Best bets for Dodgers-Giants NLDS

By VSiN Staff  (VSiN.com) 

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The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers finished with the two best records in baseball, and they square off in the Divisional Round of the National League playoffs.  Despite the Giants leading the division nearly all year and finishing with the most wins, the Dodgers are actually the betting favorite here.  But does that mean there is betting value on the Giants?

Here are our best bets on the NLDS series from Adam Burke and Derek Carty:

Los Angeles Dodgers (-170) vs. San Francisco Giants (+ 145)

Offense

The Dodgers have the best offense in baseball, end of story.  They have a good hitter at every position, and a great hitter at many of them.  They have three top-15 hitters in baseball in Mookie Betts, Corey Seager and Max Muncy (who seems likely to return at some point after missing the wild-card game), and another pair in the top 25 in Trea Turner and Justin Turner.  All five are better than the Giants’ best hitter, Brandon Belt, who is injured and may not even play this series.  They have the best hitting catcher in baseball, Will Smith.  They are using the 2019 NL MVP as their first bat off the bench.

San Francisco’s offense is good, but the Dodgers’ lineup is one of the best we’ve seen in the modern era.  The Giants offense, despite finishing fifth in wRC+ (a measure of observed offensive quality adjusted for ballpark), is likely not as good as it performed this season.  People don’t like to believe that a whole season can be a small sample size prone to random variance, but it is.  How often do 34-year-old catchers and shortstops have career years?  And when they do, how often do they continue hitting that well?  The answers are rarely and even more rarely. 

THE BAT X sees players like Buster Posey (.379 actual wOBA vs. .320 projected “true talent” wOBA) and Brandon Crawford (.377 vs. .334) coming back down to Earth sooner rather than later.  And you can make the case that projections miss the fantastic coaching that the Giants reportedly had this year, but there is a nearly 0 percent chance that either player are actually as good as their 2021 stats indicate.  You can argue over the extent of the regression, but you really can’t argue over the inevitability of the regression itself.

Starting Pitching

If the Dodgers’ pitching were at full strength, this series would be a runaway.  They’ve lost three top-25 starters in baseball (Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer, Dustin May) … and yet they still have three more in Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler and Julio Urias. They’ll need to figure out what to do with Game 4 (or perhaps 3 if Scherzer isn’t ready to go again so soon after starting the wild-card game), but a bullpen game started by Mitch White seems an option.  And as we’ll see, their bullpen is fantastic as well.

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