MLB playoffs betting (October 21): Lester takes ball for pivotal LA Game 5

Updated: October 20, 2016

NLCS Game 5 featured betting preview: Chicago Cubs (103-58, 41-39 away) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (91-71, 53-28 home); Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA; Friday, October 21, 11.00am (AEDT) – starting pitchers: Jon Lester (CHC, 0-0, 1.50 ERA); Kenta Maeda (LAD, 0-0, 6.75 ERA)



Kenta Maeda will be the first to face the revitalized Chicago Cubs, who tied the National League Championship Series 2-2 with a 10-2 victory last night at Dodger Stadium, which was quite a bit quieter than when Rich Hill mowed down the Cubs in Game 3. Jon Lester, who has emerged as the anchor of Joe Maddon’s deep starting rotation, goes for the Cubs. When a best-of-seven LCS is tied 2-2, the team that wins Game 5 is 12-3. That includes a 7-2 mark when taking a 3-2 lead at home, which the Dodgers would do if they win tonight. The 2004 Cardinals rallied to beat the Astros, the 1991 Braves caught the Pirates, and the 1987 Cardinals beat the Giants.

Overall, teams that have won Game 5 in a deadlocked best-of-seven series have gone on to win the series 40 times in 57 chances (70.2 percent), including a 21-13 record when winning Game 5 at home and 19-4 mark when winning on the road. Los Angeles played sloppily and committed four errors in Game 4 but that didn’t sway the decision announced earlier in the day by manager Dave Roberts to not pitch ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw again until Game 6 in Chicago. Roberts reiterated that right-hander Maeda will pitch tonight after Kershaw was heavily used (three starts, one relief appearance) over the past 10 days.



The Chicago Cubs went 21 innings without scoring before the offense broke out and now aim to regain the series lead. First baseman Anthony Rizzo and shortstop Addison Russell each broke out of deep postseason slumps as Chicago racked up 13 hits in the 10-2 win. Rizzo (three RBIs) and Russell (two) were each 3-for-5 with a homer to end deep postseason funks which meant they entered Game 4 with a combined 3-for-50 showing (2-for-26 for Rizzo and 1-for-24 for Russell). Lester (1-0, 0.64), who didn’t factor into the decision in Game 1 against the Dodgers, allowed a run on four hits with three strikeouts and a walk in six innings in the series opener.

However, Maddon lifted him for a pinch-hitter despite Lester (pictured above) throwing only 77 pitches (47 strikes). Lester wasn’t pleased with Maddon’s decision initially but said he calmed down once he got in the dugout. Lester has a stellar 2.57 ERA in 18 postseason appearances (16 starts) but owns only a 7-6 record. In his last start at Dodger Stadium, Lester, who finished the regular season 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA in 32 starts, threw six scoreless innings in a 1-0 win by Los Angeles. The recent record of both sides are littered with ‘overs’ but, notably, the under is 14-4 in the past 18 meetings between the Cubs and the Dodgers.



Confirmed betting (card finalised)

NLCS Game 5: Chicago Cubs @ Los Angeles Dodgers -7/total (one unit @ $2.09)


Playoff record: 8-7, +0.49 units; overall regular season record: 436-24-325, +92.64 units

ALCS Game 5: Cleveland Indians @ Toronto Blue Jays -8/total (one unit @ $2.00) WIN (3-0)
NLCS Game 4: Chicago Cubs WIN @ Los Angeles Dodgers (one unit @ $1.96) WIN (10-2)

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT); prices with thanks to William Hill (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Bets void if listed pitchers do not start. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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