Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Francisco Giants Preview, MLB Picks, Betting Predictions: Back Webb

Logan WebbThe MLB postseason is just a handful of games in but it has already had a fair share of drama. In fact, this year’s playoffs are arguably the best in several years and that’s without the marquee series even starting. The final of the four postseason matches has its first pitch set for tonight (9:37pm ET Friday; TV: Live on TBS) as the 106-win Los Angeles Dodgers and 107-win San Francisco Giants prepare to battle it out for a spot in the NLCS. Get out your popcorn because this could be one for the ages.

Perhaps the biggest travesty about this series is not the fact it almost didn’t happen but rather that it is only a best-of-five as opposed to best-of-seven. All season long, the NL West has been a hotbed as the Giants and Dodgers have gone back and forth with the division on the line. It was one of the most competitive divisional races baseball has seen in a long time and it is one that will now continue in a winner-take-all playoff series. Before we get to that, let’s take a look at how we got here. Read on for our preview’s analysis, predictions, and ultimately, MLB game betting picks.

Had this been any other year, winning 106 games not only would have netted the Dodgers the West, but it would have also given them the best record in baseball. But in 2021, 106 wins was good enough for little more than a one-game playoff. The Dodgers could have easily gone home as they faced the red-hot St. Louis Cardinals in a game that lived up to all expectations.

Both LA’s Max Scherzer and St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright were as advertised. Both bullpens were great as well until the 9th inning when surprise hero Chris Taylor, hit a two-run game winning home run. Taylor had been in a woeful slump and didn’t even start the game as a result. When called upon, he came up big, giving the Dodgers new life as they head into a five game series where the game slows down a little bit.

That said, while falling behind in a best-of-five isn’t an automatic trip home, it’s still not preferable. So the game may slow down a little but the Dodgers can’t take their foot off the gas. Not when the behemoth that is the San Francisco Giants waits on the other side.

The Giants completely shattered any and all expectations of them this year. No one and I mean no one, pegged them to do much of anything. Preseason polls had the Giants finishing third at best and last at worst. On paper, there were no shortage of question marks. Was Buster Posey done? Could the starting pitching be good enough? How would Gabe Kapler manage in his first full season? All questions that were answered to the utmost satisfaction of Giants’ fans. The pitching was top-down the best in baseball, Posey had a resurgent season, and Kapler did a fine job putting all the pieces together. The Giants weren’t just good. They were all-time great.

San Francisco benefitted from an easy, early schedule, which after completing it, many believed the team would fall back down to earth. That was especially true when the Giants prepared to face the Dodgers for the first time. To most peoples’ expectations, they were humbled in that series as LA swept San Fran. It seemed to put the NL West back into perspective but to the Giants’ credit, they never buckled and never backed down. Despite being swept in that opening series, the Giants won the season series 10-9, meaning following that sweep, San Fran took 10 of the last 16 against their rivals. It was this kind of success that netted them 107 wins and the NL West crown.

Game One Pitching Matchup: (LAD) Walker Buehler vs (SF) Logan Webb

In addition to not having to worry about fighting for your playoff life, there is an added benefit to reaching the postseason as a division winner not a wildcard. It means getting to set your pitching rotation the way you want it. See, the Dodgers had no choice. They had to run out their best arm in Scherzer in game one or risk there not being a series to line up their other matchups. For LA, the decision paid off and while that means Scherzer won’t go again until at least game three, it was worth it to ensure the Dodgers played on. Plus, LA’s #2 is no slouch. In fact, Walker Buehler would likely be the guy many teams would start in game one of the playoffs based on what he’s done this year.

Buehler joins Scherzer as NL Cy Young candidates and while the two may steal votes from the other leading to a different candidate winning altogether, take nothing away from what both men did in 2021. Buehler had a career year, winning 16 games and posting a crisp 2.47 ERA. His .199 batting average against was the second lowest in the NL as well. Not to mention, Buehler was one of last year’s stars during the Dodgers World Series run as he allowed just five runs over 25 innings. Not a bad #2 at all.

Over with the Giants, their pitching staff is well equipped for a series like this. They could turn to a number of guys in this spot and ultimately, they chose postseason rookie Logan Webb. That’s how deep this rotation is.

Webb may not have the playoff experience but he is coming off a fantastic year. Webb hasn’t taken a loss on his record since the beginning of May, which essentially amounts to most of the season. After a shaky start, the 24-year-old settled down as one of baseball’s best, finishing with an 11-3 record and 3.03 ERA. At home, he was even better as the Giants didn’t lose a single of his 12 starts at Oracle Park. Webb has been downright unhittable at times and even with a lineup as juiced as LA, he has been able to get the better of the Dodgers on more than one occasion. Webb is San Francisco’s most reliable arm and a great choice to take the mound in game one.

Our Preview’s LA Dodgers vs SF Giants Predictions Verdict & Betting Picks

Few times in baseball do we see a series as anticipated as this one. Both the Giants and Dodgers are phenomenal teams with many more strengths than weaknesses. It is almost a shame we have to lose one of them so soon, but that is baseball.

Heading into this series, and for much of the season, the Dodgers maintained their status as World Series favorites. But they have to get past their rival who they’ve had less success of late against, in order to return to the promised land. This series will be tight as both teams have the lineups and the pitching to carry them through.

Expect fireworks over the course of this series, which no doubt will go five games and come down to the wire. As for game one, our pick is going to be for the Giants to strike first. Buehler is great but he has seen so much of the Giants this year and his last start against them wasn’t what LA needed at the time. That’s not to say he can’t rebound but if the Giants tag Buehler early, ghosts of that past start could be tough to shake.

So these are our final predictions against the online USA bookies for this MLB game preview:

  • Back Webb and San Fran (+1.5 on the spread) as home underdogs (an almost ludicrous position for a 107-win team that led all of baseball to be) @ -170 with Intertops. Next best is -172 with BetOnline.
  • Look for a total under seven @ a best of -112 with BetOnline.