We picked the low hanging fruit yesterday when we backed the Los Angeles Dodgers as favorites in game five of the National League Championship Series. It wasn’t an overly sexy pick, but sometimes when you are handicapping sports, the right play is the boring play. You don’t overthink it, take the free money, pick up half a unit, and book the win.
I hate to lay a bunch of wood on a favorite, but yesterday, I just didn’t see any way that the Dodgers weren’t going to find a way to win the game. At the time of my bet, the Braves had yet to even name a starter for the game, and I accurately predicted that they would use an opener in game five and expected them to use up a bunch of their lower-tiered relievers to eat up innings. It was a spot where the Braves were content with losing the battle of game five to help them win the war of the series.
So, I backed LA, and figured if the Braves weren’t overly concerned with winning, and the Dodgers absolutely had to win to extend their season, that I would take the lower value, but higher win rate play. And while the Dodgers made us sweat it out a little bit early, by the time the Dodgers got through the lineup the first time, the flood gates started to open up.
— MLB (@MLB) October 17, 2020
The Dodgers scored seven runs on the night, six of those coming in the sixth and seventh inning combined, that blew the game open for LA. The big hit was a three-run bomb by Will Smith, off of Braves reliever, Will Smith, that gave the Dodgers their first lead of the day. Corey Seager had two homers on the night as well, and the Dodgers picked up the must-have win and forced a game six today.
It wasn’t all that glamorous, but wins are wins in the playoffs. We will lock up the free cheddar and be back on the hunt for more value today. For our free daily betting pick, we will break down all of the action between the Dodgers and the Braves in game six of the National League Championship Series!
Atlanta Braves (3-2) at Los Angeles Dodgers (2-3)
The Atlanta Braves had a chance to end the Dodgers season last night in game five and came up short and will look to finish off the Boys in Blue tonight in game six of the NLCS. The Braves want to take care of business tonight in game six, as we all know that anything can happen in game seven. For LA, they are desperately trying to stay alive in this series and are hoping to push it to a decisive game seven.
Game 6. Game 7.
LET'S GO. pic.twitter.com/U07mvvuvft
— MLB (@MLB) October 17, 2020
Starting today for the Braves is their ace, Max Fried (0-0 3.27 ERA), and for the Dodgers, it is Walker Buehler (0-0 3.38 ERA). The game total over/under is set at eight and a half runs. The Dodgers are -150 betting favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 1:38 PM PST from Globe Life Field in Arlington.
The Atlanta Braves put a lot of eggs into this game six basket. Atlanta started a complete unknown in game four, in rookie Bryse Wilson. After inexplicably getting an all-time start from the kid in his playoff debut, the Braves followed that up by going with a bullpen day in game five. Had the Braves not won game four, they would have likely had to go with Max Fried on short rest in game five. But they were able to buy themselves another day to rest up Fried and fellow starter Ian Anderson, for games six and seven.
The Dodgers were finally able to take advantage of the good matchup on the mound in game five and won the game to extend the series. But now, as we hit game six, the Braves get to start their ace again, on full rest and have Ian Anderson, who has yet to allow a run in the postseason, ready to go in game seven. On paper, things lay out well for the Braves, as they only need to win one of these two games, but Atlanta would much rather win today and save Anderson for game one of the World Series, and you can expect them to go all-in today in game six.
Max Fried (0-0 2.65 ERA)
Max Fried had about as good of a season as a guy can have in a 60-game regular season. He went 7-0 with a 2.25 ERA, and the Braves won ten out of his eleven starts. He will get more than his fair share of Cy Young Award votes in the NL, as he is neck and neck with Yu Darvish and Jacob deGrom in the race for pitching’s highest honor. In the playoffs, he has been even better.
In three playoff starts, he has a 2.65 ERA, and the Braves are 3-0. He got roughed up a little by the Miami Marlins in the NLDS, but in his other two starts, he has been nearly unhittable. In game one of this series, he held this mighty Dodgers lineup to just one run on only four hits in six innings of work and struck out a season-high nine. The Braves are hoping for a repeat performance of that tonight in game six.
Los Angeles Dodgers
When you look ahead to a potential game seven, things don’t look great for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Right now, they have Clayton Kershaw listed as the starter, but that would be insanity, as the guy just pitched two days ago and has a history of stinking it up in the playoffs, even when he is healthy and rested. Starting him on just two days rest, with his back acting up, seems like a very risky move. But in reality, the Dodgers don’t have many other options, as the pitching staff is in shambles.
But the Dodgers can’t look ahead to a scary game seven yet, as they have to first take care of business today in game six. We already talked about Corey Seager’s two homers last night, and he has really been tearing the cover off of the ball in this series with Atlanta. Seager has eight hits, six of them for extra bases, and ten RBI against the Braves in this series. LA needs someone to step up again tonight, and Seager just might be the guy for LA.
Walker Buehler (0-0 3.38 ERA)
We already talked about the mess the Dodgers are in on the mound tomorrow night in a potential game seven, as none of their starters are great options at this point. But today, in game six, they do have a great option on the mound, as Walker Buehler is rested and ready to lead his team to the World Series. Buehler is the ace of this staff now that Kershaw has gotten old and brittle and pitched well for LA in the regular season.
One area where Buehler has struggled this season, though, is getting deep into games. In six of his eight regular-season starts, he pitched five innings or fewer. In his first two postseason starts this year, he lasted just four innings in each game. In game one against Atlanta, he was pretty good, but only worked five innings, and his team lost. Last year, Buehler was known for his ability to get deep into games, regularly getting in seven or more innings of work, and multiple times pitching complete games.
I am not sure if it has been his battle with blisters all season long that has limited him, or if it is just the shortened season that is causing him problems, but LA absolutely needs a big game out of him tonight. Buehler has thrown 100 pitches only one time all season long, and that came in game one of this series. Expect the Dodgers to ride him until the wheels fall off tonight if he is effective.
Who Do I Like?
I think it is the end of the road for the Dodgers today in game six. The Braves just don’t lose when Max Fried pitches, and they never really have. Atlanta is 13-1 in Fried’s fourteen starts this year, which is very impressive. But even when you look back to last season, Atlanta just always seems to win with Fried starting. Last year, the Braves won 24 out of his 31 starts. We saw this exact same matchup in game one, Fried vs. Buehler, and Fried outdueled Buehler, and the Braves won the game.
That is what I see happening again today in game six. The Braves attempted to punt games four and five to set up for this game six. Now that it is here, they are ready to complete the upset, win the series, and head to their first World Series this century.
Walker Buehler’s blisters won’t let him get past the fifth or sixth inning in this game, and that is going to hurt the Dodgers. They badly need seven or eight innings out of their ace, both to win today, and to give them a fighting shot tomorrow, in a game that is likely to be bullpen heavy, and I just don’t think he is up to the task. Buehler hasn’t pitched into the sixth inning since August, and that means we are going to see a lot of the Dodgers bullpen, that has been used and abused, and I see the Braves taking advantage of it.
LA used their bullpen for seven innings yesterday and at least four innings in every other game in this series. These guys are exhausted, and if the Dodgers need them to work a bunch of innings tonight, one of them is going to slip up and give the game away.
I see the Braves getting to Buehler and LA having to get him out of the game before they really want to, as he just hasn’t been overly effective lately. Fried will get Atlanta six or seven innings, and while the Dodgers don’t have an ounce of quit in them, this game likely won’t be all that competitive. I am going to call it a 5-1 Braves victory as they win and advance. Give me the Atlanta Braves as underdogs today in game six, getting +140!