Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Predictions, Odds, Best Bets, Starting Lineups for NLDS Game 3 (10/11/23)
The NLDS between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks shifts from L.A. to Arizona for Game 3 on Wednesday (10/11/23) at 9:07pm ET. The Diamondbacks have the Dodgers on the brink of elimination after winning the first 2 games in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers are the betting favorites at -130 on the moneyline, while the over/under is set at 10 runs. This article provides Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks analysis, predictions and best bets including a recommendation to back the Dodgers on the moneyline.
Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks Prediction
Starting pitchers: RHP Lance Lynn (13-11, 5.73 ERA) vs. RHP Brandon Pfaadt (3-9, 5.72 ERA)
Don’t tell the Dodgers or the Diamondbacks that pitching wins playoff games, as neither club is sending a particularly reliable starting pitcher to the mound for this pivotal game 3.
The Dodgers are relying on veteran Lance Lynn to save their season, at least early in the game. Expect manager Dave Roberts to have a short leash on Lynn and use his bullpen aggressively, especially if Lynn struggles early. That was his approach in Game 2 when he pulled struggling rookie Bobby Miller after just 1-2/3 innings.
Roberts considered starting Ryan Pepiot over Lynn in this game, and Pepiot would likely be the first arm out of the bullpen if Roberts needs a reliever to go multiple innings. The Dodgers have 4 strong relievers they can trust – Brusdar Graterol (1.20 ERA), Ryan Brasier (0.70 ERA), Joe Kelly (1.74 ERA) and closer Evan Phillips (2.05 ERA) – and just need Lynn, Pepiot and perhaps someone like Michael Grove to get them through probably the first 5 innings before those pitchers can take over.
Lynn pitched better for the Dodgers than he did for the White Sox this season. He had a 4.36 ERA in 11 starts after the Dodgers acquired him, and that number was inflated by two consecutive terrible outings (15 earned over 9 combined innings). In the other 9 starts, he pitched at least 5 innings each time and never allowed more than 3 earned runs, which translated to a 2.62 ERA. Of course, you can’t just ignore those 2 terrible outings, but you can have some confidence knowing the larger sample size was much better.
The big problem for Lynn was the long ball, as he allowed a league-high 44 home runs this season. The Dodgers were hoping that issue would improve after they acquired him, but Lynn allowed 16 of those dingers as a member of the Dodgers.
The good news for Lynn is that the Diamondbacks are not the most powerful lineup, relying more on speed and clutch hitting than power to score their runs. They were 22nd in home runs this season and dead last after the All-Star Break.
Even with his struggles this season, the veteran Lynn should give the Dodgers a small advantage on the mound at the start of this game, as the Diamondbacks are calling upon rookie Brandon Pfaadt to make his second career postseason start. Pfaadt started Game 1 of the NLWC against Milwaukee and lasted just 2-2/3 innings after allowing three runs on seven hits.
The 24-year-old righty struggled for most of his rookie season as he bounced between Triple-A and the majors a few times. He joined the Diamondbacks for good on July 22 and has pitched better since then, posting a 4.22 ERA over 13 starts (70-1/3 innings). Of concern for Arizona is that 2 of those starts came against the Dodgers, who tagged him for 10 runs (9 earned) over 8-2/3 innings.
With both clubs trotting out strong bullpens that have pitched well so far in the postseason, this could be the third game in a row where the early runs end up being the difference. The Diamondbacks have been much hotter at the plate so far in the playoffs, but we have more confidence in the Dodgers’ pitching than we do in the Diamondbacks in this game.
With their backs against the wall, the Dodgers will get the offense rolling early and carry that to a season-saving win. We would also lean towards betting the over, but with both managers expected to use the bullpens aggressively, that could limit the scoring late in the game and hold the total under 9.5, which is a relatively high number for a postseason game. As such, we’re avoiding the total and simply playing the Dodgers on the moneyline at -130.
Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks Prediction: Dodgers win 5-3
Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks Odds
The Dodgers are the betting favorites in this game with -130 moneyline odds, while the Diamondbacks moneyline is at +105.
The Dodgers are laying -1.5 runs on the spread at +125 odds while the Diamondbacks are getting +1.5 runs at -150.
There is some discrepancy in the market on the over/under, which is set at either 9.5 or 10.0 runs depending on the sportsbook. Oddly enough, the books setting the line at 9.5 have better odds on the under (e.g. +100 at Caesars), while the books at 10.0 like BetMGM have better odds on the over (-105).
Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks.
Brandon Pfaadt vs. top of Dodgers’ lineup
We expect the Dodgers to get their offense rolling early against Brandon Pfaadt, which was one of the reasons we picked the Dodgers in our Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks prediction. To do that, they need to get more production from their two best hitters at the top of the lineup: Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.
Those two have combined to go 1-for-13 in the first two games, which is simply not good enough for the Dodgers if they want to extend their season for at least 1 more game. Those two were 7-for-11 with 3 doubles, 1 home run and 4 RBIs against Pfaadt in 2 games in the regular season. Something more like that would probably be good enough for the Dodgers to get the win.
With both teams using shaky starting pitchers, the relief staffs in this game will play a huge role, just as they did in the first two games, particularly Game 2. With an off day yesterday, every arm should be available for both squads.
The Dodgers had the better bullpen in the regular season, finishing with the league’s third-best bullpen ERA at 3.42. Arizona’s season-long numbers do not look as good – a 4.22 ERA (18th) – but their high-leverage relievers have been excellent over the last few months. Lefty Andrew Saalfrank and righties Ryan Thompson, Kevin Ginkel and closer Paul Sewald combined for 3-2/3 scoreless innings in Game 2 and allowed just 1 hit.
The quality of the bullpens makes scoring runs early in the game critical for both clubs, especially the Dodgers. They will be feeling the pressure if they can’t score early and/or if the Diamondbacks do, especially after falling into early holes in each of the first two games.
Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks Starting Lineups (Projected)
Dodgers Starting Lineup
2B Mookie Betts (R)
1B Freddie Freeman (L)
C Will Smith (R)
3B Max Muncy (L)
DH J.D. Martinez (R)
RF Jason Heyward (L)
LF David Peralta (L)
CF James Outman (L)
SS Miguel Rojas (R)
Diamondbacks Starting Lineup
RF Corbin Carroll (L)
2B Ketel Marte (S)
DH Tommy Pham (R)
1B Christian Walker (R)
C Gabriel Moreno (R)
LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (R)
CF Alek Thomas (L)
3B Evan Longoria (R)
SS Geraldo Perdomo (S)