While it's the first Sunday in the NFL this season, the MLB is hitting a crucial time where series can either help a team get into playoffs or knock them out alltogether.
Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks: Respectable Odds
The way that the juice has been flying around the MLB with some heavy favorites, I'm a bit surprised that the Los Angeles Dodgers are only a -149 betting favorite on the MLB odds board with the most dominant pitcher in the majors in Zack Greinke gets the start this afternoon. At 68-74 and a losing record at home, the Diamondbacks aren't even a contender for the post-season. This shouldn't take much due dilligence to figure out which side to place your bets on.
The Excellence Of Greinke
He's the best pitcher this season, but not even the best pitcher on his team as the Dodgers have the a 1-2 knockout punch of Greinke and Kershaw that's the best in baseball..Even though the Mets pitching staff may be better depth-wise, in a playoff format, the Dodgers have the advantage and we might actually see these teams meet up this season.
As for Greinke, it's unlikely that he'll hit the 20 win mark, but his 16-3 record and 1.68 ERA does the talking. He's held opponents to just a .192 batting average and despite having an average outing in his last start against the Los Angeles Angels, he's 8-1 with 1 no decision in his last starts.
This is a guy that will pitch 7 to 8 innings per ball game and not allow a ton of hits. Although the Dodgers offense isn't one of the strongest ones in the league, they still have veterans such as Adrian Gonzalez( 27 HR, 83 RBI, .276 BA) , Justin Turner (15 HR, 52 RBI, .283 BA in 346 at-bats), and Andre Ethier (13 HR, 44 RBI, .295 BA in 353 at-bats) to help out their cause, therefore, Greinke has a sufficient amount of run support to back him up if he pitches the way that he's pitched all season long.
The Dodgers have caught superstar, Paul Goldschmidt at the right time as Goldy is just 4 for his last 21 with 1 HR and 4 RBI. Nonetheless, Goldschmidt is still a threat against any pitcher as he has 28 HR, 99 RBI, and a .318 BA.
Kansas City Royals at Baltimore Orioles: What Happened?
Thus far, the Kansas City Royals haven't gotten any returns on their acquistion of star pitcher Johnny Cueto. Cueto has totally collapsed lately, losing his last 4 starts while allowing 21 runs in just 20 innings. This certainly isn't the Cueto that was mowing down the opposition as a member of the Cincinnati Reds.
That said, the Royals are still the much better baseball team at 84-57 and leading the American League Central Division by 11 games over the Minnesota Twins. The slumping of Cueto has really affected the betting odds as the Royals are a -118 betting favorite. If Cueto pitches like the career 94-68 pitcher with a 3,27 ERA pitcher that he's been for his entire career, the Royals are a steal at these odds because the Orioles are a losing squad going nowhere this season despite the re-emergence of Chris Davis.
One reason for the Royals dominance is centerfielder Lorenzo Cain. Cain has had a career year this season and has tore the cover off of the baseball consistently all season long.
For the season, Cain is batting .314 with 16 HR and 68 RBI. He also carries a .371 OBP%. Cain has been dominant versus Baltimore this season, hitting .455 in 22 at-bats with 2 HR and 5 RBI. I look for Cain to have a huge game as he's also a .400 hitter against Wei-Yin Chen this season in 15 at-bats. This game all depends on the quality of pitching of Cueto.