MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction Dodgers vs. Astros: How to Bet Clayton Kershaw vs. Zack Greinke (Tuesday, May 25)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Houston Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke.
- The Houston Astros welcome the Los Angeles Dodgers to Texas for Wednesday's MLB showdown.
- Former teammates Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw will square off on the mound, which should make for an electric affair.
- Kenny Ducey breaks down the matchup and explains why he finds value on the home underdogs.
Dodgers vs. Astros Odds
|Over/Under||8.5 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||8:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Tuesday morning and via BetMGM.|
In what looks like a potential World Series preview (and, at the same time, a title rematch), the Los Angeles Dodgers journey to Texas to face the Houston Astros on Tuesday’s Major League Baseball card.
Former teammates Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke will square off against each other on the mound, with both facing the difficult task of shutting down the opposition’s surging offense.
Could there be value in the home underdogs here, given what they’ve been showing off at the plate? Let’s have a look at the numbers.
Dodgers Heating Up Minus Bellinger, Other Big Hitters
The Dodgers are back on their horse. Los Angeles has now won a whopping 11 of 12 games, despite being without key hitters like Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager and A.J. Pollock.
The wins began against the slumping Mariners. Then, it was a Marlins team bereft of any offense whatsoever. The Dodgers then swept the putrid Diamondbacks and, in what was a much taller task, swept the Giants and their fantastic pitching staff.
Houston represents the Los Angeles’ greatest test to date. Now, it’s time to see whether or not this team is back to normal.
Only six teams have a better wRC+ over the past two weeks than the Dodgers, who have been putting together some great at-bats. They’re in the bottom third of the league strikeout rate over the past two weeks, and back up to 11th in the league in contact rate, which was something they were struggling with a month ago when things began to go south.
Just getting the bat on the ball has always been massive for the Dodgers, who have guys top to bottom who can hit the ball hard. Currently, Los Angeles is seventh in the league with 14.8% of all swings resulting in a hard-hit ball.
Then, there’s the pitching matchup. Kershaw enters this game having a very forgettable month of May, posting a 5.50 ERA in four starts, and coming in with seven earned runs over his past two outings that spanned 12 innings.
Over those two starts, Kershaw struck out 19 hitters, which either didn’t help him much or masked an even-bigger problem. Either way, unless you are looking for some fantasy points with those punch-outs, you’re taking a big risk backing Kershaw to settle down given the fact those last two starts came against some of the worst offenses in baseball in Arizona and Miami.
Astros Continuing Brilliant Form at Plate
All of those nice things we said about the Dodgers’ offense could also be said about the Astros as well. Their wRC+ over the last two weeks is 127, but there’s so much more than just that numnber. There’s plenty of reason to believe things will remain good here for Houston, which was red hot before getting swept at the hands of the Rangers over the weekend.
No team over the past 14 days has made more contact than the Astros, who lead the league with an absurd 83% contact rate, and no team has struck out at a lower clip than Houston, who sits at just 15.2 percent. The at-bats have been good, and just like the Dodgers, Houston makes quality contact with a league-leading 534 hard-hit balls and the third-best, hard-hit ball to swing rate.
Home runs have been a bit down for this team recently, but entering a hitter-friendly ballpark in Los Angeles, which has seen 1.01 homers per game this year, things in that department could certainly turn around.
On the hill tonight will be Zack Greinke, facing his former club. The 37-year-old is still going strong, ranking in the top 10% of the league in hard-hit rate and walk rate. His strikeouts are down, but that’s to be expected over time with an aging arm. He’s still done a very good job of controlling games and keeping the Astros in it.
An interesting thing to note here is Greinke’s 4.60 career ERA against the Dodgers in 18 starts. He’s only been worse against four teams in his long, 18-year career.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I’m a bit attracted to the total, but I was hoping it’d be 7.5 or 8 given the names of the pitchers we have beside both teams. I see far more value in taking the Astros as home underdogs, given their recent performance at the dish and Kershaw’s prolonged struggles.
Houston’s ability to make consistent contact here will be key, considering how much Kershaw has tried to lean on the strikeout as of late. Another thing working in its favor is a league-best .289 average against left-handed pitching. I see so many reasons to believe in this offense against Kershaw, even if the lefty came in with great form.
That said, Houston holds tremendous value at this price.
Pick: Astros ML (+100)