MLB Odds: Chicago Cubs open set at LA Dodgers

By: Barry Daniels | Sunday, May 1, 2011

Two clubs with a propensity for playing games that have skipped ‘over’ the closing total hook up Monday night when the Los Angeles Dodgers host the Chicago Cubs in the first game of a three-game set.

Sports Club owner Pete Korner, who disseminates the betting line for the majority of sports books monitored by Don Best Sports’ Real-Time Odds, has installed the Dodgers as hefty 200 home favorites in his overnight line. The total is set at 7 ½ runs.

The weather forecast at Dodger Stadium for the 7:10 p.m. (PT) start calls for clear skies with a high of 86 degrees and a low of 55. The winds will be out of the north at 11 mph.

Entering Sunday’s action, the ‘over’ was 7-3 in the Cubs’ last 10 road encounters and 16-10 in their first 26 overall outings. The Dodgers had seen the ‘over’ go 17-8-3 overall and 8-2-1 in their last 11 efforts.

The Cubs and Dodgers met in a three-game series last month (April 22-24) at Wrigley Field, with the ‘over’ cashing on each occasion. As a result, the ‘over’ is 5-1 in the last six series meetings.

The Dodgers registered a 12-2 victory in the opener of that series, with the combined 14 runs soaring ‘over’ the eight-run closing total. The middle game saw the Cubs outlast the Dodgers 10-8, with the total closing at nine runs.

The rubber match resulted in the Dodgers taking the series with a 7-3 victory. The total closed at seven runs, mostly because of the wind blowing in at Wrigley Field and a pitching matchup between Carlos Zambrano and Hiroki Kuroda.

Poor pitching and a porous defense are two key ingredients that have led to the ‘over’ going 16-10 in the Cubs’ first 26 outings.

Chicago entered Sunday’s contest at Arizona with a bloated 4.99 ERA, which ranks 29th in the majors. Additionally, Chicago’s starting hurlers have just eight quality starts, which ranks last.

Chicago’s leaky defense has not helped the beleaguered pitching staff, evidenced by its 20 errors through the first 26 games. Only six teams in the major’s have committed more miscues.

While the Cubs are hitting a very respectable .273, which is third best in the National League, they are averaging just 4.08 runs per game (19th).

The Cubs began their current seven-game West Coast trip Thursday by suffering an 11-2 setback at Arizona. However, Chicago rebounded by capturing the next two games, 4-2 and 5-3.

The victories raised Chicago’s road ledger to 6-6, with the ‘over’ going 8-4.

The Dodgers continue a six-game homestand that began with a split of the first two games against the San Diego Padres. Los Angeles suffered a 3-2 setback in the opener, but notched a 5-2 win the second matchup.

The split left the Dodgers with an 8-6 home record, with the ‘over’ going 8-4-2.

Monday’s pitching matchup features Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw (2-3, 3.52 ERA) against Chicago lefty James Russell.

Russell has been a spot starter and reliever for the Cubs during the first month of the season, starting three times in his seven appearances. He's 1-3 with an 8.31 ERA.

Cubs manager Mike Quade could also decide to grab a starter from their minor league system and use Russell in long relief.

Kershaw, who did not start against the Cubs during the April series, is off last Tuesday’s 4-2 loss at Florida as a 130 road favorite. Kershaw allowed four runs on six hits (one homer) in just 5 1/3 innings spanning 88 pitches. He fanned five and walked two.

The Cubs and Dodgers are both 5-2 against southpaw starters this season. Chicago is 2-7 in its last nine trips to Dodger Stadium.

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