- The Los Angeles Dodgers are -335 favorites over the San Francisco Giants on Opening Day
- Clayton Kershaw (16-5, 3.03 ERA in 2019) will make his ninth Opening Day start for LA
- Read below for a preview and betting prediction for the game
A lot of people thought the 2020 MLB season may never happen, but Opening Day is officially here. The World Series favorite Los Angeles Dodgers will host the San Francisco Giants Thursday, at 10:00 pm EST, in the second and final game on the Opening Day slate.
Giants vs Dodgers Odds
|San Francisco Giants||+280||+1.5 (+128)||Over 8.0 (-120)|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||-335||-1.5 (-148)||Under 8.0 (-103)|
Odds taken July 23th.
LA was 12-7 versus San Francisco in 2019, and are massive favorites in the Giants vs Dodgers odds. They’ll give the ball to Clayton Kershaw for his ninth career Opening Day start, and fourth against San Fran. In his previous three Opening Day starts versus the Giants, he’s allowed a grand total of just one run.
Kershaw is a Giant Killer
Kershaw was 10-2 at home last season with a 2.89 ERA and a 110-22 strikeout-to-walk rate. He posted a 2.37 ERA in three starts versus the Giants, striking out 17 in 19 innings of work.
If Clayton Kershaw starts Thu. vs the Giants as scheduled, he will be just the 2nd player in MLB History to make 4 Opening Day starts against multiple teams (4 vs SD; 3 vs SF).
HOFer Walter Johnson (7 vs PHI; 4 vs NYY) is the only other pitcher to accomplish the feat. pic.twitter.com/SYdOD9gVA8
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 21, 2020
This San Francisco team looks vastly different from previous years and will sorely miss the familiar names that won’t be in the lineup Thursday.
Gabe Kapler said it's unrealistic to expect that Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria will be ready for Opening Day.
— Maria I. Guardado (@mi_guardado) July 20, 2020
Gone is Kevin Pillar, who led the team in RBI last year and was tied for the team lead in home runs. Buster Posey is also missing, electing to sit out this season to protect his family. Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria are both injured, leaving a very unimposing lineup for Kershaw to deal with.
Giants Career Stats vs Kershaw
Just one player in San Fran’s projected lineup has a career average north of .250 versus Kershaw, and shortstop Brandon Crawford has a ridiculous 60.4% strikeout rate.
Show Him the Money
The Dodgers offense led the NL in runs, home runs, total bases and OPS last season and this year looks even more dangerous. That’s because they added Mookie Betts in the offseason, and they just handed him an astronomical contract extension.
Outfielder Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers are in agreement on a 12-year, $365 million contract extension, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. Combined with the one-year, $27 million deal he’s currently under, the total is 13 years and $392 million.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 22, 2020
The 2018 AL MVP, joins reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger and a cast of extremely talented players that once again projects to lead the NL in all key offensive categories.
On Thursday, they’ll square off against Johnny Cueto who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018, and started only four games last season. One of those outings was against LA, and he was pulled in the third inning after allowing five runs and three home runs.
Dodgers Career Stats vs Cueto
To no one’s surprise, the meat of the Dodgers order has fared very well against Cueto in the past (it’s hard to find a pitcher they haven’t fared well against), and Betts went 3-for-4 against him in their only matchup when he was still in Boston.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cueto was abysmal in Spring Training, posting a 12.79 ERA in the six innings he pitched.
Roll with the Dodgers
The Dodgers are a far superior team than the Giants when San Francisco is completely healthy, but now that they’re battling injuries the discrepancy between the two teams is even greater.
LA has a more potent lineup and will trot out the better starting pitcher. Kershaw is a three-time Cy Young Award winner and has been virtually unhittable on Opening Day in the past. His 1.05 Opening Day ERA is the second lowest in the Live-Ball era behind only Rick Mahler.
Clayton Kershaw, Back-to-Back Gorgeous Curveballs. 👑 pic.twitter.com/KB68rwbSug
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 18, 2020
The Dodgers are 8-1 in their last nine season openers and are 4-2 in games where Kershaw has squared off against Cueto.
Pick: Dodgers -1.5 (-130)