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Tigers vs. Dodgers Odds, Picks, Predictions: Is Taking Dodgers on Run Line the Smart Play? (April 29)

Tigers vs. Dodgers Odds, Picks, Predictions: Is Taking Dodgers on Run Line the Smart Play? (April 29) article feature image
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Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: Max Muncy

  • The Dodgers are big favorites at home tonight against the Tigers.
  • Tyler Alexander is on the mound for Detroit and will be opposed by LA's Tyler Anderson.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.

Tigers vs. Dodgers Odds

Tigers Odds +195
Dodgers Odds -250
Over/Under 8 (-120/+100)
Time 10:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Detroit Tigers wrap up their road trip in Los Angeles, where they’ll take on the Dodgers in a three-game series. While both teams are limping into this series with losing streaks, the Tigers are in worse shape as they remain winless in five straight games. The Dodgers are winless in their last two games after managing only four runs during that span against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Friday’s matchup features two dueling left-handers who also share a first name. Tyler Alexander will get the start for Detroit, while Los Angeles will counter with Tyler Anderson.

Apart from their handedness and first name, both pitchers have had different experiences thus far this season. I’ll expand on that and explore why an off day on Thursday could be essential for the Dodgers to get back to winning ways.

Rough Start For Tigers’ Alexander

This season hasn’t gone as planned for Alexander as he’s 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP. His numbers last year were much better given his 2-4 record, 3.81 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. However, according to FanGraphs, his advanced stats did point to some regression if you factor in his 4.41 SIERA — which was more than a half-run higher than his traditional ERA.

Alexander’s problem at the moment is that he can’t escape the big inning. In all three of his outings this year, he’s logged at least one inning with a minimum of two runs allowed. That trend is concerning, particularly against a Dodgers team that’s up next with an above-average wRC+ value of 117.

Usually, when you see a pitcher with numbers similar to Alexander’s, you immediately think they’re walking a ton of batters or giving up a bunch of home runs. However, that’s not the case in this instance, given his 2.70 BB/9 and 0.90 HR/9 ratios.

He repeatedly falls behind hitters, which forces him to throw more pitches inside the strike zone. His first-pitch strike rate (46.8%) is down roughly 17% from his career mark of 63.7%. Moreover, his called + swing strike rate of 21% is also a career-low.

Alexander can ill-afford to fall behind hitters given his lack of velocity. When he’s forced to pitch inside the zone, opposing hitters have a 90.7% contact rate, almost 9% higher than the league average.

It’s one thing to pitch to contact if you’re inducing ground balls. However, Alexander doesn’t fit that profile, evidenced by a career 0.94 GB/FB ratio. Thus, it might be wise to keep Alexander atop your list of pitchers to fade unless we see an uptick in his first-pitch strike rate.

Dodgers Hopeful For Anderson

Los Angeles signed Anderson in the offseason to a one-year deal worth $8 million. The thought was that he could provide flexibility as both a starter and long reliever out of the bullpen.

At the moment, it’s all going according to plan as Anderson gets set to make his second start in four appearances. He’s pitched at least four innings in each outing this season, and after throwing 80 pitches in his last appearance, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Dodgers continue to stretch him out. He’s allowed no more than two runs in each outing and is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP.

One thing that stands out to me with him is his pitch usage this season. He’s utilizing his cutter (32%) and his sinker (15.5%) more than ever, which might explain why his GB/FB ratio has improved to 1.80 from 0.81 in 2021.

Anderson doesn’t profile as a groundball pitcher, given his 1.04 GB/FB career mark. However, in his first season in the majors, he posted a 1.77 GB/FB ratio in 114 innings and a career-best 3.54 ERA.

Since his rookie year, Anderson has yet to finish a season with an ERA below 4.00. Thus, I think it’s worthwhile to continue monitoring his utilization of the cutter and sinker to see if he can maintain this high groundball rate.

Although his advanced numbers point to slight regression, a 2.96 xERA and 3.35 xFIP shouldn’t be taken lightly. Anderson will face a Tigers team ranked 3.4 runs below average when facing a sinker. According to Baseball Savant, Anderson’s yet to allow a hit with his sinker, and opposing hitters have a .184 xBA when facing the pitch.

With the bullpen well-rested after Thursday’s day off, the Dodgers should be well-positioned to take advantage of Anderson making his second start.

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Tigers-Dodgers Pick

There has been plenty of talk about how profitable it’s been to play unders this season. However, another trend that’s starting to pick up steam is to play more favorites.

Just Thursday, favorites went 12-1 on the moneyline for 6.4 units to improve to 181-106 (12.36 units) on the year. Moreover, playing run line favorites has also been profitable as that angle is 138-149 for 8.02 units.

As a result, I’ll be looking to combine that trend with the Dodgers, who are coming off an added day’s rest and looking to snap a two-game losing streak.

In this situational spot, the Dodgers are 8-1 on the run line for 6.6 units dating back to June 2018.

Lastly, the Dodgers have covered the run line in all 12 of their victories this season. FoxBet has the best odds on the -1.5 run line, with the Dodgers trading as a -115 favorite. I would play Los Angeles up to -125.

Pick: 1/2 unit on Dodgers -1.5 RL (-115)

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