Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Los Angeles Angels Preview and Pick – Billingsley vs. Saunders

Los Angeles Dodgers (44-23) Chad Billingsley -105, 8 O/U at Los
Angeles Angels (35-29) Joe Saunders -105, 8 O/U, Angels Stadium,
Anaheim, Calif., 10:05 PM EST, Thursday

by Badger of Predictem.com

This years interleague battle for Los Angeles begins its final three
games Thursday night in Angels Stadium, when the Angels and lefty Joe
Saunders greet the Dodgers and ace Chad Billingsley for the opener to
the series.

The Dodgers come into the series with the best record in the Major
Leagues and fresh off of earning manager Joe Torre his 2,195th
career regular season victory. Orlando Hudson homered, Mark Loretta
delivered a clutch pinch-hit RBI and Randy Wolf went six strong as
the Dodgers gave Torre the milestone win to move him to 5th all-time
on the list.

The Dodgers continue to play great baseball without Manny, winning
four of their last five and nine of their last 14 games overall to
pull a full 9-games ahead of the pack in the National League West.
They havent lost a series since late May, and tonight hand the ball
to their best pitcher Billingsley.

But as good as all of that sounds, it just might be the Angels that
come into the series playing better.


The Angels had yesterday off after completing the sweep of the San
Francisco Giants Wednesday night by beating reigning NL Cy Young
winner Tim Lincecum, 4-3. The win was their sixth in a row and second
consecutive sweep, albeit against San Diego and the Giants.

Despite all of their pitching woes and injuries this season the
Angels are still six game above .500 and just a game-and-a-half
behind the Rangers in the American League West standings.

Baseball oddmakers have listed this game as a pick-em essentially, as
both teams are listed at -105 on the moneyline when youre betting on
the dimeline. The over/under total is currently listed at 8 across
the board at all of the offshore sportsbooks on the Web.

Billingsley has been the Dodgers best starter all season long with
solid season-long numbers across the board (9-3, 2.72 ERA, 1.23
WHIP), but the Dodgers are 11-3 in his 14 starts which earns him true
ace status.

Billingsley has been knocked around a little in his three starts
versus the Angels (1-2, 2.45). He took the loss back on May 24th when
the Angels got to him for five runs on eight hits in a 10-7 Angels
victory, but he has held them to .225 batting average and .300 on-
base percentage and threw seven innings of 3-hit shutout baseball in
his start against them last season.

Saunders will try and build off his last start, when he threw 8-plus
innings and only allowed one run on eight hits in a 9-1 victory over
the Padres. His two previous starts were downright stinky (4 runs vs.
Detroit, 6 runs vs. Toronto) and the Angels have only won seven of
his 13 starts overall, so hes not as glamorous as his 7-4 record
would indicate.

The Dodgers have faced Saunders twice, both last season. In his first
game he held them down (7.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R), but the second time around
in late June the Dodgers got to him for 10 hits in a 6-0 victory.
James Loney (3-for-5), Russell Martin (2-for-5, HR) and Hudson (2-
for-3, 2B) all have had success off Saunders in small sample sizes.

The Angels have owned the series lately as well. They took two of
three earlier this season in Dodgers Stadium, took two of three last
year in Angels Stadium and are 12-5 in the last 17 games head-to-head

The under has also been a solid wager, going 9-4 over the last 13
games and is 5-3-1 in Angels Stadium going back to the 2006 season.

Badgers Pick: Billingsley is the superior pitcher at super-low -105
odds, hard to pass on the Dodgers in this situation even if it may be
a trap. Take the Dodgers at -105.