Friday’s MLB Over/Under: Eyeing the Diamondbacks-Dodgers Series Opener

Friday’s MLB Over/Under: Eyeing the Diamondbacks-Dodgers Series Opener article feature image

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

For the third time in as many tries, we pursued an under bet involving young Lucas Giolito and got rewarded with a victory, although we’d be remiss if we didn’t give credit in last night’s triumph to Jose Berrios, who pitched a wonderful ballgame in leading the way. Our current unbeaten run is up to nine games (8-0-1). Let’s keep it goin’ on Friday the 13th.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 11-1-1, +9.8 units
Yesterday’s Result: Giolito vs. Berrios Under 9 (WIN)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

Arizona Diamondbacks @ Los Angeles Dodgers

10:10 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Zack Greinke (0-1, 5.06 ERA) vs. Kenta Maeda (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Once upon a time not too long ago, Zack Greinke (pictured above) was the “1B” of the Dodgers’ pitching staff, slotting in behind the great Clayton Kershaw to give LA the MLB’s best 1-2 punch and helping propel the team to an NL West division title in each of his three seasons there.

While Greinke donned Dodger blue, one of the best trends to lean on in all of baseball was his apparent invincibility at home, as the former Cy Young Award winner was nothing short of untouchable when working from the rubber at Chavez Ravine. In fact, Greinke made 46 starts in Los Angeles as a member of the Dodgers and the overall stats were breathtaking: 28-5, 2.01 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. He also amassed an outstanding 298/54 K/BB ratio in his home assignments across 309.2 total innings. Banking on Greinke at home was truly like clockwork.

Flash forward to 2018 and we sort of have a chance to back this significant trend. Granted, Greinke hasn’t been as effective at Dodger Stadium since joining the Diamondbacks a couple of years ago, but he’s had only three such starts since departing Los Angeles. While the first two weren’t good, Greinke was sparkling in the most recent one at least, which came last September when he tossed seven sharp innings of one-run ball in a 3-1 victory. I believe we’ll get that version of Greinke to fuel this under.

Much of that reasoning is also based on the fact that this Dodgers team just has not been the same at all offensively without Justin Turner. Their lineup has definitely been the biggest culprit in the club’s 4-7 start, ranking third-from-the-bottom in runs scored (39 in 11 games). The Dodgers also own an unintimidating .641 OPS, which has them ranked 24th of 30 teams.

It just doesn’t seem likely that they’ll suddenly flip the switch on their offensive struggles this evening opposite an old friend who has an unparalleled level of comfort in this ballpark. Plus, Greinke has actually been throwing the ball well this season despite his 5.06 ERA. He’s racked up 14 strikeouts against zero walks over his 10.2 innings, and if not for an unlucky .400 batting average on balls put in play, his overall numbers would look far better. Facing a lackluster offense, though, his fortunes will begin to change.

The Diamondbacks, too, have not been hitting much in the early going, with a team batting average (.234) that barely surpasses that of their opponent tonight, not to mention having just 10 home runs on the year, which ties them for 22nd.

When you take that into consideration, plus where the opposing hurler will be pitching from tonight, it points to Maeda being in a position to churn out a useful outing for this under. Some starting pitchers sport very glaring home/road splits, and that is certainly the case for this third-year major leaguer, who has been more than a full run-and-a-half better at Dodger Stadium (2.98 ERA in 27 starts) compared to on the road (4.51 ERA in 31 starts).

That trend especially rings true in particular for Maeda’s assignments with this opponent, as he’s posted a 2.27 ERA in five starts at home against the D-backs, versus a 7.16 ERA in six starts at Chase Field in Arizona.

Maeda looked great in his one start this year — though that came back on the third day of the season — when he stifled the rival Giants over five shutout innings, yielding just five hits, one walk and striking out 10. That performance shouldn’t be seen as a fluke, as according to Brooks Baseball, the right-hander’s velocity on his four-seam fastball was averaging 93.8 mph, with a maximum of 95.8 mph. Previously, Maeda’s fastball clocked in on average of 90.0 mph in 2016 and 91.5 mph a season ago. Because he’s pitched only once since then, he’ll be fresh and ready to deliver that same brand of heat.

The unfortunate part about this under wager is the number we’ll be dealing with — a very unfriendly 6.5. But it’s also telling that the oddsmakers lowered it down to that mark, as this is the first matchup at pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium this season to draw an over/under lower than 7. Even when Kershaw was going for the Dodgers on opening day in LA against San Francisco’s Ty Blach, a matchup that could be argued is equal to the one tonight, that game was at 7.5.

Regardless, it’s mandatory that you wait up until first pitch to put your bet in, as there’s 0% chance the total moves to 6. It’s possible it goes back up to 7, but even if we don’t get that desired uptick, this will still be my play for today at 6.5.

Play: UNDER 6.5/7