The Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves begin Act 2 in their rivalry in the NLCS on Saturday at 8:07 p.m. ET at Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia. These two teams faced each other in the championship series in 2020, the Dodgers going on to win in Game 7.
The two sides look somewhat different from last year’s matchup. There’s no Ronald Acuna Jr. for the Braves but they added Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler and Adam Duvall. The Dodgers added a few big names in Max Scherzer and Trea Turner at the trade deadline. Overall, it should be another drawn out series that goes at least to Game 6 or 7.
Let’s take a look at the moneyline on DraftKings Sportsbook and make a pick.
The Braves have already announced that Max Fried will pitch Game 1 at home. Even though Scherzer pitched in Game 5 in the 9th inning, chances are he’s the guy on the mound for the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLCS. It’s not going to be Walker Buehler on three days rest. It’s not going to be Julio Urias. So the most logical matchup is Fried-Scherzer.
It’s hard to give an edge to Scherzer despite his resume. Fried was lights out in the NLDS against the Brewers in six innings. He spent most of the regular season being one of the top pitchers in the Majors with 14 wins and an ERA hovering around 3.00 with a 1.09 WHIP. It was over a month ago when Fried allowed his last HR. Plus, he’s a lefty. In 35 ABs this postseason, the Dodgers as a team are batting .171 against LHPs.
Scherzer wasn’t completely himself against the Cardinals in the WC game. He walked 3 batters in 4+ innings. Mad Max was lights out against the Giants in Game 3 and has pitched in plenty of big games. He’ll need the run support to get past the Braves in the opener it seems.
If this game is close and goes late, I’ll favor the Braves at home. We saw the Dodgers falter on the road in Game 1 against the Giants against a tough pitcher in Logan Webb. I can see the same scenario unfolding in the NLCS. Plus, the Dodgers are on one days rest while the Braves have been off since Tuesday and got half a week back home in ATL. That matters in the playoffs. Gimme ATL to take Game 1.
Pick: Braves +115
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