MLB Predictions For Today: Dodgers Big Home Favorites Against Yankees

The Yankees and Dodgers represent two of the more storied franchises in baseball history. In the first two games of the classic series, the teams split with the Dodgers capturing a 2-1 victory on Saturday afternoon. Tonight, Clayton Kershaw takes the hill for the Dodgers as they take aim at a series victory against the Yankees. Here is a sports betting breakdown of tonight’s Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN.

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With Clayton Kershaw on the bump, the Dodgers are massive -180 favorites to win tonight’s ESPN Sunday Night Baseball contest. The Yankees will send Domingo German to the hill as a +156 underdog. The teams will play in a projected 8.5-run total.

MLB Predictions for Today — Dodgers (-180) vs. Yankees (+156), Over/Under 8.5 Runs

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Temperature Meter – Kershaw’s Scorching Summer

Despite the cooler climate in Los Angeles, Clayton Kershaw has been white-hot since the calendar turned to July. Clayton Kershaw recorded a quality start in all eight starts since July 5th with six wins while only allowed 10 earned runs in 51 innings. Over the span, he boasts a 1.76 ERA to go along with 65 strikeouts (11.47 K/9).

While he has been hot, there is a caveat. Kershaw faced both the Marlins and Padres twice during this stretch. Surely, good pitchers will shut down weaker offenses. Nevertheless, Kershaw will face a much more formidable foe in the Yankees this evening.

The Bats

The Yankees offense put together ten runs on Friday night against NL Cy Young candidate, Hyun-Jin Ryu. Inexplicably, in last night’s 10-run implied total, the Yankees were stymied by Tony Gonsolin and the Dodgers bullpen in a loss. To quote Yankees’ broadcaster John Sterling, “That’s baseball, Susan.”

The Yankees offense is extremely dynamic against left-handed pitching because of their capacity to stack up talented right-handed bats. RotoGrinders lineups page projects the Yankees to start six right-handed bats (seven if you count Domingo German). This iteration of the Yankees lineup brings a combined .228 ISO, 21.3 K%, and 9.3 BB% to the table this evening. Over the last 30 days, Yankees starters compiled a .276 ISO (1st in MLB) and a 133 wRC+ (2nd in MLB). These Yankees are not the Marlins or Padres.

Over those same 30 days, the Dodgers starters boast a second-best .263 team ISO. Like the Yankees, the Dodgers can take advantage of platoon splits and will likely start at least five lefties in tonight’s game against Domingo German. They strike out less (19.0%) and walk more (10.7%) than their opponent — a likely pair of reasons why the Dodgers sit atop the entire MLB record-wise.

Pitching Primer

Already discussing Clayton Kershaw, there is only a bit more to add. Coupled with the weaker set of opponents for Kershaw since July was a bit of good fortune. Kershaw’s 3.42 xFIP indicates his 1.76 ERA could be a bit on the lucky side and might see a bit of regression. His 90.5 LOB% is unsustainable.

Prior to July, Kershaw pitched to a 3.23 ERA, 8.02 K/9, and 79.0 LOB%. Those numbers are not alarming but they are a far cry from the resume Clayton built over the past two months. While he is still a very good pitcher, he is not as dynamic as these past two months would suggest. A strong Yankees offense could be just the catalyst for some of the regression Kershaw’s underlying numbers might suggest.

Domingo German will pitch on his favorite day of the week but has not displayed the form of his counterpart since July. In 51 and one-third innings, since July began, German compiled an average 4.12 xFIP and horrendous 2.63 HR/9 (15 HR in 51.1 innings). Much of the damage was done in his brutal start against the Minnesota Twins (3.2 IP, 9 H, 8 ER) but much of German’s struggles stem from his difficulty with left-handed bats. Pederson, Muncy, Seager, and MVP front-runner Cody Bellinger… Yikes.

German will strike out some hitters (25.8 K%) but will probably struggle with a potent Dodgers lineup. The “name is the day of the week” narrative might not be enough for Domingo on Sunday night.

The MLB Pick — Over 4.5 Runs (-136) First Five Innings (use our FanDuel promo code to get these odds)

With both lineups so dangerous, especially over the last 30 days, my eyes are on the total. Clayton Kershaw is facing a strong, right-handed heavy lineup and is due for a pinch of regression. Domingo German is solid but struggles with left-handed power.

The game total at 8.5 runs is enticing but the Dodgers and Yankees bullpens are not to be trifled with. Both games in this series were won and lost while starters were on the mound. After the initial damage — big or small — both bullpens shut the opposing offenses down. Last night’s game is a prime example of how these bullpens can — and will — limit scoring if the game is close early.

So, I prefer the first five innings total at 4.5 runs on FanDuel Sportsbook. German could give up enough runs to cover this total on his own and as mentioned, Clayton Kershaw is due for a trip back down to earth. Domingo German struggling coupled with a few Yankees runs can get this number over before the end of five innings. I am going to jump on this number before a full day of betting moves the price up. I will take Over 4.5 Runs in the First Five Innings (-136) on FanDuel Sportsbook.

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About the Author

  • Joe Cistaro (joeycis)

  • Joe Cistaro has blogged on RotoGrinders since January 2017. He fell in love with daily fantasy sports after winning an NBA single-entry tournament on FanDuel in the fall of 2013. A small-time player, Joe enjoys writing about MLB and NBA DFS while connecting with the RotoGrinders community.

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