Monday, October12, 2020, Globe Life Field, Arlington, Texas, 8:08 p.m. ET
Braves at Dodgers Betting Preview: Braves (+136), Dodgers (-156)
Unbeaten in two previous series against the Cincinnati Reds and Miami Marlins, the Braves are now taking a serious step up in class against the highest-scoring team in baseball during the regular season.
It has been all about the pitching staff for the Braves, who have delivered shutouts in four of five playoff games, including the last two. Left-hander Max Fried, a Los Angeles-area native, went six scoreless innings in the wild-card opener against the Reds, but gave up four runs over four innings in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against Miami.
On a club with Freddie Freeman, Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies, Mick Markakis and Ronald Acuna Jr., it is catcher Travis d’Arnaud leading the offense in the playoffs with a .421 batting average, two home runs, seven RBIs and a .500 on-base percentage.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers’ offense led baseball with 118 regular-season home runs, but at pitcher-friendly Globe Life Field in the NLDS, they appeared to change their run-scoring approach. In a three-game sweep of the Padres last week, the Dodgers used sustained rallies and a move-the-line approach to emerge from a slow offensive start in the playoffs. The Dodgers have advanced with one home run in the wild-card round and one in the NLDS.
Right-hander Walker Buehler will start Game 1 with a heavy dose of the bullpen expected. Buehler has made three starts since spending two stints on the injured list because of a blister issue, but has not pitched more than four innings in any of them. Two of those have come in the playoffs.
The Dodgers are four victories away from their third World Series appearance in the last four seasons.
NLCS Game 1 Betting Pick
The Braves were also heavily reliant on the long ball, finishing second in baseball during the regular season with 103 home runs. There have been two workout days for the Braves to adapt to a park where the ball doesn’t travel well, but nothing beats adjusting at real game speeds.
The Dodgers have now played six games at Globe Life Field, counting three in the regular season, and won’t have to deal with the adjustment period that the Braves will go through. It is enough of a factor to make a difference.
Braves at Dodgers Betting Pick:
Dodgers 5, Braves 3
NLCS Game 1 Best Bet
The Dodgers have tons of playoff experience up and down the roster and know the feeling of being four victories away from a World Series berth. The Marlins showed in the NLDS that as good as Fried is, he is not invincible, but the Dodgers already know that. Fried is 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA in three career starts against the Dodgers.
Braves at Dodgers Best Bet: DODGERS (-1.5/+136)
–Field Level Media