LA is trying to close out a division championship, while Chicago is, once again, just playing out the string on another lost season.
How should we handle this series from a sports betting perspective?
Wednesday's Game Three
By: Ron Patrick
Chicago pulled a stunner Tuesday night, beating the Dodgers and Clay Kershaw 3-2. The Cubbies pushed across single runs in the third and sixth innings against Kershaw, added another in the seventh and got a beautiful outing from Travis Wood in evening this series at a game apiece.
Chicago won as +270 post-time underdogs on Tuesday's MLB betting odds, and the game played UNDER its total of six.
LA has now been held to two or fewer runs in four of its last five games. And somehow, the Dodgers have now lost 12 of Kershaw's starts this season.
So these two teams will play a rubber match Wednesday afternoon at Chavez Ravine (3:10 pm ET).
Wednesday's Betting Line
Most baseball betting shops we sampled Wednesday morning opened Los Angeles and Ricky Nolasco at around -230 over Chicago and Edwin Jackson, with a total of 7.5. Many books then bumped the Dodgers to the -250 range.
Wednesday's Pitching Match-Up
Nolasco (10-9, 3.42), who was originally drafted by the Cubs 12 years ago, is by our tough standards 13-for-27 on quality starts this season, and three for his last three. Last time out he held Boston scoreless on two hits through eight innings, and over his last three starts he's allowed four ER through 20 1/3 innings.
For the season, with 18 starts for Miami and nine for LA, Nolasco has given up 159 hits in 165 2/3 innings, walked 39 and struck out 130.
Miami went 6-12 in Nolasco's starts this season, while the Dodgers are 7-2 in games he's started for them.
In two starts previously this season against the Cubs Nolasco has given up six ER and eight hits in 12 innings.
Jackson (7-13, 5.00), who began his career as a Dodger 10 years ago, is just 8-for-25 on quality starts this year, and one for his last four. Last time out he gave up five ER and 10 hits in six innings vs. San Diego, and over his last four starts he's allowed 17 ER in 22 innings.
For the season Jackson has given up 157 hits in 144 innings, walked 49 and struck out 112.
Chicago is 9-16 in Jackson's starts this year, and has lost his last four outings.
This will be Jackson's first start against the Dodgers since 2011.
Check out our Wednesday Morning MLB Odds & Betting Lines Report!
Our Take on Wednesday's Game
Nolasco has been very good since joining the Dodgers, while Jackson continues to puzzle. And the Cubs should feel darn lucky just to have avoided a sweep. So we like LA today. But we also like to avoid big prices, so we'll go with the Dodgers on the run line for our free MLB pick for Wednesday.Pick: Take LA on the run line at the -109 offered at Pinnacle.
Tuesday's Game Two
By: Ron Patrick
LA took the opener of this series Monday night 6-2, getting three hits, including a homer, from Yasiel Puig and another quality outing from Zack Greinke.
LA won as a -270 favorite on Monday's MLB betting odds, and the game sneaked OVER its total of seven when Chicago's Brian Bogusevic hit a meaningless two-out, two-run double in the top of the ninth.
The Dodgers also, much to our delight, covered on the run line.
A couple of pretty good lefties go at it in Game 2 of this series when Clay Kershaw faces Travis Wood Tuesday night (10:10 pm ET).
Tuesday's Betting Odds
Most books opened LA and Kershaw at around -290 over Chicago and Wood, with a total of an almost-unheard of 5.5. Most baseball betting shops then also bumped the Dodgers to the -315 range, and the total to six.
Tuesday's Pitching Match-Up
Clayton Kershaw (13-7, 1.72) is, by our strict standards, 23-for-27 on quality starts this year, and running on a streak of 11 in a row. Last time out he held Miami scoreless through eight innings, and just before that he did the exact same thing to Philadelphia. Since the All-Star break Kershaw has given up just six ER in 53 innings.
For the season Kershaw has allowed 127 hits in 198 innings, walked 43 and whiffed 188.
LA is 16-11 in Kershaw's starts this year, and it's almost hard to figure how it's lost 11, other than to blame several of those defeats on poor run support.
This will be Kershaw's first start against the Cubs this year; last year, in his one start vs. the Cubbies, Kershaw held them to one run and three hits in seven innings of a 3-1 Dodgers victory.
Wood (7-10, 3.22) is a very solid 19-for-26 on quality starts this season, although 0 for his last two. Last time out Wood gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings against Washington, and just before that he gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings against St. Louis. But just before that he held the Phillies and Reds to four runs through 14 1/3 innings.
On the season Wood has allowed 129 hits in 165 innings, walked 54 and struck out 116.
Despite his efforts Chicago is only 9-17 in Wood's starts this season.
