NL Playoff Pick: Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers 10/4/18
Time: 8:35 PM ET
Where: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Listed Pitchers: Mike Foltynewicz (Atl) vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu (LA)
Moneyline: Braves +160/Dodgers -170
The Braves clinched their division title with a week to spare, while it took a playoff for the Dodgers to secure theirs. Might Los Angeles have an edge on Atlanta for this National League divisional series, having played meaningful baseball more recently? And how are we playing the opener of this best-of-five affair with our daily free MLB picks?
MLB Playoffs Betting Line
Thursday’s MLB playoffs betting odds opened LA at upwards of -205 over Atlanta, with an over/under of 6.5 runs. The early betting action then dropped that line all the way down to around -170 and bumped the total to 7.
The Dodgers could also be found getting around +115 giving the run and a half on the MLB run line.
Atlanta finished 90-72 this season and won the NL East at odds of around 20/1. The Braves finished by dropping two of three games to both the Mets and Phillies last week, but as mentioned above they had already secured their division crown by that time.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, the defending National League champs, finished 91-71 this year, tied with Colorado for the top spot in the NL West. The Dodgers ended with a three-game sweep of the Giants in San Francisco, then beat the Rockies in a playoff Monday 5-2, avoiding a trip to Chicago for that NL wild-card game.
The Dodgers took the season series from the Braves five games to two, outscoring Atlanta 35-18.
Lefty Ryu (7-3, 1.97), by our strict standards, is 9/15 on quality starts this season and three for his last three. Last Friday he held the Giants to one run and four hits through six innings, and over his previous three starts, he’s allowed just that one run and 12 hits through 19 frames. On the season Los Angeles is 10-5 with Ryu, 3-0 over his last three outings.
This will be Ryu’s first start against Atlanta since 2014, and that’s already a long time ago.
Foltynewicz (13-10, 2.85) is 12/31 on quality starts this year, and three for his last five. Last Friday he held Philly to one run and one hit through five innings, with nine strikeouts, and just before that he held those same Phillies to two runs and two hits through 7 1/3 innings. In fact, over his last five starts, he’s allowed more than two runs just once, in a burp of a performance against St. Louis two weeks ago. On the season the Braves are somehow only 15-16 with Foltynewicz, but 3-1 over his last four outings.
In one start this year against the Dodgers Foltynewicz allowed four runs and six hits, including a couple of homers, through five innings of a 4-1 Braves loss.
Based on Ryu’s great recent run and that iffy outing by Foltynewicz against LA earlier this year we’re giving the Dodgers a slight edge in this pitching match-up.
Thursday’s Batting Splits
Atlanta owns a .269/.336/.444 team batting average/OBP/slugging percentage split against left-handed pitching this season.
The Dodgers own a .255/.337/.458 slash against right-handed pitching this year.
We’ll call this battle of the bats a push.
The Braves bullpen owns a 4.15 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP.
The Los Angeles pen owns a 3.72 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.
We gotta give the Dodgers the edge in the bullpen comparison.
- Unders are 41-36 in games played at Dodger Stadium this year, which are averaging 8.1 total runs per.
- Unders are 6-2 in Atlanta’s last eight games, mainly thanks to some very good Braves pitching.
- Overs are 6-2-1 in LA’s last nine games.
- Overs are 4-3 in Braves-Dodgers games this season.
Free MLB Picks
We’re giving Los Angeles one total star on our main baseball handicapping factors for this game, but that’s not enough to justify the price on this contest. Betting baseball is very often based on value, and here the value resides with the underdog. Also, Atlanta is 5-5 and +$260 when Foltynewicz is a dog this year. We’re taking the Braves for our free MLB pick for Thursday.