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December 20, 2014

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Vegas Play of the Day: Padres at Dodgers

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Rick Rycroft / AP

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig, left, is about to be tagged out at third base by the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Marin Prado during the second game of the two-game Major League Baseball opening series between the two teams at the Sydney Cricket ground in Sydney on Sunday, March 23, 2014.

The struggle multiplies every time I get close to eclipsing the $10,000 starting bankroll of the Play of the Day, which uses odds from the South Point.

A two-game losing streak has spiraled my record down to below .500 and knocked my bankroll down to less than $9,000. A new day means a new opportunity.

And, in this case, a new sport.

San Diego Padres even money vs. Los Angeles Dodgers: $300 to win $300

The Padres are one of my bet-on teams to start the baseball season. One of the big reasons for optimism is pitcher Andrew Cashner, who starts in tonight’s opener at Petco Park opposite the Dodgers’ Hyun Jin-Ryu.

Cashner enters the season as one of the most underrated starters in baseball. He flummoxed the Dodgers a season ago, pitching 26.2 innings against San Diego’s I-5 rival and giving up just four runs while striking out 20 batters.

Cashner also has a young lineup around him with more than a couple breakout candidates. First baseman Yonder Alonso, second baseman Jedd Gyorko shortstop Everth Cabrera and third baseman Chase Headley lead a group of players under 30-years-old with significant potential.

If they all come together, San Diego could challenge for a wild-card spot this season. A National League West pennant might be out of reach because of how far ahead the Dodgers’ personnel make them.

Los Angeles is deserving of all the acclaim it’s gotten headed into the season. This just doesn’t look like the best spot.

The Dodgers are coming back from Australia, where they won two games against the Diamondbacks but lost tonight’s expected starter in Clayton Kershaw to a disabled-list stint. Home field advantage rarely comes into play in baseball, but San Diego should be eager to play a team it considers a rival to open the season.

Standings: Bern (17-11, $11,390), Keefer (13-14, $8,967), Brewer (9-15-3, $5,960)

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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