No matter whom the L.A. Dodgers send to the mound, they look like a viable MLB pick for Thursday’s game against the San Francisco Giants.
San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Thursday, May 27, 2021 – 10:10 PM EDT at Dodger Stadium
It’s always nice to get your MLB picks in as early as possible, so you can take advantage of those softer lines before the market adjusts. But what do you do when neither team involved has named their starting pitcher? The Los Angeles Dodgers might be cooking up another “bullpen” start for Thursday’s game against the San Francisco Giants, who may or may not be starting Alex Wood; he’s not listed on the MLB website at press time, but Wood has already been penciled in here at Sportsbook Review and elsewhere.
Chances are you’ll have all the information you need by the time you read this, but for now, we don’t have any MLB lines from our preferred online sportsbooks. The Dodgers have opened as –167 favorites overseas, however, with a total of seven runs. We correctly chose the Under last week when Los Angeles used their bullpen to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 (Under 8). Should we give it another spin this week?
xFIP: First Class
It helps when you’ve got a guy like David Price (4.82 FIP) in your bullpen. He was the opener last Thursday, setting the table with two shutout innings, and he hasn’t pitched since. This would actually be Price’s career-worst FIP if nothing changes, but his 2.99 xFIP (the “x” means “eXpected”) would be his best since 2015, which was also the last time Price made the All-Star Game. Small sample size alert (13.2 innings) in either case.
We can’t say for sure right now what the plan is, so before we go much further, let’s look at the projections at FiveThirtyEight, where they’re assuming a generic starter for L.A. and Wood (2.93 FIP) for San Fran. Nate Silver’s crew have the Dodgers winning this game 67 percent of the time, or –203 for an equivalent “fair” moneyline with no vig attached (as per the wonderful SBR Odds Converter). That would obviously make –167 a pretty sweet deal should the MLB odds come out that way.
If he does pitch Thursday, we’ve already gotten a taste of what Wood’s capable of in this situation. He got the start last Friday against Trevor Bauer and went six strong innings, giving up two runs; unfortunately for Giants fans, those were the only runs L.A. needed in their 2-1 victory (Under 7). Wood now has the Under at 4-3 this year, giving up two runs or fewer in each of his seven starts. Imagine how well the Under would have performed if San Francisco didn’t have the league’s worst bullpen according to WAR (minus-0.8 at FanGraphs).
Weather-wise, we’re looking at another clear evening over Chavez Ravine with temperatures in the mid-60s, zero precipitation, not much wind, and fairly low barometric pressure. That doesn’t really help us with the Under, so we’re going to put out an early lean towards the Dodgers here at the ranch, hoping those overseas odds stay where they are. Bet accordingly once you get all the missing information, and may the sphere be with you.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.