The Dodgers' late-season swoon has them behind the Diamondbacks in many statistical categories over the last month of play. Our MLB handicapper believe this to be a prime opportunity to back an underdog team in a series wager.
The Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Colorado Rockies in a thrilling NL West only wild card game on Wednesday and now have the pleasure of matching up with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series. MLB opening lines have the Dodgers at -185 and Snakes at +150 on the series line, with Game 1 late Friday. Let’s break down the teams by their last month of performance and see if we can come up with an advantage on one side. Look for a Game 1 preview on Friday.
While the Dodgers enjoyed the overall pitching by accrued WAR in the first half of the season, the Diamondbacks weren’t far behind at No. 2. That started to shift as the Dodgers went through a late-season swoon, and in the last month the Diamondbacks were ranked 7th in the league and put up 3.66 FIP overall, while the Dodgers were 16th with a 4.09 FIP. Dingers were a problem for the Dodgers late in the season, as they ranked 27th in the league in HR/FB% over the last 30 days at 16.0%. With the Diamondbacks having beaten Hyun-Jin Ryu, Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda a combined six times in a row coming into this series, I’ll be giving the advantage here to Arizona.
When isolating the bullpen performances over the last month, the discrepancy is even larger. The Dodgers bullpen has put up a 5.45 ERA and 4.35 FIP in that stretch, while the Diamondbacks have accrued a 3.30 ERA and 3.40 FIP. Another advantage for the underdogs is their relievers have walked batters at a 2.80 BB/9 rate compared to the Dodgers' 4.29 BB/9 over the same time period.
The Dodgers had the second-ranked offense in the MLB over the full season, with the Diamondbacks sitting all the way back at 14th by WAR. Those fortunes have flipped in the recent month though, with the Diamondbacks ranked 10th with a .255 overall batting average and the Dodgers 14th with a .224 batting average. L.A. is not trending in the right direction at the right time here, and this is another advantage for Arizona.
One undisputed area of advantage for the Dodgers is defense, where they ranked 5th in the league overall, while Diamondbacks ranked 23rd. When looking at positional groups, the Diamondbacks actually have better outfield defense, though, so I’m going to consider these rankings a wash in this situation.
I like how the Diamondbacks match up at this time against the slumping Dodgers. These teams are playing at a very similar value over the last 30 days, but the line won’t reflect that. Look at taking the Diamondbacks at plus money for a series wager with great hedging opportunities down the line.Free MLB Pick: Diamondbacks +150Best Line Offered: BetOnline