The San Francisco Giants have been an ATM for bettors.
Last week in this spot, we pointed out that the Giants quietly had the best record in baseball and were underdogs in almost half of their games. The Giants won last Tuesday as an underdog. They went 4-1 on the week, winning twice as an underdog and twice as a small favorite.
Regular MLB bettors should know about the Giants' profit margin by now. It's still startling to see it written out: If someone bet $100 on the Giants in every game this season, they would be up $2,084 according to Covers.com. The season is not yet half finished.
On Monday, it's not much of a surprise the Giants are underdogs. They're facing the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants are a juicy +150 underdog at BetMGM for the first game of a key series.
If you knew nothing about the two teams and just looked at their results, you wouldn't understand why the Giants are such big underdogs. The Giants are 3.5 games ahead in the standings. Their run differential is +100, compared to +103 for the Dodgers. Los Angeles is a robust 26-13 at home, but San Francisco is a pretty good 24-16 on the road. Giants starter Anthony DeSclafani has a 2.77 ERA, and Dodgers starter Trevor Bauer checks in with a 2.57 ERA. The Giants are 8-2 in their last 10, while the Dodgers are 6-4. The Giants have a better team batting average (.241 to .240) and team ERA (3.21 to 3.28).
Of course, setting lines and handicapping is not as easy as a blind resume test.
The Dodgers are the most respected team in baseball, one that could go 150 straight games without being an underdog. They have an endless line of big stars. There's a reason a team that is second place in its division is still a heavy +350 favorite to win the World Series. No other team is shorter than +700 to win it all. The Dodgers are a brand name team and even if they haven't been great yet this season, there's good reason they're considered the best in baseball even if their record isn't showing it.
It will always be hard to bet against the Dodgers, even if they've lost $564 for that hypothetical bettor putting $100 on them every game. It's hard to let go of preconceived notions and reputations, even if the Giants have been the much better bet over the course of the season.
The Giants as an underdog are the right play for the opener of the series. The Dodgers will probably be playing with some urgency — something they may have lacked at times this season, coming off a World Series title — considering they're 3.5 games behind the Giants and don't want to fall too far behind. The Giants will likely be underdogs in both games of this quick two-game series.
Bettors who have been backing the Giants all season won't mind.
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