NLDS Game 1 Predictions - Pick 'Under' In Ace Pitching Matchup

Scherzer pitching

Willie Bee

Friday, October 7, 2016 6:30 PM UTC

Friday, Oct. 7, 2016 6:30 PM UTC

Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers are road favorites on the MLB odds in their postseason opener against Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals.


That's right, sports fans. Regardless of what ESPN may lead you to believe, there are other teams besides the Chicago Cubs participating in the National League playoffs. Take the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals, for example. On perhaps the only day we'll get a full slate of four postseason games, this one definitely qualifies as the best starting pitching matchup with Clayton Kershaw on tap for LA and Max Scherzer chucking for the home Nats.

The visiting Dodgers drawing chalk in the series opener with a -143 moneyline at 5Dimes, where you can get a 50% Free Play Bonus . Friday's scoreboard barrier is set at 6 runs, and favoring the 'under' for the moment.

Los Angeles has owned this rivalry since its inception in 1969 and won 40 of the 78 regular season matchups after the former Expos moved to DC. The clubs have split the 40 games played in the nation's capital, the Dodgers taking two of three here this year and five of six overall in 2016. All three games played in DC went 'over' the MLB odds while all three out in Los Angeles stayed 'under.' For the youngsters out there who weren't around to see it, the clubs were involved in one of the more exciting NLCS pairings back in 1981, the Dodgers taking that one thanks to a Rick Monday homer in the fifth game of the series.


Can Kershaw Shake Previous Poor Playoff Showings?

That the Dodgers won a 4th-straight NL West only having Kershaw around for two-third of the season is certainly worth noting. Since coming back from the DL in early-September, the southpaw has worked 28 innings and allowed just four earned runs, and he was spot on against the Nationals in June, tossing seven innings of 1-run baseball while striking out eight.

Now we'll see if he can get it together in the postseason when he's gone 2-6 in 10 starts and three relief outings with a 4.59 ERA. He pitched well in last year's NLDS against the Mets (13.2 IP, 4 ER), but didn't get a lot of run support in either the win or the loss.

Scherzer stumbled in his final regular season assignment vs. Miami, but he checks into the playoffs with 8-straight wins and the Nats cashing in his last 10 starts.  He didn't face the Dodgers this year but has been splendid the past few years against them with a 1.80 ERA in three outings. It's his first postseason not wearing a Tigers uniform, and he's 4-3 with a 3.73 ERA in the playoffs covering 10 starts and two relief appearances.


Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

Tom Hallion will direct the umpire crew for this series, his 13th postseason assignment. The New York native is going to be at 1B tonight with Dan Bellino in his third LDS calling balls and strikes. Bellino finished a level 13-13-2 O/U/P on the season and wasn't a good fit for home underdogs with those games going 7-4 in favor of road chalk.

There will be a lot of clouds and it will be humid today in DC, but it shouldn't rain. Look for it to be in the low-70s at game time with a light NE breeze (in from center). That should benefit the pitchers slightly, but these two don't need much help from Mother Nature, and I'm going with the low side of the total with my baseball pick.


Free MLB Pick: Under 6
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes
Season: 43-40 (+5.70)

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