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MLB Odds & Picks for Dodgers vs. Giants: Back Kershaw in Return

MLB Odds & Picks for Dodgers vs. Giants: Back Kershaw in Return article feature image

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)

  • The Dodgers face off against their NL West rival on Saturday at Oracle Park.
  • Clayton Kershaw takes the hill after a stint on the injured list.
  • Charlie DiSturco breaks down the matchup and offers up a best bet.

Dodgers vs. Giants Odds

Dodgers Odds-180
Giants Odds+155
Time7:15 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The San Francisco Giants took home the first of a three-game series with their division rival Los Angeles Dodgers Friday night and look to continue their success behind southpaw Sam Long.

The Dodgers match with a southpaw of their own in Clayton Kershaw, who returns after missing the past month due to injury.

Can Kershaw lead the Dodgers to victory at Oracle Park, or will San Francisco play spoiler as the underdog once again?

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Welcome Back Clayton

Kershaw (back) makes his return on Saturday after a month-long stint on the injured list.

The veteran left-hander made five starts prior to injury, boasting a 1.80 ERA with an elite walk rate. He’s given up more than one run just once.

Advanced metrics back Kershaw, too. His FIP is 2.27 and xERA sits in the top 10% of all pitchers at 2.57. Opponents have an xBA of just .228 and Kershaw has limited hard contact to below 33% — the lowest he’s been at since 2017.

In three road starts this season, Kershaw has given up just one run over 19 innings. He’s won all three games and has walked just one batter in that span.

It’s a small sample size and Kershaw has been shelved for a month, but it seems like he’ll have a full workload Saturday night.

He played the Giants just once last season, giving up five runs over six innings.

As for the Dodgers’ offense, they do see a slight decrease in production against southpaws, though I wouldn’t expect Long to pitch that deep into the game.

Giants Looking at Bullpen Game

The Giants are opting to throw a bullpen game on Saturday night starting with 26-year-old Long.

The left-hander has made 11 appearances — three starts — and has a 2.35 ERA over 15 1/3 innings. He’s never pitched more than three innings in a game this season.

While his xERA is slightly higher at 2.75, there’s some alarming numbers when it comes to Long. His walk rate is in the double digits and his xFIP is all the way up at 5.09.

He’s leaving an unsustainable 82.2% of runners on base — his career average is 63.9 — and has seen a drop off in strikeout rate despite a two mile per hour increase on his fastball.

After Long, the Giants will turn to their inconsistent bullpen. As a whole, San Francisco gives up the fourth-most hits and ranks 24th in ERA this season.

It’s important to note that John Brebbia and Jake McGee have both pitched on back-to-back days, so they will likely be unavailable out of the pen.

The Giants’ offense, meanwhile, is nearly identical when facing southpaws compared to right-handed pitching. Their average and on-base percentage is the same, while slugging is slightly higher against lefties.

Dodgers-Giants Pick

While I’m not one to always jump on a pitcher fresh off a month-long injured list, I think Saturday poses as a great bounce-back opportunity for the Dodgers.

Kershaw is a pitcher I feel comfortable backing in nearly any circumstance, and when he’s been on the mound this season, he’s been nearly unhittable.

Meanwhile, I think there’s some concern for Long and the Giants. He has a double-digit walk rate, a hard-hit rate over 40% and an alarming xFIP that suggests he’s due for negative regression.

All this to say, I think the Dodgers are worth a look here on the first five run line Saturday night. Kershaw should lead this team to victory with another strong performance, as the Dodgers’ bats get going early against Sam Long & Co.

Back L.A. to win the first half in this National League West rivalry.

Pick: Dodgers F5 -0.5 (-120, to -135)

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