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NLCS Picks - Hamels, Howard to punch Philly's ticket back to the World Series

Posted by Dale "Skip" Lalonde on 10/21/2009 11:40:25 AM
best baseball bettingWere the Phillies your NLCS picks? Most sportsbook odds makers underestimated the defending World Series champs, favoring the Dodgers to win the National League Championship series. With the Phillies up 3-1 in the series now, savvy bettors who picked the Phillies are sitting pretty. Can the Dodgers stay alive tonight?

Dodgers vs Phillies odds: Phillies’ star power will shine through tonight

  • Red-hot Padilla will keep L.A. in the game as long as he can
  • Cole Hamels not as bad as his numbers suggest in the playoffs this season
  • Ryan Howard is unstoppable right now, with 14 RBI in eight playoff games

Tonight, 8:07 p.m. ET
Dodgers vs Phillies odds: Dodgers +127, Phillies -147
Vicente Padilla (0-0, 1.23) vs Cole Hamels (1-0, 6.75)

It’s easy to write the Dodgers off tonight after Jonathan Broxton’s blown save broke their spirits in Game 4. It’s also tempting to dismiss Vicente Padilla and assume he’ll come back to Earth. But the guy continues to defy logic. Between the regular season and playoffs, he’s now unbeaten in nine starts as a Dodger. In the postseason, he’s allowed just one earned run in 14.1 innings over two starts. He’s throwing strikes and even missing a decent number of bats. Given his career struggles in recent seasons, it doesn’t make sense for Padilla to keep dominating, but he’s doing it anyway.

Cole Hamels is the anti-Padilla – the star pitcher with playoff pedigree who hasn’t found himself so far in the playoffs. He’s been rocked for eight runs and three homers over 10.1 innings. Tracing back to the end of regular-season MLB betting, something just isn’t right with Hamels.

I can’t blame some online sports betting fans for writing off the struggling Hamels and riding the hot Padilla tonight, but we have to look past the obvious stats to understand what Hamels can do. In his 10.1 ugly innings, he’s walked just one batter, so he’s clearly throwing tons of strikes. Usually, if a pitcher still hits the plate during a slump, he’s due to bust out. Also, Hamels was cruising along just fine in Game 1 against the Dodgers until Chase Utley botched a throw on what should’ve been an inning-ending double play. Hamels then served up a two-run homer to Manny Ramirez.

Though it was still partially his fault, Hamels simply lost focus. Tonight, pitching at home with his team one win away from returning to the World Series, Hamels should have his killer instinct back.

DALE’S PICK: All signs point to another solid outing from Padilla, but the peripheral numbers also suggest Hamels will finally break out tonight. Despite the slugging we’ve seen from both sides in this series, expect a pitcher’s duel, with Hamels turning in his best performance of the 2009 playoffs so far. The one guy we can count on for offense is the sizzling Ryan Howard. He’s batting .379 with 14 RBI in eight playoff games this year and just tied a major-league record with an RBI in his eighth straight postseason contest. He’s also the only guy to take Padilla deep in the playoffs this year. The Phillies will book their ticket to a second straight World Series.

Dodgers vs Phillies Betting Edge: Phillies -147

Keep visiting the sportsbook for updated Dodgers vs Phillies odds and bookmark the Betting Edge for more comprehensive baseball sports betting analysis from Dale Lalonde.

Dale Lalonde is's MLB expert.



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