MLB Playoff Odds, Picks, Predictions: Padres vs. Dodgers Game 1 (Tuesday, Oct. 6)

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Robert Beck/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Clayton Kershaw

Padres vs. Dodgers Game 1 Odds

Padres Odds +145 [Bet Now]
Dodgers Odds -170 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 9 (-105/-115) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 9:38 p.m. ET
TV FS1

Odds via PointsBet, where you win $125 if the team you bet on tonight gets at least one hit.


The Padres have lived in the Dodgers’ shadow for decades. They’ve been in only six postseasons since their inception in 1969 and are still in search of their first World Series title. This year, though, the Padres aren’t too concerned about what’s happened in the past, as this team is focused on writing their own story and doing things their own way.

In July, Statista ranked the Padres as the youngest club in baseball with the average age being 26.7 years old. Some of that youth has led to some brashness on the part of the Padres which isn’t always appreciated by opposing teams. Tonight, the Padres will get their chance show they’ve arrived on the big stage.

San Diego left it late to decide on a Game 1 starter after right-handers Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet both picked up elbow injuries right before the end of the regular season. San Diego’s training staff has given Clevinger the green light and he’ll get the nod against Walker Buehler of the Dodgers.

This will be Clevinger’s first start against the Dodgers in his career. When you combine that with this being his first outing in almost two weeks, there’s plenty of uncertainty for bettors to navigate heading into this matchup.


Buehler Effective if Healthy

Walker Buehler has been dealing with a blister on his right hand that’s twice landed him on the injury list. He’s averaged only about 4.2 innings this season and hasn’t completed five innings since his Sep. 2nd outing against the Diamondbacks. As a result, Buehler has factored in just one decision this season because of that inability to pitch deeper into ballgames. He finished the regular season at 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. Buehler’s 4.36 FIP, which is higher than his ERA, certainly makes him a candidate for regression.

Per Baseball Savant, Buehler throws five pitches: A four-seamer (53.8%), a curveball (16%), a cutter (14.3%), a sinker (8.7%) and a slider (7.2%). His fastball averages around 97 mph and by throwing both a four-seamer and a sinker, he can pitch both up and down in the strike zone. Buehler likes to throw his sinker with two strikes as that pitch has generated his highest put away percentage (40%) this season.

FanGraphs rates Buehler’s fastball at 9.5 runs above average. He likely won’t shy away from throwing the pitch even with the Padres ranked fifth, scoring 24.6 runs above average, when facing a fastball.  Overall, Buehler has been quite effective against the Padres. The current  lineup has only a .173 AVG / .218 OBP / .365 SLG slash line against him.

Clevinger’s First Look at Dodgers

Mike Clevinger finished the season at 3-2 with a 3.02 ERA and 4.15 FIP. After being traded to San Diego from Cleveland, he went 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA and 2.35 FIP. There’s no question that Clevinger’s a quality pitcher. In his career he’s 44-23 with a 3.19 ERA and 3.53 FIP. While it would’ve helped to have seen him in action against the Dodgers at least once in his career, we’ll still see if we can assess his chances against a stacked Dodgers lineup.

FanGraphs details Clevinger’s five-pitch arsenal as a four-seamer (39.9%), slider (32.7%), curveball (12.5%), changeup (8.3%) and cutter (6.6%). His fastball and slider are his highest-rated pitches at 2.5 and 2.6 runs above average, respectfully. Clevinger would be wise to feature even more of his slider when he faces the Dodgers. Los Angeles is actually 2.5 runs below average against this pitch whereas they’re 53.9 runs above average against a fastball.

One thing we should note is that Clevinger has only faced Max Muncy and Mookie Betts in the Dodgers lineup. In eight at-bats both players combined to go 5 for 8 with a .625 AVG, .700 OBP and .250 ISO. While that’s clearly a limited sample size, there’s no doubt the two players will provide their teammates with as detailed a scouting report as possible.

If Clevinger is still hampered by his elbow injury, San Diego’s bullpen will look to pick him up as they’ve been much better of late. In the last 30 days, the Padres bullpen is ranked second in baseball with a 3.21 FIP and third with a 1.6 WAR rating.

Betting Analysis

There are a lot of moving parts in this matchup. Both pitchers have some injury concerns coming in to the matchup and I doubt either team will hesitate to call on their bullpens early on. While Los Angeles won six of the ten games against the Padres this season, you can almost throw that out the window as this is the playoffs and an entirely new season in its own right.

My model has the Dodgers as -140 favorites which isn’t as bullish as where the market has them priced. PointsBet is currently offering Los Angeles at -170 which normally would make the Padres a value play for me at +145.

However, I’m unlikely to take a side in the game as I’d prefer to see how both pitchers perform in the early going and if there’s any sign of lingering injuries.

If I had to consider anything, I’d probably lean over the total of 8.5.

My model actually projects the total at 9.89 runs for Game 1. This figures to be an emotionally charged series and it wouldn’t shock me to see some crooked numbers on the board.

The PICK: Lean Over 8.5

[Bet the Padres or Dodgers at PointsBet and win $125 if they get at least one hit.]

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