In his one start this year against Los Angeles Wood got clipped for five runs and seven hits, and walked five, in 3 1/3 innings of a 6-2 Cubs loss three weeks ago at Wrigley Field.
The OVER/UNDERS are a combined 17-33 in Kershaw and Wood's starts this season.
Our Take on Tuesday's Game
As we mentioned last week, betting Dodgers games hasn't been too difficult lately. It's just been a matter of taking them either on the money line or the run line. For today, because of that huge price, we'll add LA on the run line to our free MLB picks.Pick: Take the Dodgers, giving the run and a half, at the -125 offered at 5Dimes.
Monday's Series Opener
By: Ron Patrick
Monday's Betting Odds
As of Monday morning most baseball betting shops were listing Los Angeles and Zack Greinke at around -260 over Chicago and Jake Arrieta, with a total of seven.
Also, TheGreek.com was chalking the Dodgers at MLB betting odds of -450 to win this series, with the Cubs getting +350.
Cubs-Dodgers Series Set-Up
Los Angeles just dropped two of three games at home to Boston over the weekend, losing Sunday's series rubber match 8-1. It was the first series loss for the Blue Crew since mid-June.
So the Dodgers, at 76-54, lead the National League West by 9.5 games over second-place Arizona. They also trail Atlanta by just two games in the battle for the best record in the National League.
Chicago, meanwhile, just dropped two of three in San Diego, losing Sunday 3-2 in 15 innings. The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the top of the 13th inning Sunday, then allowed the Padres to tie the game on a triple and a wild pitch, before losing two innings later.
Chicago has lost four series in a row and 11 of its last 14 games.
So at 55-75 the Cubbies have fallen into last place in the National League Central, and at this point are just trying to save some face.
LA leads the season series with Chicago four games to none, having swept a four-game series at Wrigley Field three weeks ago. Dodger pitching held the Cubs to six runs in those four games, and neither Greinke or Clay Kershaw made an appearance.
Monday's Pitching Match-Up
Zach Greinke (12-3, 2.91) has been on a roll; he's 12-for-21 on quality starts this season, and eight for his last nine. Most recently he held Miami to one run through eight innings, and over his last five starts he's allowed just five ER through 35 innings.
For the season Greinke has given up 121 hits in 133 innings, walked 37 and struck out 103.
The Dodgers are a sparkling 17-4 in Greinke's starts this year, and have won 11 of his last 12 outings.
This will be Greinke's first start against Chicago this season. Last year, Greinke started twice against the Cubs; in the first game he got bombed for eight runs in less than four innings, but in the second game he threw seven shut-out innings, walking two and striking out 12.
Arrieta (2-2, 5.75), who's spent considerable time in the Minors this season, is just 2-for-8 on quality starts in the Majors this year, but 2-for-3 since coming to Chicago in a trade with Baltimore three weeks ago. Last time out he got clipped for six runs in four innings against Washington, but in his first two starts for the Cubs he held the Brewers and Cardinals to one run and four hits in 13 innings.
For the season Arrieta has allowed 34 hits in 40 2/3 innings, walked 26, which is way too many, and struck out 37.
The Orioles and Cubs have gone 4-4 in Arrieta's starts this year.
Arrieta started once earlier this season against the Dodgers, for the Orioles, back in April, giving up five runs and walking five in four innings of a 7-4 Baltimore loss.
In the battle of the bullpens for this series LA ranks 13th with a 3.50 ERA and is 39-for-56 on save opportunities, while Chicago ranks 27th with a 4.25 ERA and is 31-for-56 on save chances.
Cubs-Dodgers With the Sticks
Chicago ranks 28th in the Majors in team OBP at .302, seventh in home runs with 142 but just 24th in scoring at 3.9 runs per game.
LA ranks sixth in OBP at .328, just 27th in homers with 102 and 15th in scoring at 4.0 RPG.
Cubs-Dodgers Betting Trends
LA is 38-27 at home this season.
Chicago has actually been a better team on the road this season, 30-34, than at home, 25-41.
The OVER/UNDERS are 32-30 in games played at Dodger Stadium this season, even though LA home games have averaged just 7.1 RPG.
The Dodgers are 53-34 against right-handed starters this season, while the Cubs are 38-56 vs. righties.
The Dodgers are still playing without OF Matt Kemp, who's still on the DL with that bad ankle. But for whatever reason LA is 45-23 without Kemp this season.
Our Take on Monday's Game
LA is the obvious choice for this game, but that price is just too darn high. So we'll gamble just a little and addthe Dodgers on the run line for our free MLB picks for Monday.Pick: Take LA on the run line at the -115 offered at 5Dimes/MatchBook.