The Arizona Diamondbacks take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Check out our MLB odds series for our Diamondbacks Dodgers prediction and pick.

Merrill Kelly takes the ball for the Diamondbacks, while Clayton Kershaw gets the call for the Dodgers.

Merrill Kelly has a 3.01 ERA. He has been absolutely brilliant at times this season. He posted a 1.31 ERA in the month of July and was similarly strong for multi-week periods before the All-Star break. However, in his last five starts, he has clearly faced a bumpy path, allowing at least three runs in four of those starts. He isn’t getting shelled, but he is giving up home runs and getting poked over the course of a six- or seven-inning start. The Diamondbacks are not built to win games in which Kelly or any other starter allows four runs in seven innings. They don’t have the deep batting order which can win 6-4 or 7-5 ballgames on a consistent basis. Over the course of the full season, Kelly has been really good. He has added to the team’s sense of optimism for 2023, given how impressive the starting rotation has been in 2022. That said, Kelly has reached a high standard in previous months. He needs to regain that standard in the final few starts of his season.

Clayton Kershaw is in a similar position to Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros. He has performed really well this season (2.44 ERA), but he is coming off an injury, so the purpose of his starts before the playoffs is to re-establish a rhythm, not so much to win games. The Dodgers and Astros are both in comfortable positions regarding the No. 1 seed in their respective leagues, so much as Verlander went only five innings in his return from injury last Friday, one shouldn’t expect Kershaw to go more than five or six innings here. The Dodgers have a doubleheader on Tuesday, which might lead some to think they need seven innings from Kershaw, but they can’t overwork him. They need him for the NLDS.

Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Diamondbacks-Dodgers MLB odds.

MLB Odds: Diamondbacks-Dodgers Odds

Arizona Diamondbacks: +1.5 (1)

Los Angeles Dodgers: -1.5 (-1)

Over: 8 (-112)

Under: 8 (-108)

Why The Diamondbacks Could Cover the Spread

The Dodgers have already passed the 100-win mark and are obviously the far better team, but they do not have supreme urgency in their remaining regular-season games. As we noted above, Clayton Kershaw’s priority in this game is not to win, but to re-establish a rhythm so that his body and his arm are in good shape for the playoffs. The Dodgers are playing a doubleheader with the D-Backs on Tuesday, so you’re likely to see Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts cycle players through the lineup. You’re not likely to see the Dodgers at their best in this game. Also, the Dodgers played a rain-delayed extra-inning Sunday night game in San Francisco against the Giants. They got in late to L.A. Monday morning. The D-Backs are comparatively more rested, and they have a good pitcher, Merrill Kelly, on the bump.

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Why The Dodgers Could Cover the Spread

The Dodgers just keep winning. They don’t have to win these games — they have the top seed in the National League salted away — but they just keep getting big outs from their starting staff and their bullpen. Clayton Kershaw has a 2.44 ERA and is still a reliable, trustworthy pitcher. Five strong innings from Kershaw, then four strong innings from the pen, will give the Dodgers more than enough to win yet another game.

Final Diamondbacks-Dodgers Prediction & Pick

This is a stay-away game, but if you insist on a pick, the Diamondbacks might catch the Dodgers adjusting their lineups and giving players rest with a doubleheader on tap for Tuesday.

Final Diamondbacks-Dodgers Prediction & Pick: Diamondbacks +1.5