Back Home Team in Angels vs. Dodgers Series Opener

Willie Bee

Monday, August 4, 2014 11:47 AM GMT

Monday, Aug. 4, 2014 11:47 AM GMT

One owns the top NL record, the other has the 2nd-best AL mark and SBR will follow the potential World Series preview between the Angels and Dodgers with free picks and previews.

Current MLB futures odds point to the very real possibility of a Freeway Series between the Dodgers and Angels this October. The Dodgers top all Senior Circuit clubs at +125 to win their 23rd NL pennant, while the Angels are +450 in the American League behind the Tigers (+150) and Athletics (+175).

If that eventually happens, we'll have a dandy preview of the World Series to look back upon with the clubs meeting for four games this week.  The first two take place in LA beginning Monday (10:10 PM ET) before the interleague rivalry moves south along I-5 for the final two matchups in Anaheim.

Even if the Halos and Bums don't square off in the Fall Classic, the next four days will at least provide some quality pitching in the home-&-home set. Monday's lid-lifter at Chavez Ravine could turn out to be the best duel of them all with Garrett Richards on tap for the Angels opposite Zack Greinke of the Dodgers.

Los Angeles opened around -120 on the moneyline, and those MLB odds have inched up around -125 at most outlets. The duel between Richards and Greinke is drawing a 6.5 run total.

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'Under' Has Been Trend For Series At Dodger Stadium
The Angels (66-44, +14.1 units, 56-49-5 O/U/P) spent last week along the East Coast in Baltimore and Tampa Bay, splitting that portion of their road trip 3-3 thanks to 7-5 win over the Rays on Monday. The Dodgers (63-49, +0.5 unit, 52-54-6 O/U/P), meanwhile, dropped two of three this past weekend to the Cubs, and while they sit on top of the National League right now, they have to be getting a little concerned about a couple of their starting pitchers, Dan Haren and Josh Beckett.

It's the AL half of this competition that has fared best since interleague play began in 1997. The clubs have met at least four times every season since, the Angels winning 56 of the 96 clashes and having not lost a season series since 2006.

Level results were produced in the four games played a year ago, each team winning two on their home diamond. The totals also split at Dodger Stadium where 'under' bettors have cashed winning tickets six of the last seven get-togethers.

 

Richards In Bit Of Post-ASG Rut
Following an outstanding first half when he went 11-2 with a 2.55 ERA, Richards has yet to taste victory since the all-star break. Richards hasn't pitched that bad in the three starts (21 IP, 9 ER), but the Angels lost them all as modest favorites to stand 15-7 (+6.5 units) with the former Sooner star on the hill.

His experience in this rivalry has been halved between the bullpen and starting rotation, two appearances in each role and no decisions to show for his work. Both of the relief outings came last season, a scoreless inning both times.

Greinke has been solid in back-to-back assignments, the most recent this past Wednesday against the Braves who he held to one run in eight frames. He was in line for the win before Atlanta tied things up in the ninth before the Dodgers pulled it out in 10. Greinke faced his former team last year after moving north from Anaheim to Los Angeles, and the Angels got to him for six runs (4 earned) in four innings, Dodgers hitters taking him off the hook with a rally for an 8-7 victory.

There isn't any rain in the mix the next few days, and Monday's forecast calls for cloudy skies to clear in LA before the 7 o'clock local time start when the thermometer should be around 75ºF. Hitters could get a bit of a boost with an 8-10 mph SW breeze (out to right).

The Dodgers are about to begin a very tough stretch on the slate with these four against the Angels followed by three in Milwaukee, four in Atlanta and three more back home against the Brewers. It doesn't help that Yasiel Puig (hamstring) and Adrian Gonzalez (knee) are a bit banged up, but I do like their chances to rebound from the series loss to Chicago with a victory in the opener of this set. Let's back the home team for our free pick in Game 1.

MLB Pick: Dodgers -125

Season: 96-97 (-1.60)

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