The two teams that everyone was talking about at the beginning of the season were LA Dodgers and Detroit Tigers, with the impressive investments providing fuel for endless comments. Both teams have purchased remarkable players and extended the contract of some of their best starting pitchers, more precisely Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw.
The Tigers spent a small fortune for Justin to extend his contract by another five years, while the Dodgers are expected to spend increasingly more money just to keep Clayton content. Both starting pitchers were tremendous in the playoffs and throughout the regular season, which means that at least so far they have fully justified the investment made. Verlander did his part and sent Detroit to the American League conference series, but Kershaw was not required to pitch on a short notice.
The reason is that the Dodgers had a fairly easy mission against Atlanta and the series concluded in four games. Los Angeles is now gearing up for a much more difficult series against St. Louis, a team that finished with the best record in the regular season. This means that the Cardinals will have home pitch advantage in three games including the decisive one, something that the Dodgers will try to avoid.
Either way, Los Angeles will need to win a game away from home and it looks like the best opportunity to do it is tonight when they use Zach Greinke. The starting pitcher has already defeated the Cardinals this season and LA won three games at Busch Stadium out of a total of four matches. The numbers are clearly encouraging and the idea of having a safety net in game two when Clayton Kershaw starts will also strengthen their morale and boost their confidence.
He has both the skills, form and experience to defeat St. Louis at their own turf, not to mention that he posted better numbers than his counterpart. Joe Kelly won 10 decisions last season and kept his earned run average below three, but it is too early to say whether he will cope with the increasingly high pressure. It is only fair to give him the benefit of doubt, because so far he led the Cardinals to victory and didn’t allow opponents to score many runs off him.
The two teams are evenly matched and the odds reflect this reality, although punters are inclined to back the Dodgers at odds of 1.90. This is the average value offered by most bookmakers and as long as the odds don’t sink below this value it makes perfect sense to place such a wager.