Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves Pick & Analysis

by | Oct 17, 2021 | mlb

Los Angeles Dodgers (110-59) vs. Atlanta Braves (92-74)
When: 7:40 p.m., Saturday, October 17
Where: Truist Park, Atlanta
Moneyline: LAD -180/ATL +160 (Best Sportsbooks)
Runline: Dodgers -1.5/Braves +1.5
Total: 7.5

Starting Pitchers: Max Scherzer vs. Ian Anderson

Taking the Edge

Based on the records, this series should have started in Los Angeles. But because of the emphasis placed on winning your division, the Braves have home-field advantage in this series despite winning 19 games fewer than the Dodgers. It’s a completely ridiculous situation, but so far, the Braves have taken advantage by getting the early edge in the NLCS. The big question is whether the Braves can avoid sending the series back to Los Angeles with it tied at 1. Usually, the team that starts the series on the road is trying to get itself into the series by stealing one game on the road, but the Dodgers are such an overwhelming favorite in this matchup that the Braves almost certainly need two wins at home before traveling to California if they have any hope of winning this series.

Atlanta’s played a lot better since the start of the season and did push the Dodgers to seven games last season, but they haven’t faced the Dodgers in a true road game in the postseason in the past two seasons yet, so getting their home games is going to be critical. If the Braves can’t get a win here, their chances of winning this series take a huge hit.

Big Game Pitcher

Usually, when a starter comes in as a reliever, it turns into a disaster. But Max Scherzer came up big in the NLDS, slamming the door on the Giants for his first career save rather than turn a one-run game over to the Dodgers’ shaky bullpen.

Scherzer has proven that there’s no moment that’s too big for him, but there are two worries here. First, the fact that the Dodgers handed the game to Scherzer showed a distinct lack of confidence in the bullpen, which means Atlanta’s goal should be to play Scherzer to a draw for seven innings and then try to win the game off a bullpen that Los Angeles doesn’t trust. Second, the Braves did tag Scherzer for four runs when they faced him earlier this season. Granted, that took place back in April at the start of the year, and Scherzer is usually a lot easier to hit in April as he gets up to game speed. Facing him in October will be a much different experience for the Braves, who did strike out nine times in that game.

Shining in October

If the Braves get anything close to the Ian Anderson who pitched in last year’s postseason, they’ll be absolutely thrilled. Atlanta was pleasantly surprised with how well Anderson pitched in the playoffs a year ago, as he registered an ERA of 0.96 and picked up a pair of wins while striking out 24 batters in just under 19 innings of work. He only gave up two runs in four appearances last season and was a big reason why Atlanta was able to get as far as it did despite pitching problems last season.

Anderson really struggled in his most recent matchup with Los Angeles, giving up four runs in 4.1 innings of work last time, but that was also back in June. The Braves have won four straight at home with him on the hill, and he’s been excellent all season at night.

Betting Trends

  • The Dodgers are 4-1 in their past five LCS games.
  • The Dodgers are 45-14 in their past 59 games overall.
  • The Braves are 9-2 in their past 11 games after a win.
  • The Braves are 8-2 in their past 10 playoff home games.
  • The over is 8-2 in the Dodgers’ past 10 Sunday games.
  • The under is 4-1 in the Dodgers’ past five road games.
  • The under is 5-1 in the Braves’ past six games overall.
  • The under is 6-1 in the Braves’ past seven games after a win.
  • The Dodgers are 40-19 in their past 59 meetings.
  • The under is 5-0 in the teams’ past five matchups.

Weather Report

The east is cooling off quickly, and the temperature will fall to 61 degrees by first pitch. Wind could push the ball toward the stands, as it’s blowing eight miles per hour toward dead center.

Dan’s pick

Atlanta has played well at home, but I’m not betting against Scherzer after he’s coming off the high of picking up his first career save. He’s pitched well against the Braves in the past, and he should do the same here. Give me Los Angeles to even the series in a low-scoring game.

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