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Braves Only Slightly Favored Over Dodgers After Taking 1-0 Lead in NLCS

Max Fried pitching for Atlanta
Max Fried pitched the Atlanta Braves to an early 1-0 lead over the LA Dodgers in the 2020 NLCS. Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire.
  • Atlanta took Game 1 of the NLCS 5-1 thanks to a four-run ninth inning
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers are no longer the favorite to represent the National League in the World Series
  • See how the odds have shifted overnight and what’s in store for the remaining games

Monday night, the Atlanta Braves took an early 1-0 lead over the heavily favored Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2020 NLCS.

A stellar outing from young Max Fried coupled with timely offense in the top of the ninth propelled the Braves to a 5-1 victory.

Now just three wins from their first World Series berth since 1999, the Braves have seen their odds to win the best-of-seven NLCS improve significantly.

Braves vs Dodgers NLCS Odds

Team Current Odds Opening Odds
Atlanta Braves -114 +172
LA Dodgers -108 -215

Odds as of Oct. 12th at FanDuel.

Dodgers Heavy Favorites Before Game 1

The opening odds for the NLCS set LA as a -215 favorite, with Atlanta coming back at +172. In terms of probability, the betting market made it a 65%/35% split in favor of the Dodgers.

Evidently, nobody told 26-year-old Max Fried. The Braves’ budding ace threw six rock-solid innings of four-hit, one-run ball, striking out nine while surrendering  a pair of walks.

The trio of relievers who followed (Chris Martin, Will Smith, and Mark Melancon) were even better, each pitching one inning without allowing a single base runner.

Dodger starter Walker Buehler also gave up just a single run (on a first-inning Freddie Freeman homer) but he was not as dominant as Fried. He went five innings, giving up three hits and five walks (1.60 WHIP). The control problems were a carry over from his start against the Padres in the NLDS, when he walked four in four innings of work.

The Dodger bullpen matched ATL’s pitch for pitch until Blake Treinen came in to work the ninth. The ex-Oakland closer gave up what proved to be the winning run to the first batter he faced (Austin Riley). All told, he gave up three hits and two earned runs while recording only one out.

Atlanta Becomes the Favorite

With the Dodgers needing to win four of the next six games, they have fallen from their perch as NL pennant favorites, a position they have held since the odds opened in January.

That said, they are only the slightest of underdogs. The -114/-108 split in the odds equates to a 50.6% to 49.4% edge in probability for the Braves.

One of the main reasons the Dodgers are still in minus-money is the pitching matchup in Tuesday’s Game 2. Atlanta will hand the ball to surprisingly-effective rookie Ian Anderson, while the Dodgers send three-time Cy Young-winner Clayton Kershaw to the bump.

Kershaw’s October struggles are well documented. But this postseason has been smooth sailing. He has continued his resurgent 2020 regular season (2.16 ERA, 0.84 WHIP) with 14 mostly-brilliant playoff innings (1.93 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 19 Ks, 1 BB).

The Dodgers are roughly -160 favorites to even the series behind their longtime ace. If they do, the odds will swing back in their favor before the sun rises on Wednesday morning.

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