WS Game 5 betting preview: Kershaw out to cement legacy

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I'm still buzzing from Game 4, and it has little to do with winning another bet (which took us to 3-1 overall on World Series bets). It has everything to do with Saturday providing one of the best baseball games I've ever watched.

Now, just imagine how the players feel. Game 5 goes Sunday night, and given the matchup on the mound, it's shaping up to be another memorable one.

Dodgers (-155) at Rays (+135), 8:08 p.m. ET

There is something intrinsically romantic about October baseball, and Game 5 could go down as one of the greatest love stories that the sport has ever told. The scene is set and the script is almost written. It's up to Clayton Kershaw to deliver one of the final acts.

While the Dodgers are desperate to end a 31-year championship drought, this game is very much about the individual taking the mound for them tonight. Kershaw's Hall of Fame career has been sullied somewhat by a succession of postseason failures. However, the 32-year-old - coming off a dominant performance in Game 1 - takes the mound with the opportunity to exercise his playoff demons and take a huge step toward adding an elusive World Series title to his illustrious resume. Win or lose, this is the game he'll be remembered for.

From a betting perspective, this is a very tough game to cap. It's the sort of contest that can be analyzed until you're blue in the face, but the magnitude of the occasion is so big that the mental side of the game will play a massive role. Either Kershaw puts in a Hall of Fame-worthy start or the yips of past World Series get to him and he brings his club to the brink of elimination.

You also have to wonder what his teammates' mental states are like. In a game full of momentum swings, the biggest came in the dying seconds, and it could have drastic ramifications for the Dodgers. It's unknown just how large a ripple will it cause for Dave Roberts' team, which, instead of having a chance to win the World Series on Sunday, is instead facing a pivotal Game 5 with momentum firmly behind the Rays. With two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth, the Dodgers might have thrown more than just the game away.

They now turn to Kershaw in the hope of avoiding yet another World Series failure. Prior to the series, Kershaw had allowed 16 runs, including five homers, in 22 2/3 innings. He twirled a gem in Game 1, allowing just one run on two hits while striking out eight in six innings. But the vibe is very different heading into Game 5. The Dodgers were buzzing from a Game 7 NLCS win when Kershaw last took the mound. Now, he'll be hoping to stop another postseason collapse in its tracks.

The Rays will counter with Tyler Glasnow, a pitcher with his own Hall of Fame aspirations who's presented with an opportunity to build on his own legacy. It's been a rough postseason for the 27-year-old, whose 6.02 FIP backs up his 6.08 ERA. He's been taken deep seven times in under 24 innings, but this is something of a clean slate for him. At one point last night, he was warming up in the bullpen. Now, he has the chance to deliver the Rays their first lead of the series.

I rarely advise bettors to gamble with their gut. It's normally an easy path to failure, but there are occasions when you have to go with what you feel. In a game where momentum and history both weigh heavily, which pitcher - and team - do you trust? I expect both hurlers to be at their absolute best Sunday given the magnitude of the occasion, which would result in the under cashing for the first time in the Fall Classic. What's your gut telling you?

Pick: Under 8 (-110)

Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.

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