NLCS Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers Game 1
Time:8:05 PM ET
Where:Miller Park, Milwaukee, WI
Listed Pitchers:Clay Kershaw (LA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (Mil)
TV: FS – 1
Moneyline:Dodgers -160/Brewers +150
The Milwaukee Brewers own the home-field advantage for this National League championship series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and they’re the betting underdogs for Game 1. How are we playing Friday’s series opener with our daily free MLB picks?
MLB Playoffs Betting Line
Friday’s MLB betting odds opened LA at around -160 for Game 1, with an over/under of 7.5 runs. Both figures were holding steady in the early betting action.
The Dodgers could also be found getting around +100 giving the run and a half on the MLB run line.
Los Angeles finished 91-71 this season, tied for first place in the NL West with Colorado. The Dodgers then defeated the Rockies in a one-game playoff to decide the division title, then dispatched of Atlanta in four games in an NL divisional-round series.
Going back a couple of weeks Los Angeles is 7-1 over its last eight games.
Milwaukee, meanwhile, finished 95-67 this season, tied for first place in the NL Central with the Cubs. The Brewers then defeated Chicago at Wrigley Field in a one-game playoff to decide the division title, then swept Colorado in three games in an NLDS.
In fact, Milwaukee carries an 11-game winning streak into this NLCS; the last time the Brewers lost a game was Sept. 22.
LA took the regular-season series with Milwaukee four games to three.
Friday’s Starting Arms
Lefty Gonzalez (10-11, 4.21), by our strict standards, is only 11/32 on quality starts this season, and while he’s only 1/5 since joining the Brewers in that trade with Washington six weeks ago some of that is due to a short leash. Twelve days ago he tossed five innings of three-hit, shutout ball against Detroit, and in his five starts for Milwaukee, he’s allowed just six earned runs and 14 hits through 25 1/3 innings. While with the Nationals they went 11-16 in his starts, but the Brewers are 5-0 with him.
This will be Gonzalez’ first start against the Dodgers since June of last season when he held them to two runs through six innings of a 4-2 Washington victory.
Fellow southpaw Kershaw (10-5, 2.60) is 20/27 on quality starts this year. Last Friday, in an NLDS start against Atlanta, Kershaw tossed eight innings of two-hit, shutout ball. However, in two starts previous to that against Arizona and San Francisco he gave up eight runs and 14 hits through 11 innings.
On the season the Dodgers are 17-10 with Kershaw and 9-0 over his last nine starts.
In two starts this year against Milwaukee Kershaw allowed six runs, but only three ER, and 12 hits, including a couple of homers, through 12 innings, with 12 strikeouts. LA split those two games.
The Dodgers and Kershaw are obvious picks to get our handicapping check-mark for this pitching match-up, but his struggles in the playoffs are well known. And Gonzalez has been good for the Brewers. So LA’s advantage in this department is a slim one.
Game 1 Batting Splits
The Dodgers posted a .240/.324/.409 team batting average/OBP/slugging percentage split against left-handed pitching this season. This lineup also hit eight home runs in the four-game series against the Braves.
Milwaukee put up a .254/.323/.419 split against lefties this year.
We’re giving the Brewers a short edge in the splits with the sticks for Game 1.
The Los Angeles bullpen posted a 3.72 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP this season while going 48/74 on save opportunities.
The Milwaukee pen put up a 3.47 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP while going 49/74 on save conversions this season. This unit was also excellent in the NLDS against the Rockies, allowing just two runs and eight hits through 17 1/3 innings of work, winning one game all by itself.
We’ll give the Brewers a short edge in the comparison of the bullpens, too.
Unders are 42-39 in games played at Miller Park this year, which are averaging 8.6 total runs per.
Unders are 19-12 in Gonzalez’ starts this year.
Overs are 4-3 in Dodgers-Brewers games this season.
Free MLB Picks
We’re pegging Los Angeles as a short favorite of around -120 on our own private MLB betting line for this game, which means the betting value here resides with Milwaukee. So we’re betting the Brewers at Intertops for our free MLB pick on Game 1 of this NLCS.