Braves vs. Dodgers MLB Odds, Picks: NLCS Game 5 Betting Preview (October 21)

Braves vs. Dodgers MLB Odds, Picks: NLCS Game 5 Betting Preview (October 21) article feature image

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Eddie Rosario

  • The Dodgers are a short favorite over the Braves in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series on Thursday night (8:08 p.m. ET, TBS).
  • Atlanta can clinch its ticket to the World Series with a win behind lefty Max Fried, and we're betting on them to get it done.
  • Get our full Dodgers vs. Braves pick and preview below.

Braves vs. Dodgers Odds

Braves Odds+125
Dodgers Odds-145
Over/Under8 (-110 / -110)
Time8:08 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Dodgers would already be cleaning out their lockers if not for Cody Bellinger's game-tying three-run shot in the eighth inning of Game 3. However, that momentum was short-lived as Atlanta pounded Los Angeles for nine runs in Game 4 — including four insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning. Five of those runs came against the Dodgers' Julio Urías, who was baseball's only 20-game winner in baseball this season.

Injuries have been a big part of the Dodgers' struggles as they've prevented them from setting up their rotation as they would've liked. The Dodgers resorted to a bullpen game in the series opener against the Braves. Now, with Max Scherzer intimating that he's pitching with a dead arm, Los Angeles is left to cobble a bunch of relievers again in a win-or-go-home scenario in Game 5.

Can the Dodgers salvage a win to keep their season alive? Let's take a look.

Fried Is The Man For Braves

Atlanta has a 3-1 advantage in the NLCS against the Dodgers for the second straight year. Much of the postseason talk centered on the winner of the Dodgers-Giants series representing the National League in the World Series. Not too many included Atlanta in that discussion, especially since it would be up against an opponent that won at least 106 regular-season games.

However, in a postseason that's been marred by subpar pitching in both leagues, the Braves' hitters are displaying the kind of power that led to a .191 ISO during the regular season. Atlanta can certainly do some damage up and down its batting order. And when you add that hitting to a rotation that's been relatively intact this postseason, that's a dangerous combination for any team.

The Braves won the division, so they didn't have to worry about disrupting their rotation for the postseason. That's why they can send Max Fried to the mound on his regular four days of rest for this Game 5 start.

Fried has been scintillating this postseason as he's produced a quality start in his two outings. In 12 innings of work, he's only allowed two runs, and his 1.86 GB/FB ratio is right in line with his production during the regular season (1.87).

Keep in mind that the Dodgers haven't been as successful against left-handers compared to righties. During the regular season, Los Angeles had a .319 OBP vs. left-handers compared to .334 against right-handers. In the playoffs, that number's down to .259 against lefties and .327 when facing righties.

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Dodgers Must Win To Survive

While Los Angeles has yet to announce a starter for Game 5, it'll likely be a bullpen game for the Dodgers as they try to stave off elimination. I suspect that we'll probably see some combination of Justin Bruihl, Tony Gonsolin, Alex Vesia, Joe Kelly, and Blake Treinen on Thursday night.

Los Angeles used all five pitchers in Game 1, and neither has thrown more than 20 pitchers in the last three days. Although the Dodgers' bullpen held the Braves to two runs through eight innings in that game, Atlanta's third baseman, Austin Riley, sent everyone home with a dramatic walk-off hit in the ninth inning.


Game 1 of the NLCS goes to Atlanta.

(via @Braves)

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 17, 2021

The problem for the Dodgers is they've been beset by injuries leading into the postseason. First, they lost their future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw for the season with a forearm and shoulder injury. Then their first baseman, Max Muncy, suffered a dislocated shoulder on the final day of the regular season.

On Wednesday, third baseman Justin Turner hobbled off the field with a Grade-2 hamstring strain. There's no question that the Dodgers are a deep team, but this is an uphill challenge if they're to be without their two starting corner infielders for the remainder of this series.

Los Angeles used its experience to come back from a 3-1 deficit against the Braves last year. That disappointing collapse stayed with Atlanta through the season. And now it's their turn to exact some revenge.

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Braves-Dodgers Pick

I'm not one to subscribe to the theory of must-win games. Perhaps that's the only reason why the Dodgers are as high as -148 favorite. It's one thing if Los Angeles has a bullpen that's head and shoulders above the teams in the playoffs, but that's not the case here.

Atlanta's 2.60 bullpen ERA is the lowest in the playoffs, while the Dodgers rank second (2.74). The injuries mentioned above are also a significant concern for the Dodgers. I know that Atlanta's the visiting team, but if it gets some early runs on the scoreboard, there won't be much of a home-field advantage left at Dodgers Stadium.

DraftKings is offering the Braves as a +125 underdog, and that price is just too reasonable to pass up against a depleted Dodgers team in this spot.

Pick: Braves ML (+125)

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