Dodgers vs. Braves Picks & Predictions: How We’re Betting the NLCS Game 1 Moneyline & Total
Michael Starghill/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Freddie Freeman
- Looking for betting pics for Game 1 of the National League Championship series between the Braves and Dodgers? You're in the right place.
- In fact, our staff's favorite MLB playoff bets for Monday are both for tonight's NLCS showdown.
- Check out how we're betting the moneyline and total below.
Following the Rays’ 2-1 win in Game 1 of the ALCS last night, Monday presents the first 2-game Championship Series slate, with the Braves and Dodgers joining the party for their Game 1.
And it’s that matchup that’s catching the attention of our MLB experts. Here’s how we’re betting it.
Advanced Stats Glossary
FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.
wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.
wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.
BJ Cunningham: Braves (+125)
Max Fried has been one of the best starting left-handed starting pitchers in baseball this season. The 26-year-old put up a 2.25 ERA this year and allowed only a .209 average to opposing hitters.
Fried’s fastball/curveball/slider combination is as lethal as anyone’s in baseball. He’s able to bring mid-90s with his fastball and can drop in his curveball with almost 20 mph less velocity to keep hitters off balance. Of his main arsenal, Fried has held opponents to under a .290 wOBA on each pitch.
Fried’s first two career starts in the postseason have been on two ends of the spectrum. He tossed seven shutout innings, allowing six hits and no walks against the Reds in the Wild Card round, but got tagged by the Marlins for four runs.
He’ll have a tough matchup against this Dodgers lineup that is one of the best in baseball. However, much of the Dodgers’ success has come against right-handed pitching, as they have a .355 wOBA and an MLB-best 126 wRC+ against righties, compared to only .335 wOBA and 113 wRC+ against lefties.
Walker Buehler has a full arsenal of nasty stuff. His fastball can top out at around 100 mph, and he knows how to use it effectively. Buehler’s heater has produced a 26.1% whiff rate and 23 strikeouts in only 36.2 Innings of work. However, he’ll need to be on point with his fastball in Game 1, because the Braves are the best fastball hitting team in baseball with 55.2 weighted fastball runs.
Buehler also has a nasty cutter that has limited hitters to a .273 wOBA and produced a 35.3% whiff rate. His Achilles’ heel has been the long ball, as his HR/9 rate is all the way up at 1.72.
The Braves have the best 1-2-3 hitters in baseball in Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna, who have combined for 45 home runs and 138 RBIs and all have a wOBA over .400 this season.
Additionally, the Braves were the best team in MLB against right-handed pitching, with a .363 wOBA during the regular season, so Buehler has a daunting task ahead of him in Game 1.
I project the Braves as -103 favorites tonight since they have a better lineup matchup and a better starting pitcher on the mound. I’ll take Atlanta at +120.
Danny Donahue: Braves vs. Dodgers F5 Under 4 (-110)
A couple factors are leading me to a low-scoring Game 1 of the NLCS. Of course, we’re looking at a high-profile pitching matchup (Max Fried vs. Walker Buehler), but I’m less concerned with that than I am with how sharps are reacting to it. And Mother Nature may be helping to limit scoring as well …
Sports Insights Bet Signals, which track and record instances of market movement caused by sharp action, have confirmed two cases of pro activity hitting this under (both came at an earlier line of 8.5, though, so I’m missing a bit of closing line value).
But to make me feel a bit better about the lower number, the wind at Globe Life Field is expected to be coming in at 5 mph — assuming the roof is open, which it has been for the three NLDS games thus far.
Since 2005, games with 5+ mph winds blowing in from center have hit the under at 55%, going 936-766-88. And tonight’s forecast is expected to see the strongest winds in the first couple hours — hence my first-five-innings preference.