Free MLB Picks: Can Dodgers Contain Giants & Cain Tonight?

Doug Upstone

Friday, April 8, 2016 2:36 PM GMT

The first battle between hated rivals the Dodgers and Giants had all the elements of a great game except it ultimately being close. For those into MLB betting, today brings a far different challenge.

As if Los Angeles did not know, San Francisco's offense is not the same as San Diego's, as the Giants scored a dozen run in eight innings, which was 12 more than the Padres put up in three days. L.A. took early 3-0 lead, San Fran stormed back with seven unanswered, but the Dodgers close the gap to 7-6 before Hunter Pence hit grand slam in the bottom of eight, as Bruce Boche's guys hung a five-spot in putting them away 12-6.

Veteran Matt Cain starts for the Giants against rookie Ross Stripling and if you are making MLB picks, can either pitcher slow these explosive offenses?

 

Pitching Matchup - Stripling vs. Cain
Stripling is 26 years old and spent a year and half of the last two years recovering from Tommy John surgery. At Double-A last year, after four starts to feel his way around, the right-hander allowed just 17 runs in final nine starts. This spring he showed enough to beat out veterans Carlos Frias and Zach Lee for the fifth spot in the rotation. Stripling does not have overwhelming stuff, but if throws strikes on both sides of the plate and limits walks, he could stay in this role all year for L.A.

Once thought to be an indestructible workhorse, at 31, Matt Cain is trying to hang on as major league pitcher. Suffering from various aliments, Cain is 4-11 with a 4.74 ERA the past two seasons over 26 starts. Last year's strained flexor tendon can be particular vexing because it lingering effects can sap pitchers ability to command pitches even after the pain subsides. Cain still throws over 90 MPH on his fastball, but the ability to land it go where he wants has diminished. If he cannot spot fastball, hitter's sit on his breaking pitches and punish him.

 

Offensive Overlook
Both offenses have been sensational early, with the Dodgers checking in at 7.7 runs a game and San Francisco at 7.2 RPG. Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez are hitting .500 or better and four other starters are batting over .300. This Los Angeles offense is so hot at the moment even Carl Crawford is at .273, until he pulls a hamstring for the 100th time. With Cain supporting a 5.27 ERA in past five starts against Dodger blue (this before all the injuries), the visitor could feast on laboring hurler.

How good is the Giants offense right now. Consider every starter is hitting anywhere from .278 to .357. That is eight players falling into this range and while we are only four games deep into the season, this means nobody on Boche's club has started in a slump which is rather remarkable. Speculation is Buster Posey will not catch today and no official word if he is out all together or might play first base. Facing a pitcher for the first time is always a little unsettling, but these veterans can make quick adjustments.

 

Betting Odds and History
The MLB odds opened with San Francisco as a -120 favorite and given how the offenses are swinging the bats, no surprise the total was lifted from 8 to 8.5. The Giants have gotten in the heads of the Dodgers a little in winning nine of 11 at AT&T Park, often in dramatic fashion like yesterday. Though the UNDER is 12-6-2 the last three seasons at this park, Cain was 8-1 OVER last year and there is little evidence that will not continue.

 

Game Outcome
With Stripling as the starter for Los Angeles, about the only aspect we can be sure of even if he is effective, he's likely to go only five or six innings. Cain's club has lost 19 of his 30 starts versus their chief rival and given how he thrown the last two years and having deplorable spring (7.71 ERA), the main reason he is even being given a chance to start is San Fran is still on the hook for 50 million with him.

This is not an easy selection and my head says take the visitor, but the Giants know they can beat L.A. at home, are 15-3 after a win by six runs or more and with the contest expected to come down to bullpens, have to lean with the home team. Check out today's MLB picks and see who the top two value picks are.

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MLB Pick:  San Francisco -114
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker