High MLB Odds Makes Dodgers Run-Line the Best Bet Against Pirates

David Lawrence

Saturday, September 19, 2015 4:59 PM GMT

The Pirates have had a terrible week. Now they have to go West for a late-season road trip. Do they have the right starting pitcher who can combat one of LA's’ main weapons? We’ll see below.

Momentum
The Dodgers are just kind of drifting along, not allowing the San Francisco Giants to get any closer than seven games in the National League West, but they’re not really pulling away to a greater distance, either. The Dodgers are basically doing what they have to, and no more. That’s fine for the team and its needs – as long as the Giants aren’t making a push, Los Angeles should feel that it can rest players it needs to rest and play players it needs to play.

The real story here in terms of momentum is Pittsburgh. The Pirates began Tuesday evening’s game with the Chicago Cubs only two games out of first place in the National League Central. The division-leading St. Louis Cardinals had lost eight of 10 games and had brought the Pirates back into the picture. Pittsburgh had three games at home against the Chicago Cubs, following a home win versus the Cubbies in game one of a doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon. Just two games out, the Pirates had to feel they had a great chance of winning the division and avoiding a one-game wild card playoff against the Cubs in a few weeks. However, everything then fell apart. The Pirates got shut down by Jon Lester in a Tuesday night loss. They then fell in 12 innings the next night. On Thursday afternoon in the series finale, the Pirates got a 4-3 lead but then gave up six runs to Chicago in the top of the fifth, en route to a 9-6 loss which caused Pittsburgh to lose the series to the Cubs. Meanwhile, St. Louis swept three games from Milwaukee, and just like that, the Cardinals are back to a five-game lead in the Central.

 

Pitching Matchup
With Francisco Liriano on the mound, the Pirates have a very solid pitcher. However, Liriano has been a lot worse over the past month than he’s been at prior points in the season. On July 29, Liriano’s ERA was 2.92. Since then, it has steadily risen to its current number of 3.45, accompanied by a 1.22 WHIP. Liriano pitched a six-inning shutout on Sept. 8, but other than that game, he’s given up at least three runs in seven of his last eight starts (the shutout being the ninth). Liriano’s ERA away from Pittsburgh is only 2.47, but he’s given up at least three runs in three of his last four road starts. He’s struggling to be at his best right now.

The Dodgers go with Clayton Kershaw, who won’t win the Cy Young Award this year (not probably, anyway), but has still returned to being almost impossible to beat. Kershaw has a 2.12 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP… and that’s after struggling for much of the first two and a half months of the season. In his last 10 starts, Kershaw has allowed more than one earned run only once, and that came on August 7. He’s as close to automatic as teammate Zack Greinke is. He’s on fire.

 

What’s The Pick?
The dominance of Kershaw is very, very hard to go against. The MLB odds are too high to lay straight up, though, so for this MLB pick I’ll take a shot with the Dodgers on the runline.

MLB Pick: Pick: Dodgers -1.5 +155 at Bovada

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