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MLB Odds & Picks for Dodgers vs. Giants: Expect Dominance From Jakob Junis & Clayton Kershaw

MLB Odds & Picks for Dodgers vs. Giants: Expect Dominance From Jakob Junis & Clayton Kershaw article feature image

Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured: Clayton Kershaw.

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants battle for the state of California on Thursday afternoon.
  • Both teams send quality starters to the mound in Clayton Kershaw and Jakob Junis, respectively.
  • Doug Ziefel breaks this game down and shares his best bet for Thursday afternoon's game below.

Dodgers vs. Giants Odds

Dodgers Odds-230
Giants Odds+190
Over/Under8 (-108 / -112)
Time3:45 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Dodgers and left-handed starter Julio Urias put on a pitching clinic as they shut out the Giants in their victory last night.

The Giants being shut out by a lefty is atypical of them as, despite trading Darin Ruf, their lineup still has a number of bats that hit lefties well.

If it’s a sign of things to come, then this matchup could go even worse for them. The quality of lefty they will see in this one is up a few notches.

Clayton Kershaw takes the mound this afternoon, and he needs to get back on track in the second half.

These Giants roughed him up a bit just two weeks ago, as he allowed four runs on five hits and didn’t make it out of the fifth inning. He then followed that up by allowing three more runs at Coors Field in his next start. Those two outings alone have raised hit ERA from 2.13 to 2.66.

Opposing him for San Francisco will be Jakob Junis. Junis has quietly had a solid campaign. He’ll enter this start with a 2.78 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. The Dodgers lineup is undoubtedly daunting, but it’s nothing he hasn’t conquered before.

So, with two starters primed for success, what’s the best angle for this matchup? Let’s dive in and find out.

Look for Junis to Generate Quick Outs

The reason for Junis’ success this season is that he’s fully committed to beginning a groundball pitcher. He’s upped his sinker usage by 24% this season; subsequently, his ground-ball rate has risen by 3%.

If you look at his underlying stats and his FIP, you might conclude that he’s due for regression, and the Dodgers are the team capable of knocking him down a bit.

However, I’ve learned this season that sinkerballers can continually defy advanced metrics because they pitch to contact and welcome hard contact because the speed of a ground ball doesn’t matter if it’s hit at somebody.

We’ve already seen Junis have plenty of success against Los Angeles this year. Back in June, he tossed five innings of a two-run ball and struck out five. Another outing like that will be just what the doctor ordered for our sake.

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Expect a Bounce Back Performance From Kershaw

I highlighted Kershaw’s struggles in his two starts to begin the second half. However, there’s no reason to believe they will continue in this outing, despite his ERA skyrocketing from the last two outings. His FIP and xERA both sit at 2.60.

In addition to his performance this season, Kershaw has dominated the current Giants lineup over the course of his Hall-of-Fame career. This Giants lineup has complied 150 at-bats against Kershaw and is hitting just .180 with a .245 wOBA and a 33.8% strikeout rate.

While this is a lineup that possesses players who excel against lefties like Wilmer Flores, Austin Slater and J.D. Davis, their performance yesterday shows how much they’re missing Ruf.

Ruf attributed to a great deal of the damage San Francisco did against lefties. On the season, Ruf is hitting .252 with a .886 OPS and .270 ISO off left-handers this year. However, a sizable drop-off should be expected with him now in New York.

Dodgers-Giants Pick

This matchup has all of the makings of yesterday’s game. The Dodgers are throwing a dominant lefty, and the Giants have a very underrated starter going on their own.

Both pitchers have excellent history against the opposing lineups, and they’ll each benefit from pitching by the bay this afternoon.

All signs are pointing toward the under, but Junis doesn’t go deeper than five or six innings so we’ll cut it off there.

Pick: F5 Under 4.5 (-129)

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