Dodgers vs. Braves Odds, Picks: NLCS Game 6 Betting Guide (October 23)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Ian Anderson
- The Braves look to clinch their first pennant since 1999 with youngster Ian Anderson on the mound tonight in Game 6 of the NLCS.
- The Dodgers, who remain favorites, will start Walker Buehler on short rest after Max Scherzer was scratched late Friday because of fatigue.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, including a betting prediction.
Editor’s Note: The Dodgers announced late Friday that Max Scherzer would not start NLCS Game 6 on Saturday. Walker Buehler will start for Los Angeles on short rest. The pick below has been updated to reflect that change.
Dodgers vs. Braves Odds
|Over/Under||7.5 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||8:08 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The Braves have let their grip on the NLCS go just a bit with a Game 5 loss in Los Angeles, but they now have two chances at home to punch their ticket to the World Series. The first of those comes in Saturday’s Game 6, where they’ll send Ian Anderson to the bump against Max Scherzer.
Is it time to buy into the Dodgers’ comeback, led by a great offensive attack, or are the Braves still undervalued here? Let’s take a look at the matchup below.
Uncertainty For Dodgers’ Scherzer
Max Scherzer’s postseason has been weird. He didn’t look like himself when he walked three and lasted just 4 1/3 innings in the NL Wild Card Game. He was again pulled in the fifth inning of NLCS Game 2 and failed to give the Dodgers the length they needed, and couldn’t put them in position to win. He also struck out 10 Giants in a brilliant NLDS Game 3 win and struck out two in a clean inning of relief against the Giants.
He’s been on and off, all equating to a 2.16 ERA that has a 3.05 FIP attached to it. Now, this wouldn’t be a huge issue in a vacuum, but we have to remember Scherzer came into the postseason off the back of two straight miserable outings which saw him allow a combined 10 earned runs in his final two games of the season. Scherzer is an all-time great, but it seems there is a small cloud of uncertainty hanging over his head right now.
The driving force behind this Dodgers offense, aside from simply Chris Taylor, has been the home run. Los Angeles has gone deep nine times in this series, often times in big situations. The 20 walks in 191 plate appearances over five games equate to a walk rate of 10.5%, which is a very Dodgers-like number.
Walks have been the lifeblood of this team all season long, so it’s good to see this number particularly without Max Muncy in the lineup. It’s also worth noting that Justin Turner is out for the remainder of the postseason, even though his performance to this point was subpar.
Braves Hope Offense Can Back Anderson
Let’s talk now about young Ian Anderson. The righty was a star in last year’s playoffs coming off a stellar debut, so it’s not too surprising to see him pitch effectively this October. Considering his rocky season, though, it’s definitely a bit of an outlier.
Anderson’s strikeout rate dipped from 29.7% to 23.2% this season, and his hard-hit rate of 38.7% and 4.30 xERA missed the mark. He had particularly bad issues with barrels (9.5%), walks (9.9%) and his spin rates were among the worst in baseball.
With that said, the young righty is still throwing hard and owns a 2.25 ERA this postseason after five shutout innings in the NLDS against Milwaukee and three innings of two-run ball against the Dodgers earlier in this series. He did walk three in that start, allowed a homer and struck out just two, so that’s certainly not encouraging.
What is encouraging, however, is the way this Braves’ offense is hitting. Aside from Brusdar Graterol, Atlanta has had success against every Dodgers pitcher and will feel pretty good about its .706 OPS entering this one, all things considered. It’s not very easy to hit the Dodgers with their imposing starting staff and a bullpen which ranked second in ERA, but they’ve done it.
A troubling number here, though, is the Braves’ bullpen ERA, which has slipped to 3.79. That makes them the third-best out of any team this postseason, after they sat atop that category not too long ago. It has something to do with Game 5’s crooked number, but there are also real concerns in the ‘pen.
It’s never fun to fade Max Scherzer, but it’s hard to argue that the value lies anywhere else than with the Braves here. This offense has proven capable of hitting Scherzer already, and Anderson has proven himself to be a big-game pitcher over the last two years.
While Anderson’s numbers were a bit concerning, the job that Drew Smyly was able to do against L.A. has to be encouraging, as is the fact that Will Smith and Tyler Matzek — two bullpen arms that have been super this postseason — will be fresh.
I think Atlanta could piece together a staff here that could be very effective against the Dodgers, and on the other side of the coin, L.A.’s relievers have to be exhausted at this point having worked so many innings.
It’s become a meme at this point; I’ve picked the Braves in every game. They’ve been the underdogs all series, though, and they’ve been a cash cow. I think they can finish this one off at home.
Pick: Braves ML (+150)
Author’s Note: With the news that Scherzer will not start tonight, the betting recommendation remains with the Braves. With news that Walker Buehler would start in Scherzer’s place, the line has been fluid, but I would recommend betting the Braves as long as they remain plus-money underdogs. If they move to favorites, this game becomes a pass.