Major League Baseball Odds, Picks, Projections: Betting Strategy for Dodgers-Giants NLDS Game 5 (Oct. 14)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images. Pictured: Julio Urías
Throughout the Major League Baseball playoffs, I will provide a daily breakdown summarizing my thoughts on futures and individual games.
Let’s talk series prices before digging into Wednesday’s winner-take-all NLCS Game 5 between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.
Editor’s note: Corey Knebel will start for the Dodgers on Thursday night as the opener, but he is expected to be followed by Julio Urías.
Series Moneyline Corner
Here are my updated ML projections for the lone divisional series, alongside my projection for the ALCS between the Astros and Red Sox.
After cashing a couple of series ML tickets on the Red Sox on Monday, we lost our series tickets (and futures) on both the Brewers and White Sox on Tuesday. That puts the playoff series ML bet balance at -0.1 units, with a half-unit series ticket on the Dodgers (at -147) remaining.
Our World Series and Pennant future balance stands at -3.25 units (Brewers, Cardinals, Mets, Rays, Yankees, and White Sox all eliminated in a CLV bonfire), with an NL Pennant future on the Braves and a pair of World Series futures on the Astros still in play.
My series projection for Dodgers-Giants is the same as my Game 5 projection. Some books put the series prop in addition to the Game 5 line, and they sometimes fail to adjust it as the line for the game changes. Make sure to check both markets if you are betting on the game.
I included my ALCS projection for Astros-Red Sox, which starts on Friday.
I initially set Houston as a 55% favorite in that seven-game series, assuming that Lance McCullers Jr. is healthy enough to pitch. However, it now looks like he will miss the series – and in that case, I would drop Houston down to 52%.
I project value on Boston’s series price assuming that McCullers will be out, and I would play that series ML at +120 or better, at a 2.5% edge relative to the projection.
It’s a +EV play, but also a partial hedge against our lone remaining World Series futures on the Astros; and its cashing would help to cover initial investment, but sadly not the 30+ units in lost profit on those tickets.
Dodgers vs. Giants, Game 5 (9:07 p.m. ET)
The Dodgers and Giants have played more than 2,500 games in the history of their rivalry, and fewer than 25 wins separate the two clubs in this head-to-head series.
In 2021, they have played 23 times with the Giants leading the season series 12-11 and the Dodgers owning a +5 run differential in those contests. It’s fitting that they will play a winner-take-all game in their first playoff meeting.
Los Angeles has a chance to even the season series and move one step closer toward defending its crown with a road victory on Thursday night.
Even on the road — with their No. 3 pitcher facing the Giants’ ace — I still make the Dodgers the slight favorite in this matchup:
I show value on the Dodgers’ F5 moneyline to -114 and I would look to bet their full game moneyline at -102 or better. I would also dabble with some F5 spread (+0.5 runs) in what figures to be a low-scoring contest.
I don’t project value on either end of the opening total. The F5 total needs to move to 4 to bet an Under, or the juice on the Under 7 must fall to -105. I wouldn’t be interested in an Over 6.5 (+100), but I would entertain an F5 Over 3 (to -105).
Plate umpire Doug Eddings (career 53.6% to the under) should help to keep this a tight, low-scoring ballgame.
My model projection has Julio Urías (3.12 xERA), and Logan Webb (3.22 xERA) weighted as relative equals. Urías — perhaps the quietest 20-game winner of my lifetime — also has the playoff experience.
Dave Roberts has typically used the lefty as a five-and-dive starter or a once-through-the-order bullpen fireman in the playoffs.
Though he’s been in the big leagues since 2016, Urías just turned 25-years-old and finally appears to be settling in as a major league starter (16th amongst 129 qualified pitchers in K-BB%).
Urías consolidated his arsenal (48.5% fastball, 34.2% curveball, 17.3% changeup) by scrapping his slider (17% usage) and throwing fewer fastballs. He doubled his curveball usage (to 34%, fourth amongst that same group of 129 starters) and finished with the fourth-most valuable hook in the game:
Julio Urías didn't even need to wait for the strike three call on this gorgeous curve pic.twitter.com/fkD8KDBYVM
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) April 27, 2021
Urías has the tools to get by with a limited pitch mix, thanks to elite command, fastball spin and curveball spin — all of which rank in the 94th percentile amongst pitchers.
Urías generates a lot of soft contact (20.8%, fourth in MLB) by inducing batters to chase pitches outside the zone at a high clip (35.9% O-Swing, ninth). He also generates a high number of called strikes (18.6%, 17th).
Even though his swing-and-miss stuff isn’t necessarily elite, Urías rarely gives up hard contact.
I have touched on Logan Webb throughout the year — since I bet on him consistently until the market caught up in July — and I noticed his dramatic arsenal switch midway through the season.
After MLB started cracking down on sticky stuff, Webb scrapped his four-seamer from his arsenal and accidentally stumbled onto a superior approach.
In his 17 starts after the switch to a sinker/cutter/slider mix, Webb pitched to a 2.63 ERA and a 2.66 xFIP, with a 104:19 strikeout to walk ratio, a 62% groundball rate and just five home runs allowed in 99 innings.
Like Urías, Webb gets hitters to chase pitches at a high clip (34.7% O-Swing) and he offers strong command, but that’s about where the similarities end.
Webb has a low-spin fastball, which helps boost his groundball rate (69% with the sinker, 67% with the changeup), but he ranks closer to average when batters contact his pitches (38.8% hard-hit rate).
Webb has slightly less room for error than his opponent, whose batters seemingly never square him up (28.5% hard-hit rate).
Neither Webb (0.67 HR/9) nor Urías (0.78) allows the longball. The team that wins the home run battle is undefeated this postseason, so if either of them surrenders a home run, it could be game over.
Meanwhile, I don’t see an advantage in the bullpen for either team (projected 3.03 for the Dodgers, 3.06 for San Francisco).
Camilo Doval should play a vital role for the Giants as he seems like the X-factor in this game.
The power righty is now up to 19.1 consecutive shutout innings, with 26 strikeouts against three walks over that span. Doval’s fastball (average 98.7 mph) ranked sixth amongst relievers (min. 20 innings pitched in 2021) in velocity this season and he seems untouchable every two or three days, with a wicked slider that he throws nearly 60% of the time:
Camilo Doval, 101mph Fastball and Wicked Sliders. pic.twitter.com/E4gN7uRWKe
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 12, 2021
If the Giants can get the game to Doval with a slight lead, things may look hopeless for the Dodgers.
It’s imperative that the Dodgers either take an early lead or keep the game tied until Doval’s night has ended.
- Los Angeles Dodgers (bet to -101, 0.5 units)
- Los Angeles Dodgers, First Five Innings (bet to -114, 1 u)
- Boston Red Sox — Series ML (value to +120, 1u)
- Los Angeles Dodgers, First Five Innings +0.5 Runs (value to -160)
- Dodgers/Giants, Under 7 (wait for -105)
- Dodgers/Giants, F5 Under (wait for 4 to -125)