The Dodgers and Rockies open a four-game series in Colorado on Thursday night. Here’s a complete preview, including updated odds and our betting pick.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies
Thursday, September 17, 2020 – 08:40 PM EDT at Coors Field
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Time to bring in the quants. Comparing the following projections to the MLB odds will help us make the right choice:
FiveThirtyEight: Dodgers 62 percent
Equivalent Odds (using SBR's Odds Converter): -163
The Dodgers opened as -159 favorites, but over at FiveThirtyEight, they already have them at -163 based on our calculations. There’s a small gap between the projections and the actual MLB odds.
A difference like this is usually not enough for us to not recommend opening up your wallet and/or purse and splashing some money around on the favorite. So what will it be, Human or Machine?
Julio Urias vs. Kyle Freeland
Julio Urias (3-0, 3.53 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)
Julio Urias finally put it all together and earned a permanent spot in the starting rotation. Urias was dominant against the Astros last Saturday, allowing just one earned run on three hits with three strikeouts and four walks over six innings to get a no-decision in a 7-5 loss. The left-hander is 0-1 with a 6.28 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP in nine career appearances (six starts) against the Rockies. He does have 30 strikeouts over 28 2/3 innings of work in those games.
The current Rockies roster is hitting .247 against Urias. Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado hit Urias well. Blackmon is 4-for-10 with a double and a triple and Arenado is 6-for-11 with three doubles, one triple and four RBIs.
Kyle Freeland (2-1, 3.54 ERA, 1.32 WHIP)
Kyle Freeland has regressed a bit over his last four starts. After posting a 1.50 ERA across 12 innings of work in his first two appearances, Freeland now has a 3.54 ERA.
The left-hander had some trouble against the Dodgers this season, allowing three earned runs on four hits (one home run) with six strikeouts and three walks over six innings to get a no-decision in a 4-3 loss on August 22nd. Freeland pitched well on Saturday, giving up just two earned runs on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks over six innings to get a no-decision in a 5-2 loss against the Angels.
Overall, he is 2-4 with a 4.29 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP in 11 career starts against the Dodgers. Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Joc Pederson and Corey Seager all hit Freeland well. Turner is 12-for-26 with two doubles, one triple and two RBIs against him and Seager is 7-for-13 with one double and one RBI.
I cashed with the Rockies in Urias' last start against them on September 6th. That night he gave up four earned runs on five hits (one home run) with six strikeouts and two walks over just 4 1/3 innings to get a no-decision in a 7-6 loss.
Charlie Blackmon is hitting over .340 at home but the Rockies need Nolan Arenado (84 Weighted Runs Created Plus) to get going. A Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) of 100 is league average. Arenado's 84 would be 16 percent below league average. This means that Arenado created 16 percent fewer runs than a league average hitter would have in the same number of plate appearances.
The player to watch for the Dodgers is Mookie Betts (161 Weighted Runs Created Plus). Betts is 8-for-16 with three home runs and six RBIs against the Rockies this season. The projected Dodgers lineup has six batters with a Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) above .340 and five batters with Isolated Power (ISO) above .185. The Rockies, on the other hand, could have five batters with a Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) above .340 and five batters with Isolated Power (ISO) above .185.
As far as MLB picks for this game, I don't like to bet totals at Coors Field but I will make an exception on Thursday. Both pitchers have struggled against their respective opponents and they're facing two powerful lineups but this is a very high total. All signs point towards the Over but I'll make a small bet on the Under.