MLB Playoffs Braves vs. Brewers Betting Odds, Pick, Prediction: NLDS Game 1 Preview (October 8)
John Adams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Freddie Freeman talks to first base coach Eric Young Sr.
Braves vs. Brewers Odds
|Over/Under||7 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||4:37 p.m. ET|
|Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
We have been treated to some incredibly great pitching performances so far in the postseason, and this game should deliver just that. A matchup between Charlie Morton and Corbin Burnes is all we could have asked for out of this series, and the series in general is a pretty good one.
With a 3-3 split in the regular season with plenty of nail-biters mixed in, these teams know each other well. With little between them, then, is it unfair to make the Brewers heavy favorites, or are they deserving? Let’s answer that question.
Hot Braves Turn To Morton
The Braves had a rocky start to their season, but they’ve turned it on in the second half of the season. Atlanta finished off the year with an 18-10 record across September and October, running out to a 44-28 record in the second half. Down the stretch, the pitching has made the difference.
The Braves compiled the third-best staff ERA in baseball in the second half of the year, producing a shiny 3.24 ERA in the bullpen. Tyler Matzek has been a hold machine in the back-end, A.J. Minter seems to have figured things out, and Luke Jackson has emerged as a dominant arm. This is a collection of talent that is going to be lethal in October, following up on a strong showing in 2020.
Morton will take the ball for the Braves, and his curveball is still spinning faster than almost everyone’s in baseball. He operated with a 3.32 xERA in 2021 and has enjoyed a stellar second half with a 3.01 ERA in 15 starts, striking out 102 in 86 2/3 innings.
Morton is also the proud owner of a 3.38 ERA in his 13 postseason outings, which span 61 1/3 innings. He’s a hard man to fade around this time of year and had a lengthy scoreless streak for Tampa Bay during last year’s postseason.
The Braves probably won’t need many runs behind Morton and this strong bullpen, but it helps that they had an offense just outside the top 10 in wRC+ over the last two weeks and Austin Riley, who vaulted himself into some likely MVP votes with a late surge.
Brewers Hope Offense Can Regain Life
This is a really weird time for the Brewers. While their pitching staff has never wavered in its dominance, ranking third in ERA for the season and fourth in the second half, this offense has been tough to read.
The lineup was one of the worst in baseball for the first few months, then Willy Adames, Jace Peterson and Luis Urias helped give it a boost. Just when the Brewers looked unstoppable, their offense slipped back into a slump, and they have to face the fact that, in the second half of the season, the numbers would indicate they were perfectly average at the plate with a 98 wRC+. It helps that Christian Yelich has finally seemed to figure things out, but it clearly hasn’t helped enough.
With a sputtering offense, Burnes should be the story here. He hasn’t been quite as sharp as he was in the first few months of the season, but it’s hard to argue with a 2.42 ERA in September being “bad.”
One troubling thing could be the Braves’ success against Burnes when they saw him back in July; Atlanta hung five runs on the bearded righty, collecting nine hits, two walks and a homer. While it’s just one game, we’ve seen historical matchups come into play plenty of times already this postseason.
Road teams had yet to win a game entering Friday, but I think that should turn around here in Milwaukee. The Brewers were a great story in July, but it’s hard to deny this offense doesn’t pack quite the same punch as it did back then.
It’s a hard proposition, then, to lay this kind of price with these bats against a masterful postseason pitcher in Charlie Morton, who comes in on a roll.
Runs very may well be at a premium, but we can say for sure here that the Braves are the value play in a game that should be closer to a pick ’em, and with Burnes’ slight dip in production and his past with the Braves, I could see Atlanta hanging a couple on the righty.
Pick: Braves ML (+135)