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Dog of the Day: First-place Cardinals are big underdogs against Dodgers

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There are reasons to not fully trust the St. Louis Cardinals or Jack Flaherty. 

The Cardinals are one of baseball's biggest outliers in terms of record vs. run differential. They are 28-23 despite a run differential of just +5. The Chicago Cubs, a half-game behind the Cardinals in the NL Central, are +27. 

Flaherty has a 2.84 ERA, but his FIP is 3.48 and his xFIP is 4.02 (advanced metrics on Fangraphs that give a pitcher league average luck on balls in play), indicating a regression might come. Flaherty's strikeouts are down this season and his ERA is boosted by good luck on his home run-to-fly ball ratio and batting average on balls in play. 

Still, getting a good first-place team at +150 odds at BetMGM is tough to ignore. That's the power of the Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers haven't been underdogs in a game since 2019, and while they are a very good team, their lines are often inflated. It's hard to bet against the Dodgers, who have MLB's best roster. But they aren't unbeatable. 

The San Francisco Giants took the final three games of a four-game series against the Dodgers last week. Los Angeles is 31-22, a good record but behind what everyone expected of the Dodgers this season. 

The Dodgers will have Trevor Bauer on the mound, and he's tough to bet against. One reason the Dodgers haven't been underdogs in two seasons is they have amazing starting pitching depth. But Flaherty is very good as well, and capable of keeping the Cardinals in the game. 

The Dodgers have not been good to bettors this season. If someone put $100 on every Dodgers game this season, they'd be down $493 on the season according to Covers.com. There's always some trepidation betting against the Dodgers, but Monday is a pretty good spot for it. 

Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty will take on the Dodgers on Monday night. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty will take on the Dodgers on Monday night. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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