MLB Odds & Picks for Dodgers vs. Cardinals: Why to Bet Los Angeles Early (July 14)

MLB Odds & Picks for Dodgers vs. Cardinals: Why to Bet Los Angeles Early (July 14) article feature image

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tyler Anderson.

  • The Cardinals take on the Dodgers in an NL clash on Thursday's MLB card.
  • The Dodgers rallied for a huge win Wednesday, which analyst Doug Ziefel believes will carry over early on in this latest meeting.
  • Check out below why he's back Los Angeles in the first five innings.

Dodgers vs. Cardinals Odds

Dodgers Odds-155
Cardinals Odds+130
Over/Under9 (-120 / +100)
Time7:15 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Wednesday’s game was a testament to how explosive the talented Los Angeles Dodgers team can be.

St. Louis touched up Tony Gonsolin for five runs and was leading 6-0 entering the seventh inning. However, Los Angeles struck for two runs in the seventh, three in the eighth and two in the ninth to steal the victory. Comebacks like that are emotional boosts and very well could carry over to Thursday’s game.

Speaking of the matchup, the Dodgers will hand the ball to lefty Tyler Anderson. He has been the key to Los Angeles staying afloat while enduring injuries to its starting rotation. Anderson comes in with a 9-1 record and a 3.15 ERA this season. In addition, he has been efficient and able to work deep into games, which the Dodgers will need after digging into their bullpen.

As for the Cardinals, they'll hand the ball to Dakota Hudson. He bounced back nicely in his last outing against Philadelphia after Atlanta shelled him. Hudson was due to regress and should still be, according to his 5.24 xERA and 4.62 FIP overall.

However, Hudson has been repeatedly defying data, but can he do it one more time against a Los Angeles lineup that's heating up? Let's dig in to find out.

Los Angeles Dodgers

I alluded to how Hudson was pitching better than the numbers by saying he's going to regress for a long time. The reason is that he's a sinker-ball pitcher. Since sinker ballers throw to contact, the quality of that contact doesn’t matter as it will usually be on the ground at somebody. That’s the case with Hudson, who holds a ground-ball rate of 57 percent.

However, what makes this Los Angeles lineup so dangerous is that it doesn’t need to rely on home runs to score. The Dodgers are second in baseball in wRC+, but only ninth in homers.

The top of their order, which usually includes Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Freddie Freeman and Will Smith, have elite xwOBAs. That’s trouble for Hudson, who allows a lot of baserunners. He has a 1.38 WHIP overall, which isn’t great, but a closer look shows it goes up as the game continues.

Here are his WHIPs by inning from the first to the fifth:

1st inning: 1.18

2nd inning: 1.59

3rd inning: 1.53

4th inning: 1.44

5th inning: 1.22

The top of the Los Angeles order could see Hudson three times by the end of the fifth inning. Like most pitchers, Hudson struggles the third time through an order. His ERA actually goes down from 4.09 the first time through to 3.79 the second time, but then it balloons to 4.41 the third time.

With the Dodgers creating constant traffic, they should get on the board early and often.

St. Louis Cardinals

Putting up five earned runs on Gonsolin is no small feat. And though it ultimately went to waste, it was an impressive effort. However, the odds of St. Louis repeating it against Anderson are very thin.

Anderson has been tremendous at creating soft contact, as he'll enter this start ranking in the top 10 percent in average exit velocity and hard-hit rate. That is primarily due to the impeccable command of his arsenal, which features three types of fastballs, curveball and slider. He can keep hitters off balance and force them to hit his pitch, shown by his chase rate, which is among the top five percent of qualified pitchers.

The Cardinals are a team that Anderson should feast on when you consider they only have one qualified hitter — Paul Goldschmidt — that has an above-average, hard-hit rate. I expect Anderson to be cautious with Goldschmidt, while giving the rest of the lineup fits.

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Dodgers-Cardinals Pick

The Dodgers created a lot of offensive momentum with their victory and now have the potential for another big showing against Hudson.

Conversely, the Cardinals’ lineup lacks the offensive threats to put Anderson on the ropes. He should be able to navigate this lineup and cruise through five innings.

That's why I'm backing the Los Angeles to be up halfway through this contest.

Pick: Los Angeles — First Five Innings ML (-160)

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