Betting preview for Dodgers-Padres NLDS

By Derek Carty  ( 


On Tuesday, two perceived juggernauts square off in one half of the National League Division Series. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres led the NL with the most wins in 2020, and while the Dodgers are favored, the talent level of these teams may not actually be as close as the lines indicate.


The Dodgers have the best offense in baseball, and it’s not even close.  That includes the Padres, whose raw 2020 stats were boosted by overachievements from Wil Myers, Jake Cronenworth, Eric Hosmer and even Fernando Tatis Jr.  As good as this offense is, the 2020 regular season was just 60 games long, so it’s important not to put undue emphasis on the raw 2020 stats given the nature of variance in baseball. 

The Padres posted MLB’s fourth-best team wOBA (.341), but if you project the true talent level of each hitter using historical stats, regression to the mean, aging curves, Stacast data and other sabermetric means, their true level is actually .325 (according to my projection system, THE BAT X).  Compare that to the Dodgers, who posted MLB’s second-best team wOBA (.350) but have a projected wOBA of .345.

It’s easy to anoint a guy like Tatis as the next big thing, and he may well be, but it’s unlikely his true talent wOBA is actually as high as his observed .392.  Look what happened to three of 2019’s highest performers in 2020: Christian Yelich (.442 to .343), Alex Bregman (.418 to .345), and Cody Bellinger (.415 to .337).  That’s just how baseball works, and as exciting as Tatis is, he’s not immune to the laws of statistics.

The Dodgers have a stacked roster full of players who have performed at a high level for more than just two months, and that gives them a big advantage.

Starting pitching

Los Angeles also boasts a significant advantage on the pitching side.  While the Padres haven’t officially announced their rotation yet, best-case scenario looks something like the table below.  If Mike Clevinger and/or Dinelson Lamet can’t go, their outlook becomes bleaker. 


Padres SP


Dodgers SP



Chris Paddack


Walker Buehler



Zach Davies


Clayton Kershaw



Adrian Morejon


Julio Urías



Mike Clevinger


Tony Gonsolin



Dinelson Lamet


Dustin May



All Padres


All Dodgers



It’s not a runaway for the Dodgers by any means, but they do have the advantage.  It’s also worth noting that while Morejon is listed the Game 3 “starter,” he’s been used more as an opener this year, and never lasting past the third inning.  That effectively makes his ERA a bit better, since a heavier portion of the game will be made up of higher-quality relievers.


The Dodgers also have the advantage in the bullpen, but it’s the one spot where it’s smaller than the 2020 numbers indicate.  Their NL-leading 2.74 ERA destroys San Diego’s 4.38 mark, but the true numbers project as 3.78 and 3.88.  What the Dodgers have working in their favor, though, is a manager who knows how to handle a pitching staff and understands the mathematical penalties of letting lesser starters go three times through the order.  This kind of smart managing is made all the more potent when his team has MLB’s second-best bullpen.

Speed, defense and baserunning

The Padres are a younger, more energetic team and do project as the superior club in terms of speed, defense, and baserunning (although their elite speed hasn’t yet turned into elite baserunning, perhaps because of their youth leading to some mistakes).  Unfortunately, these are the least important aspects of winning baseball games, but it’s worth noting and will help them a bit.

Final report card

All told, the Dodgers are the superior team, as the betting lines indicate, but the overperformance of the Padres across a small-sample 2020 season may lead their odds to be a bit too optimistic throughout the series.

Offense: Dodgers A ; Padres B

Rotation: Dodgers A-; Padres B

Bullpen: Dodgers A; Padres  A-

Defense: Dodgers C-; Padres B

Baserunning: Dodgers C-; Padres C

back to news

Live On Air

Streaming Now: The Lombardi Line

play Watch Live radio Listen Live


Andy MacNeil: NHL - Stanley Cup Finals Most Goals - Sam Bennett (15/1). View more picks.


The Greg Peterson Experience: There is very little value at the top of the College Basketball futures board this time of year, no need to make any bets this early as the numbers won't move during the Summer. View more tips.