Should You Fade Dodgers vs. Marlins? Why Road Teams Can Struggle in Miami

Aug 13, 2019 05:55 PM EDT
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Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins Betting Odds

  • Dodgers Moneyline: -200
  • Marlins Moneyline: +185
  • Over/Under: 8.5
  • First Pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

The Dodgers open a six-game road trip on Tuesday night, starting in Miami. They enter the road trip with the best winning percentage in all of baseball and had a day to travel following their home win over Arizona on Sunday, but are they at a disadvantage in Game 1 against the Marlins on Tuesday night?

Since 2014, teams coming off games in the Mountain or Pacific time zones before playing on the road in Miami are an atrocious 3-15 (16.7%) on the moneyline.

Teams in that spot have lost by an average of 2.2 runs over that span, making Miami the least profitable city for teams traveling from the West.

There are a few different theories regarding why these road teams struggle:

  • The Travel: Even though the Dodgers have a day off for travel, the cross-country lag is meaningful. Two of the three teams to win in Miami in this spot had more than a single day off after the road trip. (Teams with one or fewer days are 1-15 on the moneyline.)
  • The City:  As my colleague Vik Chokshi — who detailed how NBA teams have struggled on the road against the Heat after a day off in the city — playing in Miami at any point, with any number of days off, in any sport is a bit of a challenge.
  • The Line: Since 2014, the Marlins are 411-514 (.444) on the moneyline, which is the fourth-worst record in baseball. Over that span, they’ve been listed as an underdog in 656 games (second-most in MLB). On brand, the Marlins are +180 home underdogs on Tuesday night.

It’s worth noting the correlation between the difference in location and win percentage when focusing on the road team’s previous game.

While the 18 teams coming from the Mountain or Pacific time zones went 3-15 in the first game of their series, teams coming off games in the Eastern or Central time zones went 70-57 (55.1%) and actually profited bettors $962 on a $100 per game basis.

Due to the travel distance and the large betting lines, it’s not surprising to see that in the Bet Labs database, which dates back to 2005, teams are 54-78 (40.9%) when facing the Marlins — at home or on the road — in the first game of a series after playing their previous game in the Mountain or Pacific time zones.

Teams in that spot have lost bettors $3,165 against the Marlins, which is the most in all of baseball by an astounding $1,379.

At 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday, the Dodgers announced that Clayton Kershaw would pitch Wednesday, instead of his scheduled start on Tuesday.

The Dodgers turn to Dustin May to open the series in Miami. May is a rookie who was called up on August 2nd and is making his 3rd appearance for L.A.

The betting markets have taken notice of the switch, moving the Dodgers from -290 with Kershaw on the mound to -200 with the rookie May.

Which Dodgers team will we see to open the series on Tuesday night?

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