NLCS Game 5 Preview: Braves vs. Dodgers Odds & Prediction
Braves vs. Dodgers Odds
|Date||Thursday, Oct. 21|
|Time||8:08 p.m. ET|
On Thursday evening, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves will battle in the National League Championship Series at Truist Park. Atlanta took care of business in the series opener, securing a 3-2 victory. In Game 2, the Braves stole a victory thanks to some questionable managerial decisions and poor defense from the Dodgers. In Game 3, Atlanta’s bullpen usage finally caught up to them, as we have been predicting. The Dodgers rallied from a three-run deficit in the eighth inning to get their first win of the series. In Game 4, Atlanta did not need to worry much about their relief unit in a dominant 9-2 victory. Tonight, the Braves will send Max Fried to the hill as they try to punch their ticket to the World Series. Los Angeles has still not announced their pitching plans, but oddsmakers are still expecting the Dodgers to keep their season alive, pricing them as -138 home favorites.
Let’s take a deeper look at the matchup to see where bettors can find value at sportsbooks for Game 5 of the NLCS.
Atlanta Braves (+118)
In 28 starts for the Braves this year, Fried posted a 3.04 ERA, 3.49 xERA, and a 3.31 FIP. Even his excellent season-long numbers insufficiently describe how great Fried was in 2021. After dealing with a groin injury early in the year, Fried returned from the injured list at the beginning of May to deliver a 2.44 ERA and a 3.09 FIP across his last 25 outings. In his last 12 trips to the mound during the regular season, Fried delivered 12 quality starts, including a 1.56 ERA and a 2.65 FIP. Against Milwaukee during the division series, Fried was outstanding, holding the Milwaukee Brewers scoreless across six innings of work. He was similarly dominant against the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLCS, holding them to only two earned runs in six innings for his 14th straight quality start. Bettors should expect another strong outing from Fried on Thursday.
Against right-handed pitching this year, Atlanta ranked 6th in OPS, fourth in ISO, 13th in walk rate, and 23rd in strikeout percentage. Their high strikeout numbers make this offense vulnerable to low-scoring outputs due to their inconsistency hitting with runners in scoring position. Yet, this offense still has plenty of pop that has not struggled to manifest during the NLCS. The Braves have no shortage of talent in this lineup, but they have an extremely tough task in this one against one of the best pitching staffs in Major League Baseball. Run scoring opportunities could be few and far between for this group in Game 5.
Throughout this postseason, we have been repeatedly mentioning that Manager Brian Snitker was overusing Tyler Matzek, Will Smith, and Luke Jackson. The heavy usage finally had consequences in Game 3 as this bullpen blew what appeared to be a sure-fire win and a commanding 3-0 series lead. An explosive offensive output in Game 4 removed late-inning concerns from the outcome. However, entering play tonight, A.J. Minter has appeared in three of the last four days. Matzek has appeared in four of the last five days. Chavez has pitched three times in four days. Jackson and Smith both have three appearances in the last five days. This unit is vulnerable tonight and going forward for the rest of the NLCS. Atlanta better hope they close out the Dodgers in Game 5 behind a strong outing from Fried.
Los Angeles Dodgers (-138)
As of this writing, the Dodgers have still not announced a starting pitcher. However, there are a couple of clear options for Manager Dave Roberts to consider for Game 5. Max Scherzer started Game 2 and is available on short rest in this one. The other clear option is a bullpen game.
An intense battle in the division series against the Giants resulted in the Dodgers bullpen being less rested than they would have liked for it to have been entering the NLCS. A bullpen game to start the series against Atlanta did not help matters, as the Dodgers used eight relievers in Game 1. Manager Dave Roberts made some questionable decisions in Game 2, using Urias out of the bullpen. This appeared to be an even worse decision after Urias struggled mightily in Game 4. Still, entering tonight, Treinen and Graterol have not thrown since Sunday. Janesn has only thrown 17 pitches in the last four days. During the final month of the regular season, the Los Angeles relief unit ranked eighth in bullpen FIP. Los Angeles is in a good position to extend their season tonight, whether they go with a bullpen game or otherwise.
The Dodgers lineup has no shortage of superstar talent, with names such as Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Will Smith, A.J. Pollock, and Cody Bellinger. However, this group was only slightly better than mediocre at the plate for the majority of the campaign. This inconsistency has carried over into the postseason. In eight playoff games, Los Angeles has been shutout twice, scored three runs or less six times, but also has three games with six or more runs. This is a talented lineup capable of serious damage in any given inning. The biggest question mark for bettors is their frustrating inconsistency at the plate.
Game 5 Pick
While it is inherently risky to bet on a baseball game in which bettors do not know the pitching plans for one of the teams, it can be safely assumed that it is all hands on deck tonight for Los Angeles. Whether Scherzer gets the ball on short rest, or Roberts goes with a bullpen game.
PICK: Under 4.5 Runs First Five Innings (-122)
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