Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves NLCS Game 1 Pick – MLB October 16, 2021

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves open the NLCS on Saturday night at Truist Park. Game 1 is not at Dodger Stadium despite the Dodgers finishing with the better record of 106-56.

For much of the first-half, it didn’t even look like the Braves were going to the postseason. However, they put on their big boy pants, and were much the best in the second-half in the NL East.

They finished with a record of 88-73 to finish 17 games behind the Dodgers. The Dodgers have to fly out to the east coast to open the NLCS, though.

Having said that, homefield advantage didn’t mean much in their series versus the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers even got the calls from the ump behind the plate.

In a do-or-die Game 5 at Oracle Park, the Dodgers rode the hot hand of their pitching staff to a 2-1 win. Their bullpen strategy worked to perfection, as they opened with Corey Knebel and used six relievers to a one-run win.

Julio Urias took on the most work through 4 innings. He was the only Dodger hurler to give up a run in the win. Urias conceded 3 hits and an earned run in 4 frames.

The Braves didn’t need five games to send their opponent packing. They won three in a row after dropping the series opener to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Atlanta dispatched Milwaukee in four games to earn the right to play the Dodgers in the NLCS. While they didn’t come close to matching what the Dodgers did the regular season, the Braves are peaking at the right moment.

This shouldn’t be an easy out for the Dodgers. A free trip in the NLCS to the World Series is no guarantee for the defending champs. They are opening the NLCS with the same recipe that got them here in Game 5.

Corey Knebel will act as a bullpen opener for the Dodgers. The Braves are going for a more traditional strategy, as Max Fried gets the nod for the Braves at Truist Park. Head below for our free Dodgers vs. Braves NLCS Game 1 pick on October 16, 2021.

LA Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves Live Odds and Betting History:

The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:

Teams Spread Moneyline Total
LA Dodgers -1.5 (-210) -106 Under 8 (-115)
Atlanta Braves -1.5 (+180) -104 Over 8 (-105)
Team Data LA Dodgers Atlanta Braves
Overall Record 110-58 91-74
Away/Home Record 50-34 44-38
Batting Average .244 .244
Batting Average Away/Home .240 .246
Runs Per 9 5.19 5.02
Team ERA 2.99 3.83
Team ERA Away/Home 3.04 4.00

Dodgers vs. Braves Prediction:

Why stray away from a method that worked so well in Game 5? The bullpen game approach has worked for the Dodgers during the regular season as well.

They didn’t invent this strategy, the Rays were doing it long before the Dodgers. The Dodgers have perfected it this season.

It requires a lockdown bullpen for it to work effectively. And in the postseason, the door opens up to using starters as a reliever. Max Scherzer was selected as the closer in Game 5, and he got through the Giants 1-2-3.

Julio Urias acted as a reliever as well, having entered the game as the third pitcher for the Dodgers. The Dodger bullpen had an ERA of 3.16 and a 1.19 WHIP in the regular season.

In the postseason, the Dodgers have been lights out from their bullpen with an ERA of 1.44 and a 0.68 WHIP. The only team better than the Dodgers in that regard has been the Braves.

LA Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves Betting Trends:


  • Record (Last 10): 8-2
  • 11-2 overall in their previous 13 games
  • 8-3 overall in their previous 12 games on the road
  • 4-1 overall in their previous five games in the NLCS
  • UNDER is 4-0 in their previous four games after a win
  • UNDER is 6-1 in their previous seven games versus the NL East
  • Corey Knebel ERA (Last 3): 0.00


  • Record (Last 10): 8-2
  • 11-2 overall in their previous 13 games
  • 7-1 overall in their previous eight games at Truist Park
  • UNDER is 4-1 in their previous five games
  • UNDER is 5-1 in their previous six games after a win
  • UNDER is 5-1 in their previous six postseason games
  • Max Fried ERA (Last 3): 0.39

The Braves have been hot at the right moment this season. That is especially true for Max Fried who is sizzling hot. The lefty has gone four straight starts without allowing more than 1 earned run. In his last five attempts, Fried has conceded 1 or no earned runs.

He’s going into this one with an ERA of 0.39 and a 0.48 WHIP in his previous three starts. His opponents have recorded a measly .141 OBP, so he isn’t even allowing anyone to get on base. The Dodgers have a .243 OBP versus Fried in 82 at-bats.

His best work has been home at Truist Park as well. Fried registered an ERA of 2.94 and a 1.09 WHIP in Atlanta this season. He’s coming off a shutdown performance against the Brewers on October 9. Not bothered by the pressure, Fried allowed 3 hits and no runs across 6 innings in a 3-0 win.

In Game 1 of the NLCS I was expecting to see a total of 7.5 runs in Atlanta. The Dodgers have an endless supply of quality pitchers in their bullpen to throw at the Braves, while Fried is in the form of his career at the moment. The UNDER is probably the best bet to look at in the NLCS opener.


Dodgers vs. Braves Pick
Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of TheSportsGeek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at TheSportsGeek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, NHL, and horse racing. Prior to writing for TheSportsGeek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily only at TheSportsGeek.

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