MLB Picks: Giants vs. Dodgers

Joe Freda

Monday, April 1, 2013 2:19 PM GMT

Monday, Apr. 1, 2013 2:19 PM GMT

Will the Dodgers start off with a victory as home ‘chalk,’ or are the San Francisco Giants worth a play at plus odds? Find out where we have decided to place our MLB picks in this matchup.

The San Francisco Giants went 10-8 against the Los Angeles Dodgers last year, followed by a postseason run that captured the team’s second World Series title in three seasons. Monday afternoon’s MLB slate has San Francisco opening its 2013 campaign at Dodger Stadium, with Giants right-hander Matt Cain taking the hill against Los Angeles’ lefty Clayton Kershaw.

Let's breakdown this matchup from a betting standpoint, and decide where we can find the best value for our MLB picks.

[gameodds]3/223622/43/us[/gameodds]

Kershaw looks for stingy start

Los Angeles went 2-3 in Kershaw’s five outings against the Giants last year, with the sixth-year hurler allowing five earned runs in the span’s 24 innings at home. The Dodgers’ season ended with a 5-1 victory over San Francisco, with Kershaw notching a victory as a 188 favorite. 

Kershaw made seven starts in spring training, finishing with a 4.18 ERA and 1.36 WHIP as part of a 2-3 record. The latest trip to the mound on March 27 saw the two-time All-Star surrender a first-inning homer to Seattle’s Michael Morse en route to a 10-7 defeat for Los Angeles.

Dodgers sluggers Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier return to the team’s lineup, blasting 23 HRs and 89 RBIs last year, respectively. The duo’s mate Hanley Ramirez starts off on the disabled list, with the shortstop’s bat being missed thanks to a thumb injury.

Cain goes five in spring finale

Cain made six appearances in his squad’s exhibition weeks, logging a 2-3 record with a 4.50 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. The final outing on March 21 saw the 28-year-old last five frames against the Colorado Rockies, giving up a long ball to Colorado’s Wilin Rosario as part of four earned runs on seven hits. 

The 2012 season saw Cain come away with a win and three no-decision’s in four starts against Los Angeles, allowing eight earned runs over 26 1/3 IP. Cain’s victory came at Dodger Stadium, with Giants third baseman Joaquin Arias cracking a homer and two doubles en route to an 8-4 win.

Arias may find himself in the lineup for Monday’s affair with San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval listed as “questionable” due to an elbow injury. Giants catcher Buster Posey returns after capturing the 2012 National League MVP, hitting .336 with 103 RBIs.

Back the Giants as road dogs

The MLB odds makers at 5Dimes.eu opened Kershaw as a 145 home favorite for the 4:10 p.m. (ET) matchup, while first setting the ‘total’ at six. The weather forecast in Los Angeles calls for a 65-degree day, with calm winds. 

I am adding a ticket on San Francisco as part of Monday’s sports picks, looking for value at a sizable price to start the year. The Giants finished last season with a 9-2 mark in their last 11 road spots as a dog of plus 150 or less, while going 20-7 in their last 27 matchups as an underdog overall.

Matt Cain has contained his share of the Dodgers’ lineup, holding Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp to one homer each in a combined 103 career at-bat’s. San Francisco has cashed at 4-1 in the three-time All-Star’s last five road starts against Kemp and Co.

Kershaw failed to log a winning decision in his first three starts last year, going a light 15 1/3 IP over the span. The southpaw’s lackluster finish to spring action adds enough uncertainty to being sizable ‘chalk’ here, making the Giants and their lineup an overlay worth backing in this opener.

MLB Pick:  Giants +146 (5Dimes.eu)

For more free plays, check out our MLB Picks of the Day.

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