted the Phillies' sticks twice already and it's not like the Dodgers have a scary offense averaging 3.7 RPG, fourth from the bottom in the NL.  He's also very familiar with facing the Dodgers from his San Diego days, though it's been nearly two years since he last saw them. 

New York hopes he has a different strategy for pitching to Ethier who has 6 HR and a .414 average in 29 at bats against Young. 

Game 3 - Sunday 1:10 PM 

Clayton KershawClayton Kershaw (3-3, 3.38) has been in one of those on-off ruts this season, two of the off-games among his three on the road.  In his four starts LA has won, the lefthander has a 1.53 ERA and 27 K's in his 29.1 IP; the three losses find Kershaw with a 6.75 ERA and 26 baserunners allowed in 16 frames. 

If he sticks with his schedule, he's due for a tough outing after hurling seven on Tuesday at home in a 5-2 win over the Cubs.  Then again, the Dodgers are 3-0 in his three career starts vs. the Mets.

The knuckler R.A. Dickey (1-3, 4.62) has struggled to find any consistency from start to start, not baffling since he relies on the most inconsistent pitch in the world.  He's been awful at Citi Field this season, 0-3 in four starts with a 6.39 ERA after being a favorite in Queens last year (7-3, 1.99, 11 starts).

My crystal ball says the Dodgers will help him turn his '11 home numbers around this Sunday.