Giants vs. Dodgers MLB Preview and Free Pick

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Freddie Freeman #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates a home run against the Chicago Cubs. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/AFP

The Los Angeles Dodgers are a bargain MLB pick for Friday’s game against the San Francisco Giants – despite the pitching disadvantage.

San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Friday, July 22, 2022 – 10:10 PM EDT at Dodger Stadium

What the Numbers Say

The Los Angeles Dodgers aren’t the kind of team you normally associate with betting value. It feels like they’ve been on top of the baseball world since they moved away from Brooklyn and the long shadow cast by the New York Yankees. But this Friday, the Dodgers do indeed belong in your MLB picks.

At least that’s what the computers say. FiveThirtyEight have L.A. beating the San Francisco Giants 61 percent of the time, which works out to -156 using the delightful BMR Odds Converter. But at press time, the Dodgers are available at -135 on the MLB odds board at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review).

ESPN’s Baseball Power Index is slightly less enthusiastic about Los Angeles, pegging their chances of victory at 59.7 percent – but that’s still the equivalent of -148 for a fair moneyline. Multiple sources for the win~!

So how did we get to this point? It just so happens the Dodgers are at the back end of their starting rotation, while the Giants are near the front. The pitching matchup for Friday does indeed favor San Francisco, but apparently not as much as the betting market would have you believe.

Who’s Starting for the Dodgers?

It took a while for Los Angeles to decide on their starter – this will be just their second game after the All-Star break – but they’ve settled on Tyler Anderson (3.94 xFIP), nominally the No. 4 man in their rotation.

You know you’re doing all right when a guy like Anderson is this far back on your depth chart. A former 2011 first-round pick by the Colorado Rockies, Anderson is pitching some of the best ball of his career, even making the All-Star team for the first time. The Dodgers are up 3.93 betting units behind Anderson this year on a team record of 12-3.

So why is he getting overlooked in this matchup? Partly because the Dodgers also sent Clayton Kershaw and Tony Gonsolin to the Midsummer Classic, partly because Anderson was a replacement for San Francisco ace Carlos Rodon – and partly because of whom the Giants are sending to the mound.

Who’s Starting for the Giants?

Chances are you’re a bit more familiar with Logan Webb (3.27 xFIP) after his breakout 2021 campaign. Webb was a big reason why the Giants were able to dethrone Los Angeles after eight straight years atop the National League West; San Fran went 21-5 with Webb on the mound for 12.29 units in profit – and they won all three of his playoff starts, too.

Things are a bit different this year. Webb’s performance level is still very high, but his xFIP has dropped from 2.79, and his strikeouts per nine innings have dipped from 9.59 to 7.73. Factor in the lack of bullpen talent supporting him this season, and Webb is only up 0.95 units on a team record of 12-7.

He’s still the better starter in this matchup. FiveThirtyEight rate Webb 28 Elo points better than Anderson, which is somewhere around a third of a run; however, some of that Elo gap carries over from last year’s performance, where Anderson (4.60 xFIP) struggled with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners.

We’re not going to just throw those numbers out the window. Maybe Anderson will regress to his previous level – or maybe this is his true level, one that he displayed in his first couple of years with the Rockies before his left knee starting acting up. We shall see.

What Happened to the Giants Bullpen?

Departures tell some of the story. The Giants finished sixth overall on the WAR charts at FanGraphs last year – and first in the majors with a 2.99 ERA. Then Jay Jackson was traded to the Atlanta Braves, and all-time MLB holds leader Tony Watson retired after he was left to die on the vine in free agency.

Injuries tell the other part. Jose Alvarez (elbow) and Zack Littell (oblique) are no longer eating up those middle innings, and with so many of San Francisco’s starting pitchers injured as well, that leaves a ton of innings that need to be consumed.

Oh, and the Giants showed closer Jake McGee the door just before the All-Star break. Add up all that misery, and San Francisco’s bullpen now ranks No. 18 overall in WAR, 13 spots behind L.A.

Maybe Trevor Rosenthal can help out. The Giants signed the veteran right-hander off the scrap heap Thursday, but he won’t be ready for a few weeks after missing all of 2021 and 2022. Let’s take advantage while we can, and may the sphere be with you.

MLB Pick: Dodgers (-135) at Heritage Sports

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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.