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Dodgers vs. Braves Odds, Picks & Predictions: L.A. Has Betting Edge In Game 1 of NLCS

Dodgers vs. Braves Odds, Picks & Predictions: L.A. Has Betting Edge In Game 1 of NLCS article feature image

Kelly Gavin/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger

Braves vs. Dodgers Game 1 Odds

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Braves Odds +120 [Bet Now]
Dodgers Odds -133 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 8 (-115/-105) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 8:08 p.m. ET

Odds as of Monday at 12 p.m. ET and via BetMGM. Get an INSTANT $500 deposit match at BetMGM today or find the best line on Dodgers-Braves via our MLB odds page.

The NLCS gets underway at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas as the Atlanta Braves take on the Los Angeles Dodgers for a chance to win the pennant. These teams did not face each other in the regular season due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions put in place by MLB.

Like the Dodgers, the Braves come into this series undefeated with a 5-0 playoff record. Atlanta actually hasn’t given up a run in its last two games but that was against the Miami Marlins. The Braves will hand the ball to Max Fried for the Game 1 start while the Dodgers will counter with Walker Buehler.

This will be Atlanta’s first trip to the NLCS in 19 years while it’s the fourth trip in the last five years for Los Angeles. I’d expect that experience to come into play for the Dodgers in Game 1 against a young Atlanta club.

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Atlanta Braves

There’s no debating how good Max Fried is. He’s 26-11 in his career with a 3.52 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. This season, he went 7-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.

Fried’s 3.10 FIP in the regular season, which was higher than his ERA, suggested he could be due for some minor regression in the postseason. However, that hasn’t been the case as Fried has buckled down and reduced his 3.05 BB/9 ratio from the regular season down to zero in two playoff starts.

While he’s yet to factor in the decision in any of his two postseason starts, Fried has posted a 3.27 ERA with a 3.01 FIP and 1.09 WHIP through 11 innings. He got touched up for four runs in four innings by the Marlins before his teammates bailed him out with six runs in the seventh inning to take him off the hook. This was a Marlins club that was a below average team in the regular season with a 95 wRC+ rating whereas the Dodgers led all of baseball with a 122 wRC+ rating.

The Dodgers have 29 at-bats against Fried lifetime, and posted a .379/ .471/.690 slash line and .310 ISO.

I’d be a bit concerned with Fried coming off his last start against Miami, particularly vs. a Dodgers lineup with no easy outs from top to bottom.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Walker Buehler has been battling a blister injury on his pitching hand that’s limited his outings to around four innings all year. He won his only decision in the regular season and finished with a 3.44 ERA and 0.95 WHIP.

Like Fried, Buehler’s 4.36 FIP was higher than his ERA, which suggested possible regression for him this postseason. However, in his two playoff starts, his 3.07 FIP has actually been better than his 3.38 ERA in eight innings of work.

Buehler has racked up 16 strikeouts this postseason which gives him a prorated number of 18 K/9. The Dodgers have done a good job managing Buehler’s blister injury as best as they can by limiting his workload.

While it’s unclear if the injury has totally healed, his strikeout ratio is certainly a reason for optimism. I think he actually could have gone deeper in his last outing had he not elevated his pitch count with four walks in just four innings of work. Tonight, he’ll face a Braves lineup that has a weak .174/.224 /.370 slash line in 46 at-bats against him.

Betting Analysis

I’m banking on Buehler to give the Dodgers a bit more length in this Game 1 outing. Interestingly enough, one of the reasons I think he struggled with walks in his last start is because he was facing a Padres team ranked third in baseball with a 27.2% swing rate on balls outside the strike zone according to FanGraphs.

This time around, he’ll face a team in the Braves that finished in the bottom half (18th) of baseball with a 31.7% chase rate.

There’s a lot to like about the Dodgers in this spot. They’ve only lost once this year with Buehler on the mound and they’ve gotten the win in his last eight outings. Los Angeles also went 15-5 against left-handers this season and they’re on a four-game win streak against them. As for Atlanta, they’re 1-2 in Fried’s starts against the Dodgers and have been outscored 17-6 in those three games.

At time of writing, our Action Network bet percentages show the Dodgers receiving over 50% of the tickets and well over 50% of the money for this Game 1 matchup. Over the last two postseasons, favorites in Game 1 have cashed 69% of the time for over six units.

Los Angeles has really had the upper-hand against Atlanta as they’re 35-19 in their last 54 games when facing them.

BetMGM is offering the Dodgers at -133 and I can only look to the favorite in this matchup. I’m going to back the Dodgers as I think their experience and lineup will be too much for the Braves to overcome in Game 1.

The Bet: Dodgers -133 (play up to -148)

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