Giants vs Dodgers

MLB Opening Night: Giants vs Dodgers

Written by on July 21, 2020

The Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t won a World Series since 1988, but they are the betting favorites to end that drought in this very unusual MLB season. L.A. opens on Thursday night at home against the NL West rival San Francisco Giants.

How to Bet Giants at Dodgers MLB Odds & TV Info

  • When: Thursday, 10 PM ET
  • Where: Dodger Stadium
  • Probable pitchers (away/home): Johnny Cueto/Clayton Kershaw
  • TV: MLB Extra Innings
  • Stream:
  • Radio:
  • Opening MLB Lines: Dodgers -280 / Giants +250 (8)

Why Bet on San Francisco?

The Giants lost one of their best players in former NL MVP and batting champion Buster Posey to an opt-out. He cited family reasons for not playing during the pandemic.

“In the current state that we are right now and these babies being as fragile as they are for the next four months, at minimum, this ultimately wasn’t that difficult a decision for me,” Posey said. “From a baseball standpoint, it was a tough decision. From a family standpoint and feeling like I’m making a decision to protect our children, I think it was relatively easy.”

Posey’s absence leaves a big void in the Giants’ lineup, as the team was counting on a bounce-back year after the catcher was slowed by hip problems the past two seasons. Posey, 33, was the healthiest he had been in years in the spring, hitting .455 in exhibition games this year before spring training was halted on March 12 because of the virus outbreak.

Giants manager Gabe Kapler has said that third baseman Evan Longoria (oblique) will not to be ready for Opening Day. Longoria was diagnosed with a moderate oblique strain last week. The veteran is off an underwhelming .254/.325/.437 batting line in 2019. First baseman Brandon Belt also won’t be ready as he deals with a heel problem.

The Giants had 635 total player days on the injured list in 2019, tied with the Cincinnati Reds for the second-fewest in MLB (Minnesota had the fewest at 620).

It’s Johnny Cueto on the mound. He missed most of last season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Cueto received the Opening Day nod for the first time on March 11, the last day the Giants competed in spring training before Major League Baseball paused camps due to the coronavirus pandemic. Cueto threw more than 60 pitches in a three-inning outing in an intrasquad game last Tuesday and gave up four hits and two runs while striking out three hitters.

It’s only the second time since Matt Cain took the mound in 2013 that the Giants have had an Opening Day starter not named Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner, now with Arizona, got the nod for five of the last six first games, interrupted only by the Ty Blach start of 2018.

The Giants were difficult to beat last year when scoring five-or-more runs in a game, posting a record of

48-11 (.814). That was the fifth-best record in the NL behind Los Angeles (.867, 78-12), St. Louis (.865, 64-10), Atlanta (.845, 71-13) and Washington (.816, 71-16). The Giants made a habit of coming from behind to win ball games, posting 40 come-from-behind victories, the ninth-most in MLB and sixth-best in the NL.

Why Bet on LA Dodgers?

The Dodgers are absolutely loaded offensively after the offseason trade for former Red Sox outfielder and 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts. The team already had 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger on the roster. He went 3-for-4 with a grand slam and five RBI in a 9-2 rout of the Diamondbacks on Sunday in an exhibition contest.  Bellinger crushed his grand slam off of Taylor Widener in the first inning.

Manager Dave Roberts said that Bellinger has made changes to his swing since last year. Not sure why considering he had a .305/.406/.629 batting line with 47 home runs, 115 RBI, 15 stolen bases, and 121 runs scored over 156 total games in 2019.

It’s lefty and three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw on the mound. It’s his ninth career Opening Day start, a team record. He’s 5-1 with a 1.05 ERA on Opening Day, allowing seven total runs in eight starts, with 59 strikeouts in 51 innings.

Kershaw’s nine opening day starts will tie for the fifth-most by a left-handed pitcher dating back to at least 1904. Three of Kershaw’s opening day starts have been against San Francisco (2011, 2013, 2018), all at home. Kershaw has allowed one run in 22 innings in those games, with 23 strikeouts.

Kershaw threw three scoreless innings vs. the Giants this spring. Kershaw allowed just two hits and put one runner on via hit-by-pitch. Roberts got his final look at pitcher Kershaw during Friday’s intrasquad game at Dodger Stadium, and he was pleased with what he saw. Even though Kershaw gave up four runs, he finished with 11 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.

Kershaw has been working on a changeup, a pitch that Roberts doesn’t expect him to use often, but certainly adds to his arsenal.

“Yeah, he’s going to certainly throw it in games,” Roberts said. “I don’t know a percentage, but I know that each time he picks up a baseball and works on it, he gains more confidence. So, just to have something off of his fastball, slider and curveball. I think the changeup certainly plays, but he has to have confidence in it. It’s going to be a lower percentage pitch, but I absolutely expect him to use it.”

Game Trends

  • Giants are 2-5 in their last 7 vs. National League West.
  • Giants are 3-8 in their last 11 games vs. a left-handed starter.
  • Dodgers are 38-17 in their last 55 games as a favorite.
  • Dodgers are 63-29 in their last 92 during game 1 of a series.
  • Giants are 0-4 in the last 4 meetings.
  • Under is 17-7-1 in the last 25 meetings in Los Angeles.

Expert Prediction

Dodgers 6, Giants 2