The Los Angeles Dodgers will begin their campaign for a third straight 100-win season tonight as they host Zac Gallen and the Arizona Diamondbacks on Opening Day as reasonable -158 home favorites.
The long price on the usually heavily taxed Dodgers has a lot to do with Gallen, but with some velocity issues and a rough spring, is this matchup more one-sided than the price is indicating?
Read more in my MLB betting picks for Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers below.
Diamondbacks vs Dodgers odds
Diamondbacks vs Dodgers predictions
Very few pitchers can force books to hang a longer-than-usual moneyline price on the Los Angeles Dodgers at home but Arizona’s Zac Gallen is one of them.
The right-hander is coming off a great 2022 season where he finished fifth in Cy Young voting but also posted an ERA 1.8 points higher than the season before and has been dealing with issues this spring. Expecting a repeat performance with such a small track record is not something I’m assuming with Gallen.
Gallen has been dealing with velocity issues this spring and was averaging 92.5 mph on his fastball in his last outing which is 1.3 mph slower than his 2022 season average. This drop in velo helped batters tag the starter for an 8.44 ERA and a WHIP north of 2.00. His command has been awful with nine walks in just 10+ innings.
The velocity is concerning and with the new rules, perhaps there are multiple things at work here but Gallen was a fast-tempo pitcher a season ago so the issues are likely more on him.
The Dodgers’ offense lost some bodies from last year but still projects to be one of the best in baseball and has one of the best top-half lineups with Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Will Smith. Even JD Martinez in the five-hole is tough to navigate if Gallen can’t find his A-game.
I think Julio Urias is in much better form coming off his WBC run and faces a much less experienced Arizona lineup.
I think Gallen could be overpriced here. By getting the Dodgers in the first five on the -0.5, we’re likely getting three at-bats from the top of the Dodgers’ order. That's a big advantage when you consider the top of the Arizona lineup features two young batters in Corbin Carroll and Jake McCarthy, who have under 500 MLB at-bats combined.
I like the Dodgers at this price on the moneyline but I like the F5 -0.5 at -110 even more.
My best bet: Dodgers first five -0.5 (-110 at bet365)
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Diamondbacks vs Dodgers moneyline analysis
The moneyline price of -165 might be the longest we see the Dodgers at home until the Mets come to town in April. The Dodgers closed at -220 in a Gallen vs. Urias start in late September a season ago.
Gallen was sharp in his two games vs. the Dodgers last season, holding this offense to a 0.089 batting average but as mentioned above, Gallen is working through some things and the velocity drop is very concerning in a tough matchup.
Due to getting hit hard in the spring, Gallen hasn’t been stretched out much and threw just 10 2/3 innings. THE BAT is projecting 85 pitches here and just over 15 outs which could lead to a lot of work for the Arizona bullpen. The Diamondbacks don't have a set closer and will be without one of its best left-handed relievers in Joe Mantiply.
The Dodgers, on the other hand, have four relievers ready to roll who posted sub-2.20 ERAs a season ago and will have no issues getting 12 outs if Urias is held to just five innings of work.
The Arizona offense projects for 4.29 runs per game (20th), while giving up 4.59 runs per game (23rd). There is a lot of inexperience in this Arizona lineup that certainly has a lot of upside, but the Diamondbacks are giving big roles to young hitters which might not pay off immediately.
Gallen is making this price and if he isn’t at 100%, the Dodgers at -165 might be an Opening Day steal. L.A opened as short as -180 and the 15-point movement is a concern and respected, but again, if Gallen’s struggles carry over, this L.A. offense could be building an early lead that will be tough for the Arizona offense and bullpen to overcome.
Diamondbacks vs Dodgers Over/Under analysis
This total opened at 7 in some places but sits at 7.5 — leaning to the Under — at the time of writing.
On paper, this looks like a straight Under play with Gallen vs. Urias, but if L.A. gets into this Arizona bullpen early, it could get one-sided as the Dodgers offense projects as a Top-5 offense, per FanGraphs.
The real question with this total is if the Arizona offense can plate runs vs. Urias and a very loaded bullpen. The Diamondbacks are projected to score just over 3.00 with a team total of 3.5 paying +120 to the Over.
Urias is stretched out and has competitive reps under his belt with the WBC. He also led all of the NL in ERA a season ago and is one of the best pitchers in baseball. He’s projected to go 17 outs, per THE BAT, and give up 1.7 earned runs.
There is some potential in this Arizona lineup with Gabriel Moreno hitting at the bottom and the young first-round talent, but the hitting conditions will be sub-optimal with 56-degree temperatures. Urias and the bullpen are a tough matchup for this young lineup.
I don’t see a play on this total. If Gallen didn’t have some red flags, I’d play this Under 7.5 at -115 or better, but I’m betting that the Arizona starter isn’t going to dominate this L.A. lineup for 15 to 18 outs.
Diamondbacks vs Dodgers game info
|Location:||Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA|
|Date:||Thursday, March 30, 2023|
|First pitch:||10:10 p.m. ET|
|TV:||Bally Arizona, SportsNet LA|
Diamondbacks vs Dodgers betting preview
Zac Gallen (0-0, 0.00 ERA): Gallen is currently a Top-10 favorite for the NL Cy Young award but is coming off a rough spring where he saw a 1.6 mph drop in his fastball since a season ago and got roughed up with an 8.44 ERA and nine walks in 10 1/3 innings of work. He should get things under control after posting a sub-1.00 WHIP last season but this is a bad matchup if he doesn’t have all of his velocity today.
Julio Urias (0-0, 0.00 ERA): Urias is coming off a busy spring where he represented Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. He gave up three longballs but also struck out 10 over nine innings. Urias led the NL in ERA last year (2.16) and will be making his first Opening Day start.
Trend to know
The Diamondbacks are 12-39 SU in the last 51 meetings. Find more MLB betting trends for Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers