Dodgers vs. Rockies Odds
|Time||Thursday, 4:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday morning and via PointsBet.|
Just a little more than five months after clinching their first World Series title since 1988, the Los Angeles Dodgers take the field Thursday to begin their title defense against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.
A matchup we’re going to get 18 more times over the course of the 2021 regular season also features Opening Day’s most significant odds difference. It’s easy to understand why. The Dodgers are the champs, a behemoth with unlimited money and talent. The Rockies are … very much not that, likely headed toward a cellar-dwelling finish in the National League West.
We know the Dodgers are favored and we know why, but surely there’s value to be found in this one. Where is it? Let’s find out.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles’ remaking following its World Series win wasn’t substantial, but it was significant. Namely, the Dodgers added the reigning National League Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer to an already elite rotation that brings back Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and see David Price return after he opted out of the 2020 season.
It’ll be Kershaw getting the start on Opening Day. The future Hall of Famer finally got the postseason monkey off his back a year ago, posting a 2.31 ERA in two World Series starts (both wins) to hoist the crown.
The 33-year-old isn’t the pitcher he was during his legendary prime, but he’s still a frontline starter who should have little issue with Colorado’s subpar lineup. He faced the Rockies just once in the shortened 2020 season, going seven innings en route to allowing just one run on four hits, with six strikeouts and no walks.
The Dodgers’ lineup is more or less what we’ve come to know during the team’s run of dominance. Most relevant starters from a year ago are back, including Mookie Betts, who paces the team in terms of both projected DRC+ (138) and WARP (5.4). Right behind him is another former NL Most Valuable Player Cody Bellinger at 137 and 4.9, respectively.
However, there will be differences on the fringes of the starting lineup. Joc Pederson left for the Chicago Cubs in free agency, and utility man Enrique Hernández departed for Boston.
The Dodgers’ depth provides more than enough flexibility to make up for those departures, but it means more plate appearances for the likes of A.J. Pollock and Chris Taylor in the outfield, while former top prospect Gavin Lux has been handed the reins at second base.
While the Dodgers have dreams of defending their World Series crown, the Rockies are dreaming of … well, it’s tough to say, really. Colorado dealt franchise icon Nolan Arenado to St. Louis during the offseason and failed to get anything substantial in return.
Arenado’s absence means the Rockies have only two above-average hitters in their lineup — Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon — and three if you believe in the C.J. Cron/Coors Field connection. (I do.)
It’s likely to be a long season in Denver, and the Rockies are surely going to pile up the losses while facing the juggernaut Dodgers 19 times (not to mention the San Diego Padres 19 more). Yet, Opening Day provides a fairly decent matchup in the sense that the Rockies will always have their best chance to win when standout Germán Márquez is on the mound.
The 26-year-old is one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball, owing to the fact that he plays for a bad team in the least pitcher-friendly park in the baseball.
Despite the outsized mismatch that will generally be the case when the Dodgers and Rockies square off, Márquez has actually had quite a bit of success against Los Angeles in his young career. In nine starts, Márquez has a 2.54 ERA in 56 2/3 innings, with 58 strikeouts against just 14 walks. He faced the Dodgers once in 2020, allowing just two runs in seven innings of work.
Márquez is more than capable of keeping the Rockies in the game, the biggest question is whether or not his offense will do enough to help him.
This is the biggest Opening Day mismatch from an odds perspective. That makes total sense.
On one hand, you have the defending World Series champs whose win total over/under is in the triple digits. On the other hand, you have the likely last-place finisher in the NL West, whose own triple-digits are likely to come in the loss column.
The odds reflect this, as the implied odds of the Dodgers’ -225 are that they’d win this game 69% of the time. I think that’s a little too high, but the Rockies’ +180 doesn’t hold enough value for us to go there.
Instead, we’ve got our eye on the total. Betting the under at Coors Field seems like it would be a foolish endeavor, and indeed dating back to 2005, the under is 596-635-46 and worth -60.33 units with a -4.7 ROI.
However, recent history shows oddsmakers have actually been overcompensating for the Coors effect. Unders have returned positive ROI in four of the last five season, including last year, when it went 14-13-3. Since 2016, unders are 197-168-14, +23.1 units with a 6.1 ROI.
Betting unders blindly is never a wise strategy, but everything adds up to an under play here. Kershaw’s general brilliance, Márquez’s underrated excellence and a total that is simply too high.
I’ll play the under at 11.5 and think it’s good down to 10.5 as my top pick.
Pick: Under 11.5 Runs (play down to 10.5)