Our red-hot run in the playoffs continued last night when we picked up a money line underdog winner when we backed the Atlanta Braves against the Los Angeles Dodgers. As good as the Dodgers have been this season, it was hard to deny how well the Braves had been playing, as they were undefeated in the postseason, and their pitching staff was dominating.
The Dodgers had to scratch starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw at the last minute, forcing their hand to go with untested youngster Tony Gonsolin to make his first-ever postseason start. While Gonsolin had a nice season, I felt that his long two-week layoff without pitching and getting the nod on such short notice, was a recipe for disaster for the kid and was shocked to see that he was favored.
When I looked at Atlanta’s starter, Ian Anderson, I felt that the rookie had stepped up huge in the playoffs already this year and expected him to have a lot of success. So, I backed the Braves, getting some juicy dog money, and expected the big upset. And that is exactly what happened.
— MLB (@MLB) October 14, 2020
Gonsolin started out well enough, cruising through the first three innings unscathed, but then the bottom fell out for the second-year hurler. The Braves tagged Gonsolin for five runs in the fourth and fifth innings, running him from the game in the fifth, and quickly built up a 7-0. Ian Anderson continued his absurd run in the postseason as he worked four shutout innings and now runs his consecutive shutout innings streak in the playoffs to 15.2 innings.
It looked like this game was going to be a blowout, as the Braves were up big, late in the game, and their bullpen had been excellent in the postseason. But the Dodger showed a lot of heart as they came roaring back, scoring seven runs in the final three innings to close the gap.
The Dodgers had the tying run just 90-feet away, with Cody Bellinger at third base, but the rally came up short, when AJ Pollock grounded out to end the game. It was a thrilling finish to a very entertaining game, and for today’s free daily betting pick, we will break down all of the action in game three of the NLCS between the Dodgers and the Braves!
Los Angeles Dodgers (0-2) at Atlanta Braves (2-0)
After dropping the first two games of the National League Championship Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers have their backs against the wall tonight in game three, badly needing a win to get back into this series. Both teams know how important this game is going to be, and if the Braves can win tonight, the series will be all but over.
— MLB (@MLB) October 14, 2020
Starting tonight for the Dodgers is Julio Urias (3-0 3.27 ERA), and for the Braves, it is Kyle Wright (2-4 5.21 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine and a half runs. The Dodgers are -175 favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 PM PST from Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Had the Los Angeles Dodgers not rallied last night to make a game out of game two, I might have told you that they were done in this series. After losing a heartbreaker late in game one and getting pounded in game two, down 7-0 at one point, this team looked to be dead in the water. But these guys showed that they aren’t giving up just yet, as they put together a furious rally and nearly made an improbable comeback last night. It wasn’t a win, that’s for sure, but it showed me that this series isn’t over and that the Dodgers aren’t done fighting.
The Dodgers did use most of their bullpen last night, but that shouldn’t negatively affect their availability tonight, as they used six different relievers, but five of them worked an inning or less. The Dodgers are going with Julio Urias tonight in a big game three, and I think they will learn from last night’s mistake of leaving Gonsolin in the game too long and keep Urias on a very short leash. Meaning we are going to see a heavy dose of the Dodgers bullpen in game three.
Julio Urias (3-0 3.27 ERA)
The Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t have many options in this game on the mound. Walker Buehler just pitched, Clayton Kershaw’s back is acting up again, and they used Dustin May as a reliever in game one. The once immensely deep Dodgers rotation all of the sudden looks a little short, and LA is going to have to start Julio Urias tonight in game three. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as this guy had been very good in the playoffs so far this year, but he isn’t someone that is going to get you very deep into the game.
Urias has made two postseason starts this year and has yet to allow a run in a combined eight innings of work. Urias has yet to throw 100-pitches in any game this season, and in seven of his thirteen starts this year, including the postseason, he has worked five innings or fewer in a start. When he is on the mound, he has been great. But he just isn’t going to be in the game all that long, and you can pencil him in for five innings at the most tonight in game three.
Last night’s late inning scare notwithstanding, it is very hard to look any better than the Atlanta Braves have in this postseason. They are 7-0 and are playing with a lot of swagger right now. Few people gave them any chance in this series with the Dodgers, yet here they are with a two games to none series lead and a chance to pound a nail into the Dodgers coffin tonight in game three.
I mentioned in yesterday’s pick that the Braves bullpen had been the strength of their team in this postseason. They got hammered yesterday and nearly gave the game away, but when you look at who it was that actually pitched, this was the mop-up crew, not the Brave’s best relievers. Josh Tomlin, the guy that took the brunt of the beating, hadn’t pitched at all in the playoffs before last night. And Darren O’Day had only pitched an inning and a third.
The Braves studs, guys like Will Smith and Tyler Matzek, didn’t appear in the game, and closer Mark Melancon, who has been very good for Atlanta, eventually came in to close the game out and got the job done. I am not going to let the C squad relievers for the Braves struggling last night, distract me from the fact that this Brave’s pitching staff is still very talented.
Kyle Wright (2-4 5.21 ERA)
Kyle Wright has not been great in his short MLB career. The former blue-chip prospect has been used sparingly in the last three seasons as he tries to grow into a big league starter, after being a first-round draft pick in 2017. Despite getting fast-tracked to the majors, Wright has made just twelve MLB starts in his three seasons and has a lifetime ERA north of six runs.
But he has found a lot of success lately, really for the first time in his career, as he has been strong in his last three outings. In his last three starts combined, he has worked a total of 19 innings and has allowed just two earned runs. That includes his last start, his playoff debut, where he pitched six shutout innings against the Miami Marlins.
Who Do I Like?
I think the Braves awakened the sleeping bear last night. The Dodgers finally found their groove at the plate and reminded everyone how good this lineup can be when they are all hitting at the same time. While Kyle Wright has looked good recently, those results came against the Marlins, Mets, and Red Sox, three poor hitting teams. I think the Dodgers are going to hammer him tonight in game three.
Wright has a tendency to walk way too many batters, and the Dodgers are great at taking advantage of free passes. It wouldn’t shock me at all to see LA get to him early and often and ride the momentum they started building late last night.
I don’t see Julio Urias staying in this game for very long, but the Dodgers bullpen is elite, so they will gladly shrink the game down early, and you can expect three to five solid innings from Urias, before they turn things over to the pen to close the game out.
This line opened up at Dodgers -155, and the sharps, myself included, hammered it. The line moved quickly this morning and is still on the move. I see some -170s and -175s still floating around, and I see some number as high as -195. This is one of those games where you are going to have to line shop a little bit to get the right number. I like LA to win this game, but I can’t justify laying -200 or more on them, and with the way this line is moving, that’s where this one could end up.
So, I will lock in my action now and take the Dodgers -175, before the price gets out of control. The Braves want to win this game. The Dodgers need to win this game. There is a difference. I think LA will do whatever it takes tonight to win this game and get back into this series. Give me the Los Angeles Dodgers, laying -175 tonight in a must-win game three!