San Diego picked up an exciting 5-4 win over the Florida Marlins on Sunday in the series finale at Petco Park.  The Padres lead the division by 1.5 games over the second-place San Francisco Giants and their pitching staff leads the majors with a 3.25 ERA.  “We’re a confident group,” said infielder Jerry Hairston Jr.  “The last couple of days have been a little crazy.”  The club has the best road record in the National League at 28-20 (+1,440), joining the Giants and Reds as the only teams playing over .500 away from their home ball parks.  San Diego is an even 4-4 on the road when the total is 7 or less (+200) and the total is 2-5 O/U in those games.  The team has posted a 4-3 record over the last seven games due to limiting opponents to 3.1 runs per game and a .181 combined average.

Padres starting pitcher Clayton Richard is 8-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 21 starts this season and is looking to capture back-to-back wins for the first time since June 25-30.  The left-hander is 3-2 with a 3.79 ERA in nine road starts, giving up four home runs in 57 innings of work.  He has tallied a winning 7-3 mark and 3.17 ERA in 14 nighttime starts compared to a 1-2 record and 4.09 ERA in the day.  In three career starts versus the Dodgers, Richard is a perfect 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA, while not surrendering a home run against the division rivals.  He made five starts last month, posting a 2-1 record and 6.00 ERA, as his earned run average was three runs higher than any previous month this season.

Los Angeles has dropped 12 of 17 games since the All-Star break, managing to score just 2.1 runs per game and hitting a combined .199.  “I know we’re better and I know it’s going to turn around,” manager Joe Torre said.  “The only question is when is it going to happen?”  The Dodgers still carry an impressive 25-13 record against divisional opponents into this contest (+1,220) and the total is 16-22 O/U in those games.  Los Angeles has 34 of its remaining 57 games against the NL West.  The starting rotation has given the club every opportunity to win over the last 15 games, posting a combined 1.75 ERA.  Over their last nine starts, Dodgers starters have allowed just 10 earned runs in 63.2 innings.  In 33 games against left-handed starters, the team has a disappointing 14-19 record (-1,040), with the team averaging 3.8 runs and hitting for a combined .242 average.

Dodgers starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda is 8-9 with a 3.53 ERA in 20 starts this season, with the team alternating wins and losses in his last three outings.  He picked up a 6-1 loss against the Padres last time out, giving up three runs and four hits over six innings at Petco Park.  The right-hander is 4-3 with a 3.29 ERA in 10 home starts, managing to strike out 41 batters and walk 17 in 65.2 innings.  In five July starts, Kuroda tallied a 1-4 record and 4.40 ERA, but gave up just a single home run over that span.  He will be making his ninth career starts against the Padres, going 4-3 with a 4.85 ERA.

Bettors will need to watch the line, as the Padres are 26-25 as a road underdog of +100 to +125 the last three years (+450), but that profit drops if the line moves to +125 to +150 (-600).  The Dodgers are 6-5 after being shutout this year and 16-16 in this situation the last three seasons (-320).