Pirates vs. Dodgers Odds, Preview, Prediction: Mighty LA Welcomes Cellar-Dwelling Pittsburgh (Monday, August 16)

Pirates vs. Dodgers Odds, Preview, Prediction: Mighty LA Welcomes Cellar-Dwelling Pittsburgh (Monday, August 16) article feature image
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Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Trea Turner and Justin Turner./

  • The Pittsburgh Pirates travel to Los Angeles on Monday night to take on the Dodgers.
  • Los Angeles is expectedly big favorites even as they go with a bullpen game in this one.
  • Kenny Ducey previews the matchup and makes his betting pick below.

Pirates vs. Dodgers Odds

Pirates Odds +215
Dodgers Odds -265
Over/Under 9 (-115 / -105)
Time 10:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Monday afternoon and via DraftKings.

Fresh off a shellacking of the Mets in New York, the red-hot Dodgers will continue their quest to unseat the Giants atop the NL West when they begin a three-game set at home against the Pirates.

While this one won’t feature one of L.A.’s imposing starters, it will still feature the same offense that has been tormenting the National League, one which finally looks dominant after a season of underwhelming the public.

Should this be yet another cut and dry win for L.A., or should we give the Pirates a fighting chance? Let’s have a look at the numbers below.

Pirates’ Ship Has Long Since Sunk

There have been too many losses to count for the Pirates, with 20 piling up since the All-Star break in 28 games. This team has won just once since August 4 and has even had to deal with COVID-19 sweeping through the clubhouse on top of some already lethargic play. The team is all but officially out of the race and has already parted with its best player in Adam Frazier.

Pittsburgh’s 80 wRC+ in the second half doesn’t make it the worst team in baseball over that span, and the underlying numbers aren’t actually all that bad. The Pirates haven’t struck out all that much (22.8% K%) and a 7.4% walk rate is pretty respectable. It has been severely lacking in the power department, though, with a .121 ISO.

There have been a few surprising arms to come out of the Pirates’ staff this year, and one man who’s turned in some good starts is lefty Steven Brault. The 29-year-old carries a 3.00 ERA into this one, but his 8.65 xERA, 19.2% barrel rate and 50% hard-hit rate indicates the hurt’s about to be put on him any day now. He does do a decent job of not walking guys, but his slider and sinker have really missed the mark.

The Dodgers Are At Their Best Right Now

The Dodgers been fantastic in just about every area, with a Cy Young Award candidate in Walker Buehler and some very efficient and dependable starters joining him in the rotation. After that, they’ve got a bullpen which has been the best in the second half of the season, and a lineup that’s really caught fire.

Though the Dodgers have always held a firmly above-average wRC+ this year, we really hadn’t seen a level of sustained success from them. There were some big outbursts, but something seemed to be missing.

Well, with the addition of Trea Turner, the return of Corey Seager and the resurgence of Cody Bellinger, things seem to be rounding into form. The Dodgers own a beefy .207 ISO in August with a .267 average, one of the best in baseball. Contact and situational hitting is on the rise, and the Dodgers have begun to find homers galore from their biggest bats. All of this without Mookie Betts, too.

Since this will be a bullpen game, we can talk about the Dodgers’ relievers, which have posted a 3.20 ERA in June with a robust 10.03 strikeouts per nine. They carry a good stable of lefties, and the Pirates happen to be the worst team in baseball versus lefties.

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Pirates-Dodgers Pick

I admittedly haven’t been the biggest believer in the Dodgers this year, but the momentum this team has is undeniable. I’m not overly concerned that the bullpen will be going on Monday with how good it’s been, and Brault’s peripherals spell disaster for the Pirates.

I’m also not the biggest fan of taking the run line on overwhelming favorites, but this one should be as academic as it seems. The Dodgers will have to deal with some jet lag coming back to the West Coast, but they could hit Brault in their sleep.

Pick: Dodgers -1.5 (-135)

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