Dodgers vs. Rangers prediction and odds for Friday, July 21 (How to bet the battle of first place teams)

The Dodgers and Rangers meet in Arlington in a battle of two of the best teams in baseball.

Jul 16, 2023; New York City, New York, USA;  Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Mookie Betts (50)
Jul 16, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Mookie Betts (50) / Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers are realizing their ceiling, taking first place from the Arizona Diamondbacks and looking towards contending for a World Series.

The team is in Arlington to face the AL West-leading Texas Rangers for a weekend series. The team will hope that last year's NL Cy Young contender Tony Gonsolin can pitch himself into form after starting the season on the injured list, while the Dodgers surging lineup is hoping to tee off on former teammate Andrew Heaney.

Here's the odds and our best bet for Dodgers vs. Rangers:

Dodgers vs. Rangers odds, run line and total

Dodgers vs. Rangers prediction and pick

The Rangers enter as arguably the best offense in baseball. The team is tops in on-base percentage and will face Gonsolin, who has only made 14 starts this season after battling some injuries, and has some poor underlying metrics. He has pitched to a 3.72 ERA, but his xERA sits at 4.88, indicating that regression could be coming for him.

However, the Dodgers offense should be up to the task, ranking second in walk rate in the big leagues and fourth in on-base percentage. The Los Angeles lineup is hitting the ball real well, as the team has risen up the National League standings and should be in a strong position to rake against Heaney, who has showcased poor control all season, walking nearly four batters per nine innings with a Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) of 5.03.

With too many free bases dished out, Heaney will be in trouble all night, and the Rangers' below league-average bullpen (yes, even with Chapman) will struggle to keep the Dodgers from plating enough runs.

Gonsolin gives me pause considering his poor underlying metrics, so I'll opt for the over on Friday night.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.