MLB Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: Best Bets for Braves-Dodgers NLCS Game 4 (October 20)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Luke Jackson and Cody Bellinger watch Bellinger’s three-run homer on Tuesday.
- The Red Sox are favored to take a 3-2 lead from the Astros in Wednesday's ALCS Game 5.
- The Dodgers, meanwhile, are heavy favorites to even things up with the Braves in Game 4 of the NLCS.
- Continue reading for our staff's best bets for both of these critical MLB postseason matchups.
Editor’s Note: Jesse Chavez will serve as the opener for Atlanta in NLCS Game 4. Huascar Ynoa has shoulder inflammation.
Wednesday brings us two more critical LCS matchups, as the Astros and Red Sox wage a Game 5 battle, with each team looking to move one win away from the World Series before the series shifts back to Houston.
In the nightcap, the Dodgers will look to keep the momentum going from Tuesday’s thrilling, come-from-behind victory and even the series with the Braves. Atlanta will be looking to rebound and once again move one win from the Fall Classic.
These are our four best bets for Wednesday’s ALCS Game 5 and NLCS Game 4.
MLB Odds & Picks
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Astros vs. Red Sox
Tanner McGrath: Hernández was off Tuesday night, going 1-for-5 in the 9-2 loss to the Astros. However, he’s been too hot this postseason to ignore, and he has a good matchup today.
Framber Valdez is on the mound for Houston, and Hernández is 5-for-13 lifetime off him with two home runs. More impressively, he’s recorded a 92.7 mph average exit velocity in those ABs while whiffing at just a 10.5% rate.
Hernández makes contact off Valdez, and it’s often hard contact. That’s good for prop bettors.
Hernández is working on a seven-game hit streak, and he’s cashed his bases prop in five of those games. He’s accumulated a whopping 37 bases during this stretch, posting a 1.401 OPS this postseason.
Meanwhile, Valdez has allowed six runs in his 6 1/3 innings of 2021 postseason action, and opposing batters are slugging .548 against him.
It’s uncertain how deep into this game Valdez will go, but considering Houston went for a bullpen day in the victory yesterday, I’m expecting Kiké to have at least two opportunities against him.
Let’s hope he takes advantage of those. If not, Hernández will still have ample opportunity against a stretched-out Astros bullpen.
Astros vs. Red Sox
Collin Whitchurch: Chris Sale was pretty fortunate to escape his Game 1 start against the Astros with just one earned run allowed. He allowed five hits and only avoided giving up more than the one run whe Adam Ottavino relieved him and stranded a pair of runners with a strikeout to end the third inning.
I don’t think he’s going to be as fortunate this time around.
The Red Sox do have Tanner Houck at the ready in Game 5 should Sale falter, but the Astros crush lefties, and I expect them to do plenty of damage against Sale before Alex Cora turns the game over to the bullpen.
We saw the Houston offense explode late in Tuesday’s thrilling Game 4 win, and I expect that production to carry over to today.
Overs have been very profitable all series long in the ALCS, and while there’s plenty of potential with both the full game total and the first five innings total, I’m looking at the Astros’ team total, particularly in the first five innings.
Braves vs. Dodgers
Sean Zerillo: The Braves don’t have a true fourth starter on their roster, and the Dodgers utilized Julio Urías in relief in Game 2 – leaving some lingering questions as to how both teams will manage their pitching staffs for Game 4.
I would expect Atlanta to use a mix of righty Huascar Ynoa (4.30 xERA, 3.40 xFIP, 3.61 SIERA), and lefty Drew Smyly (5.02 xERA, 4.39 xFIP, 4.40 SIERA) as bulk options.
Tyler Matzek, and Luke Jackson – who allowed all four runs and took the loss on Tuesday – have worked in all three games of this series, and may be unavailable.
Between Smyly’s left-handed curveball (42% usage) and Ynoa’s righty slider (48% usage), Atlanta can turn over the lineup with a couple of signature pitches and hope to mix and match their way to victory.
The Dodgers will surely deploy the southpaw Urías (3.12 xERA, 3.73 xFIP, 3.64 SIERA) at some point, after throwing just 14 pitches on Sunday. The right-handed flamethrower Brusdar Graterol (2.92 xERA, 4.18 xFIP, 4.01 SIERA) will be allotted five or six outs, and Blake Treinen (2.45 xERA, 3.25 xFIP, 3.15 SIERA) should be good for an inning.
Los Angeles used eight relievers – including Tony Gonsolin – behind Walker Buehler on Tuesday. Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, and Alex Vesia have pitched in all three games in this series.
The combination of Urías, Graterol, and Treinen gets the Dodgers five or six innings. Dave Roberts and a tired group of relievers will have to figure out the remainder; with rest for Game 5 on Thursday to keep in mind too.
Atlanta’s bullpen is in slightly better shape than the Dodgers for Game 4 – and this is the closest that I have projected these two bullpens all series (3.63 vs. 3.80 Model Weighted ERA).
Still, I have a difficult time getting Atlanta above 40% in any of these road matchups with the reigning champions:
Braves vs. Dodgers
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Kenny Ducey: To cash the over on this prop, Julio Urías would have to do something pretty special. There have been only two instances this postseason where Dave Roberts has kept his starter in for more than five innings — Max Scherzer went seven in Game 3 of the NLDS and Walker Buehler went 6 ⅓ in Game 1.
Urías has not been asked to give L.A. that kind of length, even though he’s certainly pitched well enough to stay in, and now comes a start in a crucial Game 5. If the Dodgers lose this one, the series could go with it, making this a perfect spot to bet on Roberts having a quick hook.
The Dodgers probably prefer to have Urías go deep here given they used eight relievers in Game 3, but it’s worth noting that Tony Gonsolin recorded just an out, meaning he could probably back up Urías here, and Blake Treinen was given the day off along with Brusdar Graterol. It’s not inconceivable to think the Dodgers could tax their elite bullpen once again.
Then, there’s a matchup with a team that just got to Urías — something few teams have done — when he entered Game 2 in relief. How Urías will respond after giving up two earned runs on three hits is a mystery, as is how he will look pitching on what’s technically just two days’ rest. Though he threw 14 pitches, it’s tough to say how pitchers, who are creatures of habit, respond when they’re toyed around with like this.