Dodgers vs. Padres MLB Odds & Picks: Back Los Angeles and Walker Buehler (Friday, April 16)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images. Pictured: Walker Buehler.
- The two favorites in the National League meet on Friday night when the Padres host the Dodgers.
- Walker Buehler takes the mound, and that has been good news for Los Angeles in the past against San Diego.
- Michael Arinze breaks down how he's backing Buehler and the Dodgers in the opener of this three-game series.
Dodgers vs. Padres Odds
|Time||Friday, 10:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday and via DraftKings|
The Los Angeles Dodgers will renew their rivalry with the Padres in San Diego for a three-game series, starting on Friday night.
This will be the first meeting of 2021 between the two clubs that saw plenty of each other last year, including a divisional playoff series. Los Angeles (11-2) comes into the series red hot on a six-game winning streak, while the Padres have won five of their last seven.
On the mound for the Dodgers will be Walker Buehler. He’ll be opposed by San Diego’s Ryan Weathers, who’ll be making his first major league start.
This is an interesting spot for Weathers to get his first start, so let’s dig into the details and see if there’s anything we can glean in terms of a favorable side in this matchup.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Walker Buehler is off to another fine start this season. He’s had a quality outing in both of his starts and is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. While his 2.88 FIP is slightly higher than his ERA, it would still be considered well above average.
I generally like to look at a pitcher’s velocity from one year to the next to see if there’s anything different in how they’re approaching hitters. In Buehler’s case, his velocity has dropped slightly as his four-seam fastball has gone from 96.8 mph last year to 95.5, and his sinker dropped to 94.7 from 97.2.
That may be why his hard-hit percentage is up to 51.4% from 25.8%. His CSW% (Called + Swinging Strike Percent) has also dipped to a below-average 26.1%. While it’s still very much a small sample size, these findings could prove to be even more relevant as we get deeper into the season.
If there are any signs of a possible drop-off for Buehler, Friday night could provide a few clues. Historically, he has had plenty of success facing the Padres, whose current lineup has only mustered a .150/.190/.325 slash line against him.
San Diego Padres
Weathers faces quite a challenge going up against the Dodgers in his first major-league start. However, it won’t be his first appearance against them. San Diego actually included Weathers on their postseason roster before he even appeared in a big-league game.
The Padres didn’t waste any time throwing him into the fire, as he was summoned out of the bullpen in Game 1 of their NLDS series. Weathers ended up pitching 1 1/3 scoreless innings with two walks and a strikeout in the 5-1 loss. It was his only appearance in the series. Despite his inexperience, the argument could be made that he held the advantage going into that matchup with the Dodgers never having faced him.
Their paths crossed again in spring training, and the Dodgers touched Weathers up for three runs, including a home run, over three innings of work. That outing could prove to be very beneficial for Los Angeles going into Friday.
The Dodgers enter play on Friday leading MLB in almost every offensive statistic: wOBA (.379), wRC+ (138), AVG (.285), SLG (.495), BB% (12.2%).
Their discipline at the plate will also be key against Weathers, who has 3.0 walks per nine innings this season. The Padres left-hander is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in six innings of relief work this season. However, the difference in his FIP (3.97) and ERA is wide enough to suggest that he’s a likely candidate for regression.
Part of this handicap is figuring out why Padres manager Jayce Tingler is opting to go with Weathers, and the likely answer is because Adrian Morejon is on the IL. This could potentially be a bullpen game, particularly if Weathers isn’t fully stretched out to pitch deep into a game.
The bullpen is one area San Diego could have an advantage over Los Angeles. The Padres lead the majors with a 1.94 bullpen ERA, and their 2.85 FIP is still pretty respectable. The Dodgers will want to play this game from ahead rather than be behind against San Diego’s strong relief corps.
If Los Angeles can scratch some early runs, it should like its chances with Buehler on the mound since it is 5-1 when he starts against the Padres.
With the Dodgers as high as a -160 favorite, I’m less inclined to back them at that price. Instead, look to play them on the alternate run line of -1 at -121 odds.
Pick: Dodgers -1 (-121)
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