- The Dodgers are -135 road favorites over the Braves in Game 1 of the NLCS
- Max Scherzer (15-4, 2.46) will pitch for the Dodgers against lefty Max Fried (14-7, 3.07)
- A look at the odds and matchups can be found below with a prediction
In a rematch of last year’s National League Championship Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 at 8:07 p.m. ET Saturday at Truist Park.
The Dodgers rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Braves in seven games last year on the way to their first World Series title since 1988.
The Dodgers (110-58, 50-34 road) advanced to this NLCS by beating the Giants 2-1 on Thursday in the winner-take-all Game 5 of their National League Division Series in San Francisco. The Braves (91-74, 44-38 home) downed the Milwaukee Brewers in four games in their NLDS.
The Dodgers have won 11 of their last 14 games and are favored in Game 1. The Braves have won five of six, 11 of 13, and 15 of 18.
Dodgers vs Braves Odds
|Los Angeles Dodgers||-135||-1.5 (+120)||Over 8 (-120)|
|Atlanta Braves||+115||+1.5 (-140)||Under 8 (+100)|
Odds as of October 15th at DraftKings.
Max Scherzer (15-4, 2.46 regular season) is scheduled to pitch for the Dodgers just two days after working a scoreless ninth inning to get the save against the Giants. Left-hander Max Fried (14-7, 3.07) will get the ball for the Braves.
Scherzer threw 13 pitches Thursday night to notch the first save of his 14-year career. He struck out two of the four batters he faced.
Scherzer vs Fried
Scherzer’s last start came in Game 3 of the NLDS, and he took a tough loss at home Monday night. He surrendered only one run and three hits in seven innings with 10 strikeouts and one walk.
That ended Scherzer’s 21-start streak without a loss in which he was 11-0 with a 2.52 ERA.
10 Ks in his debut? Max Scherzer was electric. pic.twitter.com/hJvXKqWXdv
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 5, 2021
Game 3 marked Scherzer’s first quality start in four outings. Overall, he has 18 QS in 32 games in 2021 and the Dodgers have gone 12-1 in Scherzer’s 13 starts since acquiring him July 30 from the Washington Nationals in a trade.
Scherzer is 10-2 on the road with a 2.57 ERA in 17 games (16 starts) and 7-3 with a 2.62 ERA at night in 19 games (18 starts).
Scherzer started twice against the Braves in the regular season and did not have a decision with a 3.00 ERA. He is 10-9 lifetime versus Atlanta with a 3.88 ERA in 27 games (25 starts). At Truist Park, he has a 3-3 record and 3.71 ERA in six starts.
This will be Scherzer’s 21st career postseason start and 26th appearance. He is 7-6 with a 3.18 ERA.
Fried was spectacular his last time out in Game 2 of the NLDS at Milwaukee, blanking the Brewers on three hits over six innings. He struck out nine and had no walks.
Max Fried, Sick 94mph Two Seamer (and Sword). 🥴
16" of run. pic.twitter.com/TA8TR8MtXi
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 9, 2021
In his last 12 starts, Fried is 8-0 with a 1.35 ERA. He hasn’t lost since July 28 to the Mets in New York.
Fried has run off 13 consecutive quality starts and has 20 this season in 29 turns. The Braves are 19-10 when he pitches.
Fried is 7-3 with a 2.94 ERA in 14 home starts and has an 8-4 record and 2.93 ERA in 15 starts at night. He went 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers this season but is 1-3 with a 3.79 ERA against them lifetime in 11 games (seven starts).
In the postseason, Fried is 1-1 with a 3.25 ERA in 13 career games (five starts).
Soler, Muncy Likely Shelved
The Braves are expected to be without right fielder Jorge Soler, who tested positive for COVID-19 during the NLDS.
Soler made a big impact after being acquired from the Kansas City Royals on July 30 in a trade. In 55 games, he batted .269/.358/.524 with 14 home runs.
Batting Averages vs Starting Pitchers
|Dodgers Batters||Batting Average vs Fried||Braves Batters||Batting Average vs Scherzer|
|Austin Barnes||.500||Orlando Arcia||.600|
|Justin Turner||.438||Eddie Rosario||.500|
|Trea Turner||.333||Ehire Adrianza||.333|
|Albert Pujols||.333||Freddie Freeman||.234|
|Cody Bellinger||.286||Travis d’Arnaud||.192|
|AJ Pollock||.250||Dansby Swanson||.184|
|Will Smith||.182||Ozzie Albies||.160|
|Mookie Betts||.167||Joc Pederson||.154|
|Corey Seager||.167||Austin Riley||.143|
|Chris Taylor||.111||Adam Duvall||.111|
|Gavin Lux||.000||Cristian Pache||.000|
Joc Pederson is likely to get the majority of playing time in right field in the NLCS. He hit two pinch-hit home runs in the NLDS.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) October 11, 2021
Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy is expected to sit out the series because of a hyperextended left elbow. He also missed the NLDS after hitting a team-high 36 home runs in the regular season with a .249/.368/.527 slash line in 144 games.
The Dodgers have been going with a platoon of left-handed hitting Cody Bellinger and right-handed hitting Albert Pujols in Muncy’s stead.
Somewhat ironically, considering the Braves’ history, Fried has had trouble with the Dodgers’ two Turners. Third baseman Justin is 7 for 16 with one double and two homers and second baseman Trea is 7 for 21 with one double and one home run.
— MLB (@MLB) October 13, 2021
Right fielder Mookie Betts is just 2 for 12 with five strikeouts.
Scherzer has been tough on many of the Braves’ key hitters, including shortstop Dansby Swanson (7 for 38, 15 strikeouts), catcher Travis d’Arnaud (5 for 26, 10 Ks) and second baseman Ozzie Albies (4 for 25, 10 Ks).
Dodgers vs Braves Pick
The Dodgers won the season series 4-2, including a three-game sweep from Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at Dodger Stadum. Los Angeles has also won five straight season series since 2016, going 22-10 in that span.
Justin Turner went 7 for 23 (.304) in the regular season but Dodgers left field Chris Taylor was 2 for 18 (.111) with eight strikeouts.
Justin Turner with an absolute moonshot 😨
— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) October 3, 2021
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman hit two home runs but batted just .217 (5 for 23).
While Scherzer’s career record versus Atlanta is so-so, his success against the current Braves’ hitters can’t be ignored. Throw in his edge in experience and the Braves’ lackluster home record, and the Dodgers are the play in Game 1.
The Picks: Dodgers moneyline (-135); Under 8 (+100)