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MLB Series Betting – L.A. Dodgers at Arizona

MLB Series Betting – L.A. Dodgers at Arizona


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MLB Series Betting – L.A. Dodgers at Arizona

Sole possession of first place will be at stake when the Dodgers head to the sun-baked desert to take Arizona.


2008-07-18

Sole possession of first place will be at stake when the Dodgers head to the sun-baked desert to take Arizona. Fortunately for both teams, Major League Baseball has set up system where no matter how bad any division is, the team with the least awful record still goes to the postseason. Follow the Live Odds page all weekend long for game-by-game and series prices on this N.L. West tilt.

Though both the Dodgers (46-49, -9.3 units) and the D-Backs (47-48, -10.4 units) are below .500, at least they have one positive, both have scored a few more runs than they’ve allowed.

The Dodgers have been swimming up hill all season and actually have caught Arizona twice in the last week, only to fall back when they lost and the D-Backs won the next day. "That series is going to be important," said outfielder Andre Ethier. “…It's a situation where we've got to go in ready to play, and we've got to knock the dust off early on Friday and be ready for the ballgames there." If L.A. really has designs on winning the division, they must generate more offense. They are 13th in the National League in runs scored, with a .253 team batting average, with no power in the lineup. The Dodgers are 15th in home runs and slugging percentage in the NL.

Arizona made what has to be deemed as smart move, bringing back Tony Clark. At 38, Clark’s ability to contribute on the field are limited, however the main reason the Arizona front office brought him back was to set a more professional tone in the clubhouse. The D-Backs are in the bottom third in most offensive categories, as too many players either are too selfish in approach at the plate or trying to hard to hit 8-run home runs. Some nights the Snakes could actually leave the roof open in spite of the heat, with their hitters ranking third in strikeouts, creating “green” energy source of wind to cool building.

Joe Torre will give the ball to Hiroki Kuroda (5-6, 3.43, 1.200 WHIP), who looks to win his third consecutive decision. The Japanese right-hander, who was on the disabled list with shoulder tendonitis from June 19-July 2, has been outstanding since returning, going 2-0 with a 1.19 ERA in three starts including a one-hitter against Atlanta on July 7. The Dodgers will start the post-All Star rest of the schedule with a 36-13 record against the money line when playing against a marginal losing team (Win Pct. 46% to 49%) in the second half of the season over the last three seasons.

Arizona will trot out Doug Davis (3-4, 3.80, 1.379 WHIP) who has made a remarkable recovery, undergoing surgery for thyroid cancer. Davis and Arizona are tough out at Chase Field with 19-6 record the last two years. Sportsbook.com has swung the Dodgers around to -112 favorite with money movement in their favor. The total is Un8.5. This could be good spot for Davis and D-Backs who are 14-4 at home when the money line is +125 to -125 over the last two years.

Game 1 Edge: Arizona

All-Star Dan Haren (8-5, 2.72, 0.955) has been everything and more for Arizona, possibly becoming the ace of the staff based on performance. In his last 10 starts, Haren has 2.37 ERA, allowed 52 hits in 68 1/3 innings and has 5 to 1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Despite these awesome numbers, his record is just 3-3 and the team only managed to win six of these contests. The Dodgers will counter with Chad Billingsley (9-8, 3.24, 1.290) who has won five of last six starts, including an overwhelming performance his last time out, in defeating Florida 9-1. In that contest, Billingsley struck out a career high 13, not walking a single batter over seven innings. The right-hander is starting to become the type of pitcher the Dodgers believed could be, as his control has made him nearly impossible to hit. L.A. will try to get into Arizona’s bullpen, yet are only 16-24 vs. a bad bullpen that blows 38 percent or more of their save opportunities.

Game 2 Edge: Under

The Diamondbacks fast start is easier to explain, with the ability to look back and understand what we now know. In April, Arizona played primarily NL West Division teams along with Cincinnati and Houston. This collective group has a .440 winning percent coming off the break and will not be mistaken for the Oakland A’s of the early 1970’s. Coming into this series, the D-Backs were 21-10 against division opponents, while the Dodgers were 15-14. Brandon Webb (13-4, 3.37, 1.168) and his teammates have yet to lose to NL West teams in six tries in 2008 and they are 7-1 overall under the roof in downtown Phoenix. Veteran Derek Lowe (7-8, 3.85, 1.226) will be called upon in the series finale. Lowe would appear to have a few real disadvantages in this contest. This will be his first start in ten days, which has to be hard for a sinker-ball pitcher try to induce ground balls, since he would normally a little strong. This would add velocity, but take away from sinking action. Lowe is 2-4 on the road, with far more robust 4.85 ERA and has a 5.40 earned run average during the day. Match that against Webb who is 9-2 with a 2.61 ERA when pitching on at least six days of rest, and is 9-3 with a 2.78 ERA in 14 starts against the Dodgers lifetime.

Game 3 Edge: D-Backs

Though both managers understand it’s only July, this is head-to-head with closest rival within the division. This series could set the tone for either club over the next few weeks. Arizona won all three games back in April and is 4-1 overall this season versus the Boys in Blue. The Snakes has slipped lately, however still 27-19 at home and should come away the series victors. In two weeks, these clubs will do it again over in SoCal.

Sportsbook.com series odds: Dodgers +115, D-Backs -145

StatFox Edge Pick: D-Backs

2008 Record – 7-4

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