MLB Betting Preview: Analyzing Dodgers' Strenghts & Weaknesses

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 6:51 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016 6:51 PM UTC

Let’s ponder on the Dodgers, try to find the best betting approaches against this often overvalued team which is lucky to be playing in one of the weakest divisions.

Thank God We’re Still Members of the National League West, Right?
Dave Roberts has taken over for Don Mattingly at Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and this team seems due for a minor dip this year after winning the NL West last season and finishing with over 90 wins (92). Why? Their nemesis, the San Francisco Giants (10/1 to win World Series, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) had a frustrating season in an Odd year (2015) and will be focused on not only getting back to their prime form, but on winning the NL West and getting back to the World Series, which they seem to win every other Even-numbered year these days. And Los Angeles lost its killer #2 starting Pitcher Zack Greinke (19-3, 1.99 ERA) who signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks this Offseason and will now be pitching against (and probably beating) the Dodgers his time around. Nice knowing ya. Los Angeles will have a solid Infield with Justin Turner at 3B, Kyle Seager at SS, veteran Chase Utley at 2B and Adrian Gonzalez (100/1 to win MLB Home Run title,Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) at 1B and the Outfield—LF Carl Crawford, CF Enrique Hernandez and RF Yasiel Puig (100/1 to win MLB Home Run title,Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)—looks good on paper but Crawford is getting old and Puig is a massive question mark and could be Trade Bait by the All-Star break if he doesn’t straighten his act up. But at least the Dodgers do have some potentially productive depth in Left-handed hitting OFs Joc Pederson (100/1 to win MLB Home Run title,Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) and Andre Ethier.


Good Things
Having Clayton Kershaw as the ace of your Pitching Staff; having 33-year-old veteran Adrian Gonzalez (.275, 28 HRs, 90 RBI); being in the NL West and getting to play the Rockies (68-94) and Padres (74-88) so many times each MLB Regular Season; a fresh start with Manager Mattingly gone; promising Cuban C Yasmani Grandal (.234, 47 RBI, 16 HR).


Bad Things
Losing stud starting RHP Zack Greinke; Yasiel Puig (Injury and Temperament); gelling as a team with so many new players always coming in; living knowing they always botch it up in the Fall; Offense was questionable during 2nd Half of Regular Season (667 RF-595 RA); having to face their rival Giants in an Even-numbered Season; LA’s frustrating recent struggles head-to-head with San Francisco, even super-southpaw Kershaw.


Even though Los Doyers are lucky to be in the NL West with the San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants, it seems Los Angeles has regressed and without a strong Manager to lead this rudderless team which always has problems jelling and needs more in the ole Heart Department, expecting to win the NL West and get to the NLCS will be an issue. and maybe especially so this season, with the Diamondbacks seemingly improving so much by getting Greinke as well as P Shelby Miller (Braves) in a Trade. If Arizona improves that much this season, it could end up being at the expense of the Dodgers.

Los Angeles Dodgers Highest Odds To Win World Series: 16/1 

Los Angeles Dodgers Highest Odds to Win NL Pennant: 8/1 


Los Angeles Dodgers Betting Perspective
Living in Las Vegas for 25 years, a noticeable skew toward Los Angeles teams has been observed and it has to be a combination of things. With the second largest market in the US nearby, many tourists frequent Sin City and have a penchant to bet on their local teams, the Dodgers and the Angels in MLB and the Lakers and Clippers in the NBA, both on individual game and in the Futures Book markets which are getting more popular by the year. So, it seems MLB odds makers know that they will be getting a decent percentage of Los Angeles area action from past experience, therefore it seems Dodgers and Lakers lines have always been set a little bit high, offering value for the contrarian (bet against LA teams) although the Lakers have slipped much over the past several seasons and betting interest in them has dipped considerably. This point applied to this assignment means that we can expect the Los Angeles Dodgers Season Team Win Total to be set a little high when that market opens up, but after a 2015 season in which the Dodgers went 92-70 and won the NL West (NL West 5/1 to Win World Series, William Hill), there will be also Over buyers who are blue-blooded Dodgers fans as well as from outside of Southern California.

Two markets which have already opened and which already show some public opposition to the Dodgers being a better baseball team this coming season—Los Angeles opens up in less than two months facing their NL West rival, the Padres in San Diego on Opening Night, April 4 at Petco Park (ESPN, WatchESPN, 7 p.m. EST/4 p.m. PST)—are the World Series and NL Pennant (winners) markets. Here in Sin City at the world’s largest sportsbook, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, the Dodgers opened up (in late October) at 8/1 odds to become MLB champions this season and have been bet “down” to 12/1 and the first pitch hasn’t even been thrown yet. Why? No doubt many are thinking the Dodgers heated rival, the Giants will bounce back in an Even (numbered) Year and LA losing #2 starting Pitcher Zack Greinke to a divisional rival (Diamondbacks) probably doesn’t help much either. And Los Angeles hasn’t really properly filled that Greinke (19-3, 1.66 ERA, 200 K’s in 2015) #2 Starter void in their Pitching Rotation. Los Angeles (55-26 at Home) also saw its odds fall from an opening 7/2 to a current 6/1 to win the NL Pennant (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook).


The Skinny/Predicted Record
Expect many bettors to look to bet the Dodgers Team Win Total Under with some perceived Regression and the perceived rise of the Giants and Diamondbacks within the NL West this season. Los Angeles should finish around 7 to 11 games worse than last season—and maybe the best approach to this team this year is to fade them in the Eastern and Central Time Zones (where they will be losing 3 and 2 hours respectively) against quality teams when ace Kershaw isn’t starting. Los Angeles was 37-44 on the Road last season after playing some incredible baseball on the Road just the season before (49-32). The Dodgers Pitching may not carry them as far as it did last season when Los Angeles won the NL West with a 92-70 record—the Giants were in 2nd place, 8 games back—and their projected Rotation is Clayton Kershaw, Scott Kazmir, Alex Wood, Brett Anderson and Kenta Maeda. The Dodgers were eliminated by the eventual NL champion New York Mets in the NLDS, 3-2. Logic says this team doesn’t make the Postseason this time around for a number of reasons but in large part because of the loss of reliable starter Greinke.

Los Angeles Dodgers Predicted Record: 85-77

MLB OPENING NIGHT PICKS: Dodgers vs Padres  Under 6½ 

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