Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#905 Los Angeles Dodgers vs.
#906 Atlanta Braves
Saturday, October 16, 2021 at 8:07pm EDT
Written by Chris King

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It’s the start of the National League Championship Series as the final two teams standing do battle in Hotlanta. The Los Angeles Dodgers are on the road as they make the trip east to play Game 1 of their best-of-seven set with the Atlanta Braves Saturday night. Los Angeles advanced by outlasting the Giants 2-1 in Game 5 of the NL Division Series Thursday night on the road to win the series three games to two. Atlanta beat Milwaukee 5-4 at home in Game 4 Tuesday night to win their NL Division Series three games to one. The Dodgers won the season series between the teams 4-2, including a three-game home sweep in the most recent series August 30-September 1.

Los Angeles Dodgers Looking to Steal Home Field Advantage

Los Angeles managed to survive and advance as they edged the Giants in Game 5 of the NL Division Series on the road Thursday night. The Dodgers now go on the road to face the Braves in the NL Championship Series with a berth in the World Series on the line. On Thursday night, Mookie Betts (run) had four of the eight hits for the Dodgers while Cody Bellinger drove in the winning run with an RBI single in the top of the ninth inning. Corey Knebel started as the opener on the mound and didn’t factor in the decision. He threw one inning, allowing no runs on one hit with no walks and one strikeout. Kenley Jansen (1-0) earned the win with a 1-2-3 eighth inning, striking out two, while Max Scherzer came out of the bullpen, fanning a pair in the ninth, for his first save.

The pitching situation for the Dodgers is up in the air right now but the plan is to have Max Scherzer make his fourth appearance and third start of the postseason here after 30 regular season starts. In the regular season, Scherzer was 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA, a 0.864 WHIP, 36 walks and 236 strikeouts over 179.1 innings of work. He comes in 0-1 with one save, a 1.46 ERA, a 0.811 WHIP, four walks and 16 strikeouts over 12.1 innings of work in the playoffs. Scherzer earned the save in his last appearance, which came Thursday in Game 5 of the NL Division Series against the Giants. He threw a scoreless inning, allowing no hits or walks while striking out two in the Dodgers’ 2-1 victory. On the road this season, Scherzer is 10-2 with a 2.59 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP, 25 walks and 124 strikeouts over 93.2 innings in 16 starts. Scherzer makes his 28th career appearance and 26th start against the Braves here. He comes in 10-9 with a 3.88 ERA, a 1.186 WHIP, 51 walks and 185 strikeouts over 157.2 innings of work. Pitching at Truist Park, Scherzer is 3-3 with a 3.71 ERA, a 1.176 WHIP, 14 walks and 42 strikeouts over 34 innings in six career starts. In the postseason, Scherzer is 7-6 with one save, a 3.18 ERA, a 1.102 WHIP, 50 walks and 153 strikeouts over 124.1 innings in 25 career appearances, 20 starts.

Atlanta Braves Try to Maintain Momentum

Atlanta dropped the opening game of the NL Division Series to Milwaukee but they rebounded with three straight wins to take the series. The Braves held the Brewers to only six runs in the series with four of those coming in Game 4. In Game 4 Tuesday night, Atlanta got three hits from Freddie Freeman (run, RBI) while Ozzie Albies (run) and Adam Duvall each added a pair of hits in the game. Freeman hit his first homer of the postseason in the eighth inning off Josh Hader to break a 4-4 tie and send the Braves to victory. Charlie Morton didn’t factor in the decision as he threw 3.1 innings, allowing two runs on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Tyler Matzek (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless eighth inning, striking out one, while Will Smith worked around a hit in the ninth, striking out two, for his third save.

Max Fried is expected to get the call on the mound as he makes his second postseason start of the year after logging 28 regular-season starts for the Braves. He finished the year 14-7 with a 3.04 ERA, a 1.087 WHIP, 41 walks and 158 strikeouts over 165.2 innings of work. Fried earned the win in his first postseason start, which came last Saturday in Game 2 of the NL Division Series against Milwaukee. He threw six scoreless innings, allowing three hits with no walks and nine strikeouts in a 3-0 Braves victory. At home this season, Fried is 7-3 with a 2.94 ERA, a 1.089 WHIP, 23 walks and 76 strikeouts over 82.2 innings in 14 starts. Fried makes his sixth career start against the Dodgers in this contest. He comes in 1-2 with a 4.30 ERA, a 1.348 WHIP, eight walks and 29 strikeouts over 23 innings of work. At Truist Park, he is 20-7 with a 3.04 ERA, a 1.153 WHIP, 61 walks and 211 strikeouts over 222 innings in 44 career appearances, 38 starts. Fried is 1-1 with a 3.25 ERA, a 1.194 WHIP, 10 walks and 39 strikeouts over 36 innings in 13 appearances, five starts, in the postseason.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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The Dodgers managed to survive the Giants but they had their struggles putting runs on the board. Los Angeles scored 16 runs combined in Games 2 and 4 though they scored just two runs combined in the other three games. Now the Dodgers have to deal with another hot pitcher in Fried, who has gone 7-0 with a 1.46 ERA over his final 11 regular season starts and followed that up with six shutout frames in the win over the Brewers in Game 2. Playing at home works in Atlanta’s favor and Fried is as hot as they come right now on the mound. Look for Atlanta to find a way to scratch out a victory in this contest as they take the opener.

Prediction: Atlanta Braves +115

Full-Game Total Pick

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Los Angeles stayed under the total in three of their five games in the NL Division Series and they were under the mark in the wild-card game with St. Louis as well. That was a trend in their series with the Braves as the last four games between the teams have fallen short of the mark as well. Three of the four games that Atlanta played in the NL Division Series with Milwaukee ended up short of the total. Both of Scherzer’s postseason starts this season wound up short of the number, as did his relief outing Thursday night. Fried has seen four of his last six starts come in under the number, including his postseason win in Game 2 against Milwaukee. This one is another low-scoring affair that winds up short of the number.

Prediction: Under 8
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Written By Chris King , "Chris King"

Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.