Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Diego Padres, NL Divisional Series: Tips, Odds & Predictions

Dodgers vs Padres NL Divisional Series
Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Diego Padres, MLB, NL Divisional Series

The Los Angeles Dodgers were the best team in baseball this season, but no team was more fun to watch than the San Diego Padres. The Padres actually had the second-best record in the National League this season, but fell victim to the Dodgers’ success in creating this matchup in the NL Divisional Series instead of the NLCS. Both teams can hit the ball well and both teams have strong pitching staffs, so this might be the best series of the four in the divisional round.

Tips & Predictions

Los Angeles didn’t luck its way into being the best team in the MLB this season. The Dodgers had the best offense in the majors by scoring 5.82 runs per game and they allowed the second-fewest runs in the league with 3.55 runs against per game. There isn’t an obvious hole in their batting order with a pair of hitters batting .300 in Corey Seager and Justin Turner, and five who smashed at least 10 home runs. There just isn’t an easy out from one through nine in that lineup, which should scare pitchers, but then the Dodgers back it up with some of the best starting pitching in the MLB. Clayton Kershaw was stellar yet again this season with a 2.16 ERA and 6-2 record, Walker Buehler had a strong season as well, and Dusty May pitched to a 2.57 ERA in 56 innings this season. It’s combination on both sides that makes the Dodgers a tough team to defeat in the postseason.

What has made San Diego so exciting to watch this season is the joy they seem to gain from simply playing the game and having fun with it. Fernando Tatis Jr. led the team with 17 home runs this season and his 45 RBIs were two fewer than Manny Machado’s team-high 47. Those two were half of the four Padres who hit double-digit home runs this season and among the seven who drove in at least 20 runs for San Diego this season. San Diego scored the third-most runs in the major this season, 0.4 runs fewer than the Dodgers did. The question for the Padres is their pitching, more specifically the health of Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet, who played large roles in San Diego’s success this season. Both have a good chance of being ready for the series, but nothing is certain when dealing with arm problems as a pitcher. Lamet would be a tremendous loss against this Dodgers lineup after he turned in a 2.09 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 69 innings this season.

On paper, this seems like a giant mismatch in the Dodgers’ favor, and the MLB betting sites in New Jersey have installed Los Angeles as big favorites in this series. The New Jersey sports betting sites project the Dodgers to win in four games, according to their odds, but I suspect this one will go all five games. What we saw in the Wild Card games was the Padres’ resilience and mentally toughness, which allowed them to rally back in Game 2 against the Cardinals to keep their season alive. I still think the Dodgers will survive into the NLCS, but the Padres will push them every step of the way, so I’ll take the Dodgers to win in five games at +320 odds.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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