Best Bet for the NLCS Game 6: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves

Oct 23, 2021 - 11:32 AM

Congratulations to the Houston Astros, who punched their third World Series ticket in the last five seasons. After losing two of the first three games of the series, they won three consecutive games largely because of dominant starting pitching. The Astros held the Red Sox to just three runs over the final three games, after Boston scored 25 runs over the first three games.

Per ESPN Stats & Info, ALCS MVP Yordan Alvarez had seven hits in Games 5 and 6. The entire Red Sox team had five in that same span, and Alvarez became the first player ever to outhit an opponent in the final two games of a playoff series.

Now the focus shifts to the National League, as the Atlanta Braves try to follow suit and earn a World Series berth of their own. The Los Angeles Dodgers have won seven consecutive postseason elimination games, while the Braves lost four straight potential series-clinching games in the NLCS. Will those trends continue in Game 6?

Update: Max Scherzer has been scratched. If Walker Buehler is named the starter, I like the Braves ML.

Here is my best bet for Saturday’s NLCS playoff action. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook)

View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>

YTD: 196-164-8 (+15.35 units) 

Los Angeles Dodgers ML (-130)

The biggest question surrounding tonight’s NLCS Game 6 is, what is Atlanta’s mindset? Are they tentative and nervous about the prospect of blowing a 3-1 series lead for the second consecutive year? Or will they relish the fact that they are home for Games 6 and 7 as opposed to playing in Los Angeles like last year? Regardless, one trend the Braves have going for them tonight is that they have won their last four games at Truist Park against teams with a winning record, including the first two games of this series, by a combined score of 8-6.

The Dodgers are big favorites for a road team facing elimination, and with good reason. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is 11-4 when facing elimination, which is tied for the most such wins of any manager. The Braves have also trailed after three innings in three of their last four games, which could be huge for their psyche if the Dodgers once again get out to an early lead. In addition, they have a considerable starting pitching edge with Max Scherzer on the mound, who has pitched on the biggest stage in his career, including the biggest game of their season to that point when they played the Cardinals in the one-game wild card playoff. The fact that Scherzer was asked to pitch that game instead of Walker Buehler suggests Los Angeles has the guy on the mound they want in their most current “biggest game of the year.”

Scherzer is very familiar with the Braves from his days with the Nationals, going 10-9 in 27 regular season appearances against them (25 starts). Though Scherzer has made 27 career appearances against the Braves, his Game 2 appearance was the only time he faced them in the playoffs. His opposition, Atlanta’s Ian Anderson, had mixed results in two starts against the Dodgers in last year’s NLCS. Anderson threw four scoreless innings in Game 2 last year but allowed two runs in three innings in Game 7. We cannot say Anderson out-dueled Scherzer in Game 2, as both allowed two earned runs while Anderson was removed from the game 1.1 innings sooner.

The difference in Game 2 was that the Braves got to Julio Urias for two runs and tacked on another against Brusdar Graterol. However, Los Angeles’s bullpen has pitched much better of late and was heroic in their Game 5 victory. After opener Joe Kelly left with a biceps strain (which the team believes will end his season), six Dodgers relievers all pitched at least one inning, and none allowed more than one baserunner. Scherzer may not give the team seven innings as he can usually be counted on for, but we have a newfound faith in the Dodgers bullpen that they will efficiently clean up the rest of the game upon Scherzer’s exit.

Plus, this series has to go seven games, doesn’t it?

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