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MLB Betting Trends - Will the Dodgers run out of gas?

Posted by Dale "Skip" Lalonde on 4/24/2012 9:36:17 AM
MLB oddsWho expected our MLB betting trends section to ever feature the Dodgers this season? For most of the year, we felt we had a firm grip on the Dodgers’ identity – a powerhouse team with good young hitters, a dynamic one-two punch at the top of its rotation and a lollipop division. Well, the betting landscape sure has changed since then, hasn’t it?

MLB betting trends: L.A. should limp into the playoffs, but don’t expect them to go far

  • Billingsley/Kershaw a great tandem, but unproven in the playoffs
  • Dodgers can hit their way to the NL West title
  • Failure to acquire pitching help at the trade deadline will haunt them

A few unexpected things happened to mess with the Dodgers’ World Series hopes. The Rockies and Giants happened. They were both afterthoughts at the start of the season, but have since surged to the top of the Wildcard race and are suddenly pushing the Dodgers for the NL west lead. The trade deadline happened. The Phillies and White Sox landed star pitchers while the Dodgers stayed idle despite needing rotation depth. Now, the Dodgers have gone from shoo-in for first place to not guaranteed a playoff berth. What does the future hold for their MLB betting trends?

Well, it depends on how you define “future” at your offshore sportsbook. If you’re wondering about L.A.’s chances of making the big dance, they’re still pretty good. They still have several games on the Giants and Rockies and are probably a more complete team, as the Rockies lack pitching while the Giants’ offense won’t scare anyone.

The Dodgers’ offense should help them do enough damage to make the playoffs. Five-tool outfielder Matt Kemp is an MVP candidate; Andre Ethier has emerged as one of baseball’s best clutch hitters; Manny Ramirez should produce when it matters most. The offense ain’t the problem.

The Dodgers’ real bugaboo is pitching. It won’t sink them before the playoffs, but it could be their downfall when they get there. Chad Billingsley is their ace and the second half hasn’t been kind to him. He has a 5.04 ERA since the All-Star break. While he’s recovered nicely in August, you have to worry about him tiring down the stretch, especially since he was awful in last year’s playoffs, walking eight and allowing 11 runs in 11.2 innings.

It’s fair to say Billingsley will improve this year since he was likely nervous in his first-ever playoff action last year, but what does that say about Clayton Kershaw? He’s been lights out in his second MLB betting season but he could just as easily implode under pressure in his first playoff action.

After the top two starters, things get mucky. Randy Wolf is an adequate No. 3 but can’t carry a rotation by any means. Hiroki Kuroda is perpetually nicked up and is headed back to the DL after taking a comebacker in the head. That means the Dodgers are forced to depend on journeyman Jeff Weaver. How much better off would they have been if they’d taken the $25 million for Manny and used it to re-sign Derek Lowe and ink, say, Bobby Abreu?

The Dodgers had a chance to bolster their rotation at the trade deadline and even had chips to spare – James McDonald and James Loney. They’ll make the playoffs, but not fixing their lack of depth will come back to bite them. Don’t bet on L.A. to win the World Series.

For more MLB betting trends and all your sports betting needs, bookmark the Betting Edge at

Before his arm flamed out, Dale “Skip” Lalonde was famous for his high-90s heat and power at the plate. He retired young but never turned his back on baseball, earning the nickname “Skip” for his high-school coaching prowess. A true student of the game, he loves crunching the numbers when he handicaps baseball.



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