Clay Kershaw is a monster on the mound, and this handicapper is a little surprised he's not favored on the MLB betting board by even more for Saturday's game against the Angels.
Angels-Dodgers Saturday Odds
In the very early betting the best line we could find on Los Angeles with Clay Kershaw was the -159 offered at Heritage, while Anaheim and fellow lefty Andrew Heaney were getting +152 at Pinnacle. And every book we sampled listed a total on today's game of 6.5 runs.
The Dodgers took the opener of this series Friday night 5-3, getting home runs from former Angel Howie Kendrick and Alex Guerrero another quality start from Zack Greinke, who lowered his ERA to 1.41. So LA has won two games in a row and five of its last eight, while Anaheim has lost four in a row and seven of its last eight.
At 58-45 Los Angeles leads the NL West by a game and a half over second-place San Francisco.
At 55-47 the Angels trail first-place Houston by two games in the AL West, but lead the AL wild-card race by two games over second-place Minnesota.
This is the first series between these teams this season; last season the Dodgers took three of four games from the Angels, with three of those games playing UNDER.
Kershaw (8-6, 2.51), who had this start pushed back a few days because of a sore hip, is by our tough standards 14-for-20 on quality starts this season, working on a string of six in a row. He also hasn't allowed a run in his last three starts, covering 26 innings. Eight days ago he tossed a complete-game, three-hit shutout against the Mets, and over his last three outings he's walked nary a batter while whiffing 38. On the season Kershaw has allowed 105 hits through 140 innings, walked 27 and struck out a ML-leading 185.
LA is 11-9 in Kershaw's starts, with the totals leaning UNDER by an 11-8 margin.
Kershaw last started against Anaheim back in August of last season, when he gave up three runs through seven innings, striking out seven, in a 5-4 Dodgers victory.
Heaney (5-0, 1.79) is a perfect six-for-six on quality starts since joining the Angels rotation back in June. Last Sunday he held Texas to two runs through six innings, and just before that he held Boston to two runs through seven innings. For the season Heaney, who went 0-3/5.83 as a rookie with Miami last year, has allowed just 30 hits through 40 innings, walked just five and struck out 31.
Anaheim is a perfect 6-0 in Heaney's starts, with the OVERS going 4-2, mainly because of some great run support.
This will be Heaney's first-ever start against Los Angeles, and we often give the pitcher the advantage in situations like this, at least for the first time or two through the lineup.
Saturday's Batting Splits
Anaheim ranks 21st in the Bigs this season against left-handed pitching with a .244 team batting average, and 21st with a .311 team on-base percentage.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, ranks sixth against lefties with a .265 average and third with a .339 team OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
The totals are, somewhat surprisingly, skewing toward the OVERS in games played at Dodger Stadium this season by a 32-19 margin, as games played there are averaging 7.9 runs per.
Angels-Dodgers Saturday Free Picks
Kershaw is of course a monster, and LA owns an edge with the sticks. We're a little surprised Los Angeles isn't favored by more than it is. We'll go with the Dodgers today. Also, our guess is runs might be hard to come by, so we're thinking UNDER.
MLB Picks: LA and UNDER 6.5 runs (-105) at Heritage.