MLB Picks: Go With The Home Chalk In Dodgers vs. Giants NL West Rivalry

Friday, April 15, 2016 10:55 AM GMT

The NL West is in the spotlight tonight as the Giants take on the Dodgers in a battle for first place. Let's review the match-up to determine which side to back in our MLB picks.

San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers MLB Record: 3-2 (+0.95 units)

San Francisco Giants (6-4, +1.55 units)
The good news for the San Francisco Giants is that their offense is exploding, plating 62 runs on the young season already. However, the bad news is that their pitching has gotten rocked recently, leading to consecutive losses to Colorado in which the Giants allowed 21 runs in their last two games.

Offensively, the team is 2nd in runs, 10th in batting average, 11th in on-base percentage and 3rd in slugging percentage. Angel Pagan's bat has been sizzling with a .371 batting average and a .450 on-base percentage. Fifth year first baseman Brandon Belt has a team leading three dingers on the season complemented by a .333 batting average.

The Giants will turn to ace Madison Bumgarner to stem the bleeding from the pitching staff. The southpaw is 13-7 when starting against the Dodgers in his career with an ERA of 2.43 and a WHIP of 1.023. Saturday afternoon he took the bump against the Dodgers and the MLB odds makers installed him as a +130 home underdog with Clayton Kershaw on the hill for LA. Bumgarner logged six innings, allowing just one run on six hits and a no decision in the 3-2 loss.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers (6-4, +1.6 units)
After losing four of five, the Dodgers have gotten back on track in their last two games with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday night, followed by a 5-2 win last night, both over the Diamondbacks. Big Blue is currently knotted with the Giants for first place in the NL West with an offense that is doing similar damage as their guests tonight, just as projected. LA is 5th in runs scored, 7th in batting average, 9th in on-base percentage and 12th in slugging percentage. Twenty-five year old Yasiel Pug has been a dynamo for the Dodgers in the early going with a .405 batting average and an on base percentage of .500. No member of the Dodgers has more than one homerun on the season.

LA's ace Clayton Kershaw will take the mound tonight with a 1-0 record and a 1.20 ERA complemented by a micro 0.47 WHIP to show for his two starts this season. Kershaw is 16-7 when starting against the Giants with an ERA of 1.57 and a WHIP of 0.802. The eight year veteran dazzled in his first outing as he coasted through seven innings and allowed only one hit in a 15-0 blowout of the San Diego Padres. He followed that performance up with eight innings of a two run, four hit stint that led to a 3-2 extra innings Los Angeles victory over the Giants.


Betting Analysis
This is a matchup that you can watch out of sheer love of the game, but we're here to make money, not memories. We must decide which southpaw to cast our lost with this evening. There is no better pitcher in baseball than Clayton Kershaw and he has had plenty of success against the Giants throughout his career. Yet Bumgarner is one of the best lefties in the game as well but he is not the same pitcher on the road that he is at AT&T Park. Last season, Bumgarner had a 4.15 ERA on the road versus a 1.94 at home.

In addition, the Giants have some injury problems. Buster Posey exited in the seventh inning of yesterday's 11-6 loss to Colorado after missing two games with a bruised right foot. Shortstop Brandon Crawford is reportedly experiencing soreness in his hip flexor but is slated to be in the lineup tonight.

If we add up the fact that the Dodgers' offense matches up favorably to the Giants while Kershaw gets the advantage over Bumgarner and the game is being played at Dodger Stadium then the choice is clear. In your MLB picks make sure to include Big Blue and go with the home chalk.

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Free MLB Pick: LA Dodgers -175
Best Line Offered: at YouWager