MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Braves vs. Dodgers: Which Side of the Total to Play in Matchup of NL Contenders (Wednesday, September 1)
Jim McIsacc/getty Images. Pictured: Max Scherzer
- The Los Angeles Dodgers host the Atlanta Braves in a battle of National League powerhouses.
- Max Scherzer heads to the mound for the Dodgers, who go up against pitcher Max Fried.
- Michael Arinze takes a deep look at this matchup and explains why he's expecting a low-scoring contest.
Braves vs. Dodgers Odds
|Time||10:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday morning via DraftKings.|
The Los Angeles Dodgers wrap up a three-game series with the Atlanta Braves in Wednesday’s Major League Baseball action.
Los Angeles, which has won both games so far, and will try to complete the sweep with standout Max Scherzer on the mound in the finale. Max Fried will take the mound for the NL East Division leaders.
On paper, this has the makings of a proper pitching matchup. Let’s dig into the numbers below and explore why runs could be at a premium for this contest.
Fried Puts Together Stellar August for Atlanta
August was a good month for Fried, with the southpaw winning four consecutive decisions to improve to 11-7 with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. In fact, he has allowed just five earned runs in his last 33 innings of work. Fried lowered his ERA by more than a half run the past month, and his 3.44 FIP suggests he could be in line for even more positive regression.
One thing that you can almost bank on is that he’ll keep the ball inside the park. He has a 0.87 HR/9 ratio, which is actually better than his career 0.91 HR/9 mark. We also know he’s going to induce a ton of groundballs, as evidenced by his 1.72 GB/9 ratio.
However, something that might go unnoticed is his ability to get ahead of hitters. He’s thrown a first-pitch strike 64.3% of the time this season, which is a career high. Getting ahead of hitters is an even greater luxury for a pitcher like Fried, who has a five-pitch arsenal. He throws a four-seamer (38.6%); curveball (25.5%); slider (21.7%); sinker (12.3%); and, changeup (1.9%).
If we focus on the pitches he throws at least 10% of the time, his slider is the only one with a below-average run grade (-2.0) according to FanGraphs’ Pitch Info Values. The remaining pitches are at least three runs above average, with his curveball sitting 7.2 runs above average.
His curveball could play a major role against a Dodgers team that’s 28th in the league against the pitch (-13.2 runs below average). Fried has also made four starts against them in the regular season. In those outings, he’s 1-2 with a 4.76 ERA, though he did experience some success in the postseason when he went 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA.
He could be catching Los Angeles at the right time, as their .271 wOBA is 25th in the league over the last seven days.
Scherzer Shining in Los Angeles Following Trade
Things have gone quite well for Scherzer since he was dealt to the Dodgers from the Washington Nationals. He’s won all four of his decisions and — like Fried — allowed just five earned runs in his last five starts.
Scherzer’s record stands at 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. In August, he finished with a 1.55 ERA and 1.95 FIP. This is his 14th season, and he’s still striking out more than 12 batters per nine innings. He continues to show excellent command as his 2.12 BB/9 ratio is the fourth lowest of his career.
This is also Scherzer’s seventh season in a row where opposing hitters make contact on less than 80% of his pitches inside the strike zone. What’s even more impressive is that hitters are only making contact on a career-best 50.7% of his pitches outside the strike zone. That really speaks to the quality of Scherzer, and like Fried, he’s able to keep hitters off balance with the use of a five-pitch arsenal.
Per Baseball Savant, Scherzer throws a four-seamer (47.8%); slider (19.3%); changeup (14.8%); curveball (9.1%); and, cutter (9%). The difference between him and Fried is he throws all five pitches at least nine percent of the time. And if that doesn’t present enough challenge for opposing hitters, four of his five pitches have an above-average rating in runs allowed. His four-seamer and fastball are both at least 10 runs above average.
Scherzer will face a Braves lineup with just a .190/.264/.405 line against him in 163 at-bats. With those numbers, you have to fancy his chances of having another productive outing, especially given the kind of form he’s in.
After going through the pitching matchup and the offenses’ forms, I think it makes sense to target the under . If I’m honest, I was surprised to see this game open with a total of 8. Here are three things you’ll want to keep in mind.
- The total is 5-1 to the under in Fried’s last five games (including the postseason) against the Dodgers
- The total is 15-8 to the under (+6.15 units) in Scherzer’s starts this season
- Lastly, the total is 12-1-2 to the under (+10.05 units) in the Dodgers’ last 15 games
FanDuel was the last sportsbook to move its number from 8 to 7.5 runs. That occurred just as I was wrapping up my preview.
However, I don’t want to come off that number, so I’ve decided to play the alternate total of eight runs. While I’m often hesitant to play an over/under, I don’t mind paying the added juice of 20 cents in this spot.
With this number available at BetMGM with odds of -130, I’ll look to place my action there.
Pick: Under 8 (-130)