Braves vs. Dodgers MLB Odds, Picks, Model Projections: How Our Expert Is Betting NLCS Game 5 In Los Angeles

Braves vs. Dodgers MLB Odds, Picks, Model Projections: How Our Expert Is Betting NLCS Game 5 In Los Angeles article feature image
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Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: The Braves celebrate their Game 4 victory.

  • Can the Braves clinch their first World Series appearance since 1999 in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Dodgers?
  • Our betting expert compares the Braves vs. Dodgers odds to his model projections to find an edge on Thursday night.

Throughout the Major League Baseball postseason, I will provide a daily breakdown summarizing my thoughts on futures and individual games.

I will also address betting these playoff series, whether on the series moneyline or a game-by-game basis, while using my daily MLB Model projections.

Let’s talk series prices and World Series futures before digging into Thursday’s NLCS Game 5 between the Braves and the Dodgers.

Series Moneyline Corner

Here are my updated ML projections for the two league championship series matchups:

The pennant chances for the Astros and Braves both improved dramatically following their wins on Wednesday.

Atlanta gained 29% (from 55% to 84%) after taking a 3-1 series lead against the Dodgers.

I would need at least +614 (14% implied) to bet the Dodgers’ series ML at a two percent edge compared to their break-even point at +525 (16% implied).

Conversely, you could lay up to -454 (82% implied) on Atlanta. Still, I’m not interested in laying any price near that number, especially with a pennant ticket (+700) and a series ticket (+130) already riding on the Braves.

Moreover, you can presumably find more value on their ML from game to game over the remaining matchups in this series.

Houston improved its AL pennant chances by 26% (from 54% to 80%) following their pivotal road win in Game 5.

I would now require +456 (18% implied) to bet Boston on the series ML.

Alternatively, I would need -355 (78% implied) to bet Houston.

World Series Futures Update

Here are my updated World Series projections for the four remaining teams, alongside listed odds at DraftKings:

Boston remains the only team showing value in the World Series futures market, and I would bet the Red Sox futures down to +1150 (implied 8%) at a two percent edge compared to my projection.

As has been the case all week, the Red Sox offer more value in the World Series market than they do on their series ML.

However, I have yet to pull the trigger on their futures, and I have been riding a bet on Boston’s ALCS series ML instead.

Today’s price is the last best price that you’ll get on the Red Sox, and they’re still just six wins away from cashing that ticket.

As a refresher, here’s how my World Series projections have evolved throughout the season:

Braves vs. Dodgers Odds

8:08 p.m. ET start

The defending champions are already in deep water down 3-1 against the Braves — and they likely lost one of their best players in Justin Turner (127 wRC+, 4.0 WAR) to a hamstring injury late in Game 4.

Combined with the late-season injury to Max Muncy (140 wRC+, 4.9 WAR), the Dodgers have lost significant production from their expected playoff lineup — even though Cody Bellinger’s bat is starting to come around.

Additionally, the Braves won a bullpen game on Wednesday, and their three best starters can take the ball in the final three games of this series. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have to overcome a bullpen game of their own on Thursday to extend their season.

Tony Gonsolin is unavailable after pitching on Wednesday. Justin Bruihl and Phil Bickford may not be either; in Game 3, each pitched for the second consecutive day and for the third time in four games.

Corey Knebel (2.96 xERA, 3.26 xFIP) — who has allowed a run in both of his appearances in this series — could serve in an opener role. Brusdar Graterol (3.81 xERA. 4.18 xFIP) and his electric fastball (average 99.5 mph) could complete up to two innings. And Alex Vesia (2.87 xERA, 4.61 xFIP) may provide a similar amount of length.

Kenley Jansen (2.83 xERA, 4.04 xFIP) and Joe Kelly (3.27 xERA, 3.15 xFIP) both worked Games 1-3 in this series but should be ready to go after an off day on Wednesday. And Blake Treinen (2.45 xERA, 3.25 xFIP) — who hasn’t pitched since Game 2 — should be fresh.

That’s about seven or eight innings worth of output from the Dodgers’ staff, so Dave Roberts will have to manufacture a few additional outs and mix and match his way to victory.

Atlanta will deploy Max Fried (3.49 xERA, 3.45 xFIP), who has been dominant in both playoff starts (combined 12 innings, 11 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 14 K) after a solid final two months (1.46 ERA, 2.94 xFIP over last 11 starts) to close out the regular season.

Fried is fastball dominant against lefties (combined 62% four-seamer and sinker). Against righties, he leans on the breaking balls much more (52% combined) than he does against lefties (37.7%). And he mostly puts away his sinker (2.9% vs. 23.9% vs. lefties) against righties too.

Still, Fried owns a high groundball rate (51.8% GB%, fifth among SP) thanks to his slider (78% GB%), four-seamer (60%), and curveball (50%), and he limits both home runs (0.89 HR/9) and hard contact (82nd percentile) which gives him a high floor in any outing.

The Dodgers have struggled against left-handed breaking balls in this series. On Wednesday, Atlanta recorded 22 outs with left-handed relievers, including 10 from Drew Smyly, who threw a curveball on 37 of his 56 pitches (66%).

An overlay of Max Fried's curve, slider and heater because why not. pic.twitter.com/zycUXrNkSH

— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) January 13, 2021

A.J. Minter, Tyler Matzek and Will Smith combined for the other 12 outs. That trio threw 52 pitches to the Dodgers’ lineup, but only fed them 17 four-seam fastballs (33%), as compared to 18 breaking balls (35%), 12 cutters (23%), and five changeups (9%)

This season, the Dodgers crushed fastballs (second on a per-pitch basis), while Atlanta (21st after the trade deadline) struggled against the pitch. However, the Braves hammer secondary stuff, and they appear to have a similar philosophy concerning opposing offenses — avoid the straight fastball and make them hit breaking balls or offspeed pitches.

Matzek has worked all four games in this series, while Minter has worked in the past three. Their availability for Thursday’s Game 5 is in serious doubt.

And even with one of their best starters on the mound, facing an overworked Dodgers bullpen, I still make the Braves a decent underdog:

I would need -118 or better to bet the Dodgers’ Game 5 ML. Conversely, I would need +140 or better to play the Braves at a similar edge.

And I would set the F5 price targets for these two teams at -113 and +133, respectively.

As for the total, the Under receives a boost with plate umpire Lance Barksdale (career 54.4% under) behind the dish. A consistent $100 bettor would be up nearly $3,300 betting the Over in each of Barkdale’s assignments, dating back to 2005.

I would bet an Under 8 to +105 or an Over 7.5 to -105.

Additionally, an F5 Under 4.5 (to -110) or an Over 4 (to +105) would grab my attention.

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Summary

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The Bets

  • TBD

Watching

Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Atlanta ML (wait for +140) or Los Angeles ML (wait for -118)
  • Atlanta F5 ML (wait for +133) or Los Angeles F5 ML (wait for -113)
  • Atlanta — Series ML (value to -454)
  • Braves/Dodgers, Under 8 (to +105) or Over 7.5 (to -105)
  • Braves/Dodgers, F5 Under 4.5 (to -110) or Over 4 (to +105)

Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros

  • Boston — Series ML (value to +456)
  • Boston — To Win World Series (value to +1150)
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