Thursday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves Game 4 (Oct. 15)
Kelly Gavin/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Clayton Kershaw
- The Dodgers are a big favorite over the Atlanta Braves in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, a day after L.A. scored 11 runs in the first inning and never looked back.
- Michael Arinze is backing the Dodgers in the first five innings with Clayton Kershaw on the mound. He was scratched from Tuesday's start with back spasms.
- Get our full breakdown and bets for Dodgers vs. Braves below.
Dodgers vs. Braves Game 4 Odds
|Dodgers Odds||-226 [Bet Now]|
|Braves Odds||+180 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||9 (-105/-115 [Bet Now]|
|First Pitch||9:08 p.m. ET|
The NLCS might have flipped on its head yesterday when the Dodgers opened the floodgates to plate 15 runs — including 11 in the first inning — against the Braves. L.A. fans would certainly hope that their Dodgers team saved some offense for tonight’s ballgame with the chance to knot the series at two games apiece.
Los Angeles have future Hall-of-Famer, Clayton Kershaw penciled in for the start after he was scratched in Game 2 due to back spasms. As for the Braves, it’ll essentially be a bullpen game with Bryse Wilson serving as the opener.
It will be interesting to see how this young Atlanta team responds to adversity after the shellacking it received on Wednesday. This is where the 2020 MLB playoff format that calls for seven straight days of baseball with no off days hurts the Braves.
Let’s not forget that Atlanta is already short in starting pitching after Felix Hernandez opted out of the season, while Mike Soroka and Cole Hamels both picked up season-ending injuries.
Wilson hasn’t appeared in a game since Sept. 27 against the Boston Red Sox, so I would expect the Dodgers to carry yesterday’s game plan into today’s ballgame by being more aggressive and attacking Wilson early and often.
Kershaw Can Benefit from Added Rest
The postseason is just as much a mental grind as it is a physical one and Clayton Kershaw’s postseason struggles have given me pause, particularly in a big spot. I was all set to fade Kershaw and the Dodgers if he started Game 2 of this series, but I think being pushed back to Game 4 will actually work to his benefit.
For one, Atlanta is going with an opener in this game due to their lack of pitching depth and the Dodgers finally found their hitting shoes after a 15-run barrage in yesterday’s game.
Kershaw’s numbers against the Braves are actually quite good. He’s 5-0 against them with a 1.78 ERA in the regular season. He’s also faced them three times in the postseason with Los Angeles winning all three games. In fact, the Dodgers are 12-2 when facing the Braves with Kershaw on the mound and they’ve won his last 10 starts against Atlanta. This current Braves lineup has 163 at-bats against Kershaw and they’ve managed just a .228 AVG / .271 OBP / .327 SLG slash line with the left-hander on the mound.
Kershaw made 10 starts this season, going 6-2 with a 2.16 ERA and 0.84 WHIP. His last start was eight days ago and that added rest might even add more velocity to an already lively fastball. According to Baseball Savant, his heater is more than a full mile per hour faster this year (91.6 mph) compared to last season (90.3 mph).
Along with his four-seam fastball which he throws 41% of the time, Kershaw also throws a slider (40%) and curveball (19%). He’s been predominantly a three-pitch his entire career and has been known to mix in a changeup every now and then. This season, each of Kershaw’s pitches grade out as above average in runs allowed. His slider received the highest mark as it was 8.8 runs above average.
Kershaw produced a 12.21 K/9 ratio in 58 regular-season innings and his slider was often his put away pitch. He was also able to generate a 35% whiff rate when throwing the pitch. That slider should play well when he faces a Braves team that is 2.5 runs below average against sliders this season.
Step Up in Class For Wilson
Bryce Wilson is in his third year as a Major Leaguer. He’s made six appearances this season, including two starts, and has accumulated a 4.02 ERA and 1.72 WHIP. In 30.2 innings opponents have posted a .280 AVG /.366 OBP /.475 SLG slash-line against Wilson when he started a game.
This won’t be the easiest of spots for the 22-year-old as he makes his first start in three weeks to take on a Dodgers lineup that looks ready to feast after a 15-run onslaught in yesterday’s game.
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Per Baseball Savant, Wilson throws five pitches: A four seamer (46%), slider (18.8%), sinker (16.9%), changeup (11.5%) and curveball (6.7%). His slider and curveball were just 0.2 and 0.3 runs above average respectively this season. I would expect him to feature his slider more tonight against a Dodgers team that was 2.5 runs below average against the pitch.
It’ll be interesting to see how often he throws the pitch and if he can throw it for strikes early in the count. Wilson’s 5.17 BB/9 rate is something Los Angeles will look to exploit.
The Dodgers don’t necessarily swing at pitches outside the zone as they have the lowest chase rate (26.5%) in all of baseball.
At time of writing, Los Angeles is getting 67% of the tickets and 75% of the money while 33% of the tickets are being written for Atlanta with only 24% of the money. The Dodgers opened up at -200 and have been bet up as high as -230 at some sportsbooks.
My model made the Dodgers a -194 favorite and I fully understand them taking money as I don’t want any part of the Braves and opening pitcher who hasn’t pitched competitively in 18 days.
It’s not every day in the postseason that a team takes a beating like the Braves took in Game 3. While it’s a small sample size, teams that have lost by 12 or more runs in the playoffs haven’t necessarily responded well as they’re just 1-3 in their next game.
I’ve never been one to lay a ton of juice in a game so the current price makes it equally tough to get me to the window. And I’m never laying 2:1 in this spot as I still have reservations about the Dodgers bullpen late in the game should they be called into action to protect a two-run lead.
If I were looking to take a position in this game, I’d look to isolate the Braves’ opener, Wilson, by laying a half-run with the Dodgers on the First-5-Innings line.
FanDuel is trading the Dodgers -0.5 F5 at -150. Also, if you wanted to get creative, you can shop around for a prop for the Dodgers to score first and win at -125.
The Bet: Dodgers -0.5 Runs (First-5-Innings) at -160 or better
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