Dodgers vs. Braves NLCS Game 2 Betting Odds, Picks: Back Scherzer on Short Rest (October 17)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: Max Scherzer
- Max Scherzer and the Dodgers are favored to even up the NLCS tonight in Game 2.
- Rookie Ian Anderson starts for the Braves, who are underdogs as they look to take care of business at home.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, including a betting prediction.
Dodgers vs. Braves Odds
|Over/Under||7.5 (-105 / -114)|
|Time||7:38 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
After taking care of home field advantage in Game 1 against Tony Gonsolin and a firing line of Dodgers relievers, the Braves will find it much harder to do that on Sunday with Max Scherzer on the hill for L.A. in Game 2.
With that said, is the price high enough to back the elite righty? Let’s have a look at how both of these teams match up.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The last time we saw Max Scherzer, he was closing out Game 5 of the NLDS on Thursday. While he didn’t make a start and threw just 13 pitches, he still went out there on two days’ rest and will technically be making this start on two days’ rest.
The playoffs are a place where such a weird thing is common, but there can also be unanticipated consequences when you do something as abnormal as this to a creature of habit.
With that said, Scherzer has looked better recently after scaring us a bit in late September and early October. He closed the season by allowing five earned runs in back to back starts before looking very off in the NL Wild Card Game, walking three and allowing three hits over 4 1/3 while throwing a whopping 94 pitches.
Scherzer then went on to spin seven innings of one-run ball with 10 strikeouts against the Giants in Game 3 of the NLDS before his scoreless relief appearance on Thursday.
Interestingly enough, the Dodgers may have a tough time matching up with Ian Anderson. While they ranked second in weighted runs per 100 pitches against fastballs this year, they rank eighth against changeups and 21st against curveballs. Anderson only opts to throw curveballs around 21.1% of the time, but he could always lean on it a bit more here if it’s effective.
This Braves bullpen continued to assert its dominance in Game 1. They now lead the postseason with a microscopic 1.02 ERA, holding off L.A. in Game 1 long enough to let the offense score the winning run. That came on the heels of a six-inning start from Max Fried, meaning Brian Snitker didn’t need to use too many arms.
Tyler Matzek and Will Smith are two high-leverage arms who may be a bit tired if they need to go again on Sunday, but aside from that Atlanta should be able to tap into this great bullpen early if need be.
Ian Anderson will take the ball for Atlanta, and in the midst of a weird season, he’s found some form. Off the back of 13 innings of three-run ball over his last two starts, Anderson fired five scoreless frames in the NLDS with six strikeouts.
Anderson’s performance will dictate how this game goes for Atlanta with runs likely sparse against Scherzer. This Braves offense did face some good pitching against the Brewers, though, and enters with a decent .658 OPS in the postseason. They also come in at sixth in OPS to right-handed pitching for the season.
The Dodgers didn’t use all of their bullpen arms on Saturday, but they did tear through a whopping eight different pitchers. The thinking there is that Scherzer will give L.A. length on Sunday, but what if he doesn’t? He did yield four earned runs to the Braves in his opening start of the season, though he did toss two straight scoreless outings against Atlanta after that.
On paper, this is a matchup Scherzer should have command of, but there is the element of uncertainty with Scherzer technically coming off two days’ rest. Still, I think it’s safe to trust the numbers here and back the Dodgers to lead at least while Scherzer is on the hill.
Pick: Dodgers First Three Innings ML (-160)