Like the NL East, the National League West is about two teams and group of also-rans. This makes it hard to determine the correct betting odds, because bad teams will win occasionally.
The trick is trying to determine when that will be from a value perspective and when to be properly choosy with the division leaders. Here are some of the points baseball handicappers will be looking at among this group of five.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Of the current six division leaders, the Dodgers are tied for the worst home record at 30-27 and are barely ahead of Detroit as the worst bet at -8.7 units. (Tigers are -10.2 units)
In the long history of Dodger Stadium, it has always been known as a “pitcher park” and consistently among the more difficult places to score runs, especially at night sitting in the Chavez Ravine, with the heavy night air.
However, the failures of Don Mattingly’s club rest solely with the offense in this instance, scoring 3.7 runs a game at home and 4.5 on the road. The pitching has been the same, 3.7 RPG allowed wherever they play this season.
Looking ahead, the Dodgers can be used for MLB picks away from L.A. with their 32-23 mark (+7.0), against left-handed starters anywhere with a 18-10 record and in division matchups where they are 32-18, good for +8.8 units.
San Francisco Giants
As was stated here a few weeks ago, San Francisco was not as good as they started the season or as bad they played for a month in parts of June or July.
Skipper Bruce Bochy began the year with as solid a bunch of front line players as there was in the NL, but injuries began to eat away at their core and it became apparent why the individuals coming off the bench were not starters.
While the Giants have been generally floundering, they have hung in because the rival Dodgers have done the same thing.
However, without Matt Cain, Marco Scutaro and Angel Pagan, those are three key players who helped in some manner win a couple of World Series titles this decade. At this juncture, only consider the Giants against the MLB odds on the road because of their 32-22 record (+13.3).
San Diego Padres
San Diego hits the bricks this week for a short five-game road trip (in terms of games played) to Minnesota and Pittsburgh, with the thought of showcasing their newfound offense.
The Padres complete a 5-1 homestand over the weekend, with their offense exploding, scoring 5.3 runs a contest, which sent their season average “soaring” to 3.2 RPG.
While this is certainly good news for San Diego fanatics using their team for sports picks, the cruel reality is the Friars are 20-34 (-11.8) on the road, with their dismal offense tallying 3.1 RPG.
Besides playing against the Pads away, they are an even better wager versus the sportsbooks at 35-16 UNDER. Nice parlay potential on San Diego!
While I was of the opinion the Arizona front office had overrated their talent, it has not helped they were stripped of 40 percent of their anticipated starting pitching before the season even began (Patrick Corbin and Daniel Hudson) and the bullpen no doubt missed setup man David Hernandez. Add in losing an important power source in Mark Trumbo for a good part of the year and the Diamondbacks were a house of cards that imploded early and is looking for a new direction with Hall of Famer Tony LaRussa most likely taking full control after this season.
Arizona is a pathetic 23-36 (-16.2) at home and its bullpen is being battered like a piñata of late. Betting against the D-Backs at home is your best bet.
If you have seen this movie before, just nod. The Rockies is 17-39 (-18.6) outside Colorado and nearly all the time because of weak pitching, they are underdogs, which is why they are a desultory 23-49 (-21) in that role. Why anyone would even bother using a left-handed starter against this team is absurd, since they are a baseball-worst 29-49 (-21) versus right-handed throwers.
Follow these three simple rules about Colorado and the money should find you.