NLCS Game 2 Braves vs. Dodgers Odds, Projections: Betting Pick For Max Scherzer vs. Ian Anderson (Oct. 17)

NLCS Game 2 Braves vs. Dodgers Odds, Projections: Betting Pick For Max Scherzer vs. Ian Anderson (Oct. 17) article feature image
Credit:

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer.

Throughout the Major League Baseball playoffs, 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 before digging into Sunday’s NLCS Game 2 matchup between the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Series Moneyline Corner

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

The Red Sox’s pennant chances improved by 17% following their Game 2 win, bringing that series back to an even coin flip. I would need +108 (48% implied) to bet the ALCS series price on either side of this matchup.

Boston is currently sitting around +105 at DraftKings. If that number comes up just a bit, the Red Sox could be worth another stab (even if you joined me at +125 to +130 before Game 1).

The Braves gained 13% toward winning the NL pennant with their Game 1 win, but I still make the Dodgers a slight favorite (51%) to win that series since they can pitch Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler and Julio Urías two times each over the next six games.

I would need +113 to bet Atlanta and have seen their series ML listed as high as +130 odds.

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 their futures down to +365 (implied 21.5%) at a two-percent edge compared to my projection.

However, that projected value depends on the outcome of the Dodgers-Braves series since I would make Boston a significant underdog against Los Angeles, but slight favorite against Atlanta.

That said, the Red Sox offer more value in the World Series odds than they do on their series moneyline.

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

Dodgers at Braves, Game 2 (7:38 p.m. ET)

I included Max Scherzer (2.89 XERA, 3.24 xFIP, 2.90 SIERA) in my Game 1 preview, but the Dodgers made the late swap to a bullpen day, rendering my analysis useless.

Initially, I projected Scherzer and the Dodgers as -124 favorites (55.4% implied) at home against Max Fried in the opener.  In a Game 2 matchup with Ian Anderson (4.30 xERA, 3.96 xFIP, 4.38 SIERA), who’s the Braves No. 3 starter – I upgraded the Dodgers’ chances by more than four percent in either half of the game:

To reiterate some of my main points on Scherzer:

  • Classic power pitcher (34.1% K% and 15.9% swinging-strike rate, both second in MLB) with excellent command (5.2% BB%, third in MLB).
  • First first nine starts with the Dodgers (7-0, 0.78 ERA, 1.36 FIP, 79:9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 58 innings) among the best stretches of his career.
  • He threw his fastball 5% less often after joining the Dodgers.
  • Dominates righties (career .251 wOBA), using fastball/slider 84.5% of the time.
  • Less effective against lefties (.312 career wOBA). He puts the slider away and mixes his changeup (20%), cutter (17%) and curveball (14%).

The Braves have a ton of familiarity with Scherzer since he faced them often as a member of the Washington Nationals. However, their current hitters have just a .576 OPS in 189 at-bats against the future Hall of Famer (15 BB, 70 K, 10 2B, 8 HR).

It’s essential to have good lefty bats to make Scherzer uncomfortable, but Joc Pederson and the switch-hitting Ozzie Albies are a combined six for 41 against Scherzer, with 17 strikeouts. Freddie Freeman (11 for 47, with seven extra-base hits vs. Scherzer) and Eddie Rosario might have to drive the Braves offense early.

Atlanta appears to have focused on secondary pitches after retooling their lineup at the trade deadline. On a per-pitch basis, the Braves rank 21st against fastballs, but finished sixth against sliders and led the league against changeups and curveballs.

We’ll see how often Scherzer dials his fastball up in Game 2 after reducing his heater usage in a Dodgers uniform.

And we’ll see whether the 23-year-old Anderson can continue his playoff dominance (two runs allowed in 23 2/3 innings) against one of the best pitchers of his era.

The former No. 3 overall pick seemingly overachieved this season (3.58 ERA), thanks to a high strand rate (79.1%) and low BABIP (.261) compared to the league average (72.1% and .290, respectively). Still, Anderson is immensely talented and has solid command over a three-pitch mix (fastball, changeup and curveball).

Anderson throws the changeup against lefties (36.6%) and righties (26.6%), and even when batters do make contact, they tend to drive it into the ground (57.7% groundball rate).

Ian Anderson, Filthy 87mph Changeup. 👌

Garcia thought it was a fastball….and had no way to slow down. pic.twitter.com/55Bel2VvmD

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 11, 2021

Still, the weapon is less effective against same-side hitters. Anderson owns reverse splits since his curveball is more of an average to below-average pitch (career .262 wOBA vs. lefties; .298 wOBA vs. righties), and he doesn’t have a plan C.

On a per pitch basis, the Dodgers ranked second against fastballs and eighth against changeups this season. Since the trade deadline, they ranked first and fifth against those pitch types. All season long, they struggled against curveballs, and perhaps we see Anderson incorporate more breakers into his pitch mix in this spot.

Scherzer’s fastballs and Anderson’s curveballs might be the critical pitch types for the two starters against these opposing offenses.

As for the betting odds, I would play the Braves at +152 (39.7% implied) or better on the moneyline and at +172 or better for the first five innings (F5).

Additionally, I would bet Over 7.5 runs up to -113 and the F5 Over 3.5 up to -112 odds.

Summary

I will update this post immediately after tracking plays in the Action Network App. If you want bet notifications right away, make sure to follow me there.

The Bets

  • Atlanta ML (bet to +152)
  • Atlanta — Series ML (bet to +108)
  • Braves/Dodgers — Over 7.5 (bet to -113)

Watching

Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Atlanta — First Five Innings (wait for +172)
  • Braves/Dodgers F5 Over 3.5 (wait for -112)

Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros

  • Boston — Series ML (value to +108)
  • Boston — To Win World Series (value to +365)
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