There are two highly-competitiveNational League Division Series (NLDS) this year. The first one features the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers, while the other is the first postseason matchup between two NL West divisional rivals in the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.
The Game Day’s gambling analyst Kevin Davis is here with his Dodgers vs Giants predictions and best bets.
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Dodgers vs Giants NLDS Projections
Game 1: Los Angeles at San Francisco
Walker Buehler (16-4, 2.47 ERA) vs Logan Webb (11-3, 3.03 ERA)
The Dodgers have less leeway in how they can use their starting pitching in the NLDS than the Giants. San Francisco’s starters are fully rested, whereas Los Angeles had to play Wednesday in the NL Wild Card game against St. Louis.
While Max Scherzer is the Dodgers’ No. 1 starter, they’ll likely have to wait until Game 4 to use him if they want him fully rested. As a result, LA is using Walker Buehler for Game 1 of the NLDS.
On most teams, Buehler would be the ace of the rotation. This season he had a 16-4 record with a 2.47 ERA, and a 3.57 xFIP. Most impressively, he averaged more than six innings per start.
Against a well-rounded Giants lineup, the Dodgers need a strong performance from Buehler to win.
Opposing Buehler is Logan Webb. While Kevin Gausman could be viewed as the No. 1 starter in the Giants rotation, based on Webb’s strong body of work this season, he has been elevated during the playoffs. At home with a strong pitcher, my model projects Game 1 of the NLDS to be a tossup.
Dodgers vs Giants Game 1 Projection (Kevin Davis Model): Giants 50.8%
Dodgers vs Giants Game 1 Pick: Dodgers if (+112) or better, Giants if (+105) or better
- Read our full Dodgers vs Giants Game 1 Predictions & Best Bets.
Game 2: Los Angeles at San Francisco
Julio Urias (20-3, 2.96 ERA) vs. Kevin Gausman (14-6, 2.56 ERA)
For Game 2 in San Francisco, the Giants are relying on their top starter Kevin Gausman. He’s quietly been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, spinning a 2.81 ERA and a 3.28 xFIP.
Opposing Gausman is Julio Urias, who had a breakout season for the Dodgers. Urias was a back of the rotation starter or a long reliever for LA before this season, but he’s since become a bonafide member of the rotation with a 20-3 record, 2.96 ERA, and a 3.73 xFIP.
In a battle between two strong pitchers like in Game 1 in San Francisco, my model projects another tossup for Game 2.
Dodgers vs Giants Game 2 Projection (Kevin Davis Model): Giants 51.2%
Dodgers vs Giants Game 2 Pick: Dodgers if (+114) or better, Giants if (+103) or better
Game 3: San Francisco at Los Angeles
Tony Gonsolin (4-1, 3.23 ERA) vs. Anthony DeSclafani (9-5, 3.58 ERA)
How the Dodgers handle pitching for Game 3 of the NLDS is going to be tricky. Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer are out, and Buehler and Urias won’t be available after pitching Games 1 and 2.
Max Scherzer might be able to pitch in Game 3, but he would be doing so on only three days of rest. As a result, I believe that the Dodgers are likely to use Tony Gonsolin, David Price, or a combination of the two.
With Gonsolin or Price at home, the Dodgers should win Game 3. Even though Anthony DeSclafani is a solid pitcher, he is nowhere near as good as Gausman or Webb.
Dodgers vs Giants Game 3 Projection (Kevin Davis Model): Dodgers 55%
Dodgers vs Giants Game 3 Pick: Giants if (+144) or better, Dodgers if (-113) or better
Game 4: San Francisco at Los Angeles (If Necessary)
Alex Wood (10-4, 3.83 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (15-4, 2.46 ERA)
The Dodgers are used to being the favorites, and if there happens to be a Game 4, that’s where Los Angeles will be most heavily favored during the NLDS.
With Max Scherzer on the mound, the Dodgers should win. Since joining LA in a blockbuster trade with Washington, Scherzer has been their best pitcher. In 11 regular season starts with the Dodgers, Scherzer had a 7-0 record with a 1.98 ERA.
While Scherzer struggled in the NL Wild Card game against the Cardinals, he should play much better during the rest of the playoffs. While Alex Wood is a formidable opponent, Wood and the Giants are likely to lose against Scherzer and the Dodgers.
Giants vs Dodgers Game 4 Projection (Kevin Davis Model): Dodgers 62%
Giants vs Dodgers Game 4 Pick: Giants if (+178) or better, Dodgers if (-150) or better
Game 5: Los Angeles at San Francisco (If Necessary)
Walker Buehler (16-4, 2.47 ERA) vs. Logan Webb (11-3, 3.03 ERA)
According to my model, there is a 37.5% chance of a Game 5 happening in the NLDS. If this happens, I believe that it will be a rematch of Game 1 between Walker Buehler and Logan Webb.
Regardless of how Game 1 goes, I believe that the odds will be nearly identical in Game 5 to the odds in Game 1. As a result, the Giants should be slightly favored in a potential Game 5 in San Francisco.
However, like the NL Wild Card game, the Dodgers are likely to turn to their bullpen earlier than usual if Buehler struggles.
Dodgers vs Giants Game 5 Projection (Kevin Davis Model): Giants 50.8%
Dodgers vs Giants Game 5 Pick: Dodgers if (+112) or better, Giants if (+105) or better
Dodgers vs Giants NLDS Series Futures
Dodgers vs Giants NLDS Winner Bets
Best Bet: San Francisco Giants to Win NLDS (+145) at DraftKings (would bet up to +135)
Wager: 1 Unit
For the most part, the oddsmakers have done a good job of pricing the NLDS between the Giants and Dodgers. My model gives the Dodgers a 55.2% chance of winning, which would mean that I see a slight edge in backing the Giants.
I am guessing the linemakers have the same numbers as I do, but based on betting activity are shading the lines on the Dodgers. LA is the favorite to win the World Series, and they are a very popular team.
My gut says that the Dodgers should win the Series and probably the Pennant, but based on value alone, it is worth betting on the Giants winning the NLDS.
Kevin Davis Series Winner Model Projection: Dodgers 55.2%
Braves-Brewers NLDS Series Winner Pick: Dodgers if (-113) or better, Giants if (+132) or better
Dodgers vs Giants NLDS Series Exact Score Bets
Best Bet: No Bets
Without boring you with the math, let me explain how my model calculated the odds of each exact series score.
To figure out the chances of each exact series score, I simulated each potential NLDS game 100,000 times. After my simulations in Microsoft Excel, I counted the number of times that each series ended in a specific score.
Unsurprisingly, all the Series Exact Score odds are efficiently set, as that market is correlated with the Series winner market. While my model sees a slight edge with the Giants winning the NLDS 3-1 at (+600) odds, that would involve the Giants beating Max Scherzer in Game 4.
In my opinion, that is not a spot I want to be in as a bettor, which is why I am avoiding the Series Exact Score markets in this NLDS.
Dodgers vs Giants NLDS Prediction (Kevin Davis Model; Breakeven Odds in Parentheses):
- Dodgers 3-0: 14.8% (+576)
- Dodgers 3-1: 22.1% (+354)
- Dodgers 3-2: 18.4% (+445)
- Giants 3-0: 9.8% (+918)
- Giants 3-1: 15.8% (+532)
- Giants 3-2: 19.1% (+422)
Thanks for reading our 2021 NLDS Dodgers vs Giants Predictions! For more MLB best bets, check out our MLB gameday odds